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.