It’s only natural for a father to promise himself he’d never ever hurt his child. The day my daughter was born I uttered those words internally and externally; her birth resurrected me and I made that declaration with good intent. But to go a whole lifetime without causing emotional stress for your loved ones is unrealistic. I get that. I just never knew I could potentially be doing it twice to my daughter Tiffany in her first 7 years.
THE FIRST TIME
The first time was so difficult. I cried. Makaila, Tiffany’s mother cried. How do you as parents let an impressionable, innocent, deserving child know that everything they’ve been used to, everything that makes them whole would change? How could we tell Tiffany that her parents were splitting up? Somehow we managed it, but the look in her eyes when we told her haunts me to this day. I can’t properly describe it, it was soulless and empty, a 5 year-old should not have that capacity for pain. I could see her giving up in front of me, I let her down and all we could do at that moment is well up and cry. I never wanted to put her in that position ever again.
Yet here we are…
Makaila is seeing this new guy Lee; he’s clearly making her happy to the point where she wants to move in with him. Putting aside the fact she hasn’t been with him long enough to make that decision in my opinion; I’m now facing the prospect of seeing my daughter less than I do now. When we split, Makaila had the majority custody over Tiffany but we worked hard to make our time with her as even as possible, but the fact of the matter remains, wherever Makaila goes, Tiffany will go. Lee lives too far to make our current situation work.
Taking me out of the equation for a bit, the change of location, schools, lifestyle is too much for a 7 year-old. Tiffany’s gotten used to seeing Makaila and myself on alternate days. We’ve been civilized, friendly and worked as a unit to give her the best example of what a family is as possible. Now there’s a chance I’m going to be seeing her less…as a result of this guy?
I’d be a hypocrite in saying she hasn’t thought this out, considering we hadn’t even been together a year before we knew we were having Tiffany; but still…I don’t think she’s thought this out.
I don’t know what to do. Every time Makaila picks Tiffany up from mine I get this crushing feeling in my stomach; that she’s taking her away from me, to live this new life with him. I love her and want her to be happy, but it feels like it’s at my expense.
Above all this, I have to let Tiffany know the current situation, something I’ve put on hold in the hope that it was just a phase, but became very real when Makaila and I had an argument at her 7th Birthday party. I don’t think I’m prepared to see that look in her eyes again, but I’ll do my best to counter it the best way I can, with love.