Always Looking from the Outside In – A Fathers Heartache part 13


It seems as though I have spent a great deal of my time as a father standing on the outside looking in.  The decisions, choices, schools, and most activities are decided without my input, consent nor opinion.  I strive to remain an integral and active part of my children’s lives while subduing the continual inner turmoil that is ever present.  The suppression of these bitter emotions that build with each new denial of my parental rights gets swallowed up within, like a cocktail of poison and venom. I fight to keep in check the bitterness and prevent it from interfering with the relationship I insist on maintaining with my dear children. I painfully recognize and understand the vile position that their mother places them in during each activity.

This past Saturday morning, like so many before, I arose early to get ready to go and watch my daughter’s cheer competition.  She loves her cheer leading competitions as much as Bridger loves his sports.  I believe that my children immerse themselves into these activities in an attempt to numb the pain of the situation.  Upon arriving at one of the local high school gymnasium’s, I patiently stand in line to pay the $10.00 admittance fee and then off the find the perfect spot to watch her.

I climb the bleachers to find a seat where I can video her performance and take some action photos.  I watch as she marches onto the floor with her team and then the music starts and in unison her team starts.  She does her flips and kicks, then she is thrown into the air and caught by the other girls.  The smile on her face is electrifying, my heart swells with mixed emotions as I anxiously watch her.  I’m torn with my deep love for her and the hopeful anticipation that today will be one of the lucky days her mom permits her to come and say hello to me after her performance.

More often than not I never get more from my children at their activities than a smile and a distant look in their eyes letting me know they love me and appreciate me coming.  Their mother usually drags them off and away from me immediately after they finish.  On rare occassions I get the rush of the heartfelt hugs and a kiss on the cheek as they hurriedly sneak over to me to say thank you, with a quick bear hug.  During these rare moments in time, they will quickly look over their shoulders for reassurance that their mother isn’t watching.  I can only imagine the lecture on the way home when they are caught.

My heart aches knowing that they are willing to take that risk whenever they can while worrying about the impending after effect when noticed.  Painfully I have learned to quickly give them a hug and kiss, tell them I love them and congratulate them on a job well done so that they can feel safe in running to me.  My heart explodes in pain each time I quietly stand in the distance and watch them walk away.

Saturday was one of those rare and special occassions when I was able to hug and kiss my daughter and tell her how amazing she is.  As she quickly hugged me, she turned to run before getting caught.  I fought the tears as I quietly left the school parking lot, alone in my own thoughts I couldn’t help but tell myself the same thing that I tell myself over and over.. It just isn’t fair.  I just want to be a dad, while hoping deep down inside, one day, that things will be different.

Until then, it is my life, as I am Always looking from the outside in.

10 thoughts on “Always Looking from the Outside In – A Fathers Heartache part 13

  1. Children should not be put in a position to have to make choices like these; to give love openly is a gift. When both parents want to be involved and offer support and encouragement to their children, it should be respected and welcome on both sides. I see my children flourish because my ex and I make our relationship work for them. I send a warm embrace… you shouldn’t have to experience this heart ache.


  2. Your children are wise. They see what is going on. Hopefully in a few years when they are adults you will have the freedom of seeing and loving them more fully. I respect you for putting your heart through this grief all the time. It would be much easier to just stay away. The Love you show for them today will come back to you with them and your grandchildren some day because they will see through the crap and see the truth.


  3. Well do I know what it is like to have a narcissistic ex-wife. When I unexpectedly attended our youngest’s Grade 8 graduation, she had a look of pure evil on her face when she spotted me in the audience.

    Our son hide from me afterwards, so he wouldn’t have to face his mother’s wrath.

    I now have good relationships with my two sons, 17 and 19. It took years of fighting and tens of thousands of dollars, but it was worth it.

    As Dr. Richard Warshak writes in his book “Divorce Poison,” plant seeds. Every event that you attend, everything that you do, your every word or gesture makes an impression. It is a seed that has been planted. It may not become apparent until years later, but it’s true. Those seeds eventually blossom.

    Good for your for never quitting. If you don’t fight to protect your kids and those relationships, no one else will. There is no one else.

    As for that one day, hopefully my forthcoming book will bring it a little closer. We all must do what we can.


  4. I need to send this to my parents, to let them know that I understand that being a parent is difficult but with love and support we can accomplish anything. Thank you for sharing 🙂


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