…I’m on my knees.
As a non-resident parent, I’ve had to endure years of vulnerability, dangled on the end of a fragile emotional string by a puppeteer who is fueled by self loathing, denial and unresolved issues with her own mother.
Despite court orders and Cafcass support, she simply refuses to let me co-parent our children any longer and has bullied them into no longer spending time with both their parents, simply out of selfishness and spite.
I’m tough and have broad shoulders. But for a decade now I’ve had to talk myself into even facing each day, despite staring at an emotional tank deep into the red, mobilised only by the whiff of hope and a father’s protective instincts whispering in my ear:
“You think it’s bad for the children now but imagine their faces if they heard that you had given up”.
So I get up, I front up and I put one foot in front of the other.
I go on, ignoring the hail of distress and the storm of disappointment and despair.
Today, I made the tough decision to give away some of the childrens’ toddler toys.
They are totems of our love, imbued with happier times.
But I have hoarded too many and they deserve a better life.
A friend’s lovely little girl acknowledged the gift in the best way, with smiles and giggles of joy when she opened the simple boxes, a legacy of which my own angels would approve.
But then at the bottom of the toy box I found the equivalent of Snow White’s shiny red apple. It was an unopened message from my youngest, crafted in her unmistakable hand instantly recognisable to a Daddy who nurtured it with love.
I lifted the flap on the envelope with a heady mix of excitement and trepidation as, you see, I have been cruelly prevented from holding my baby girls in my arms for over two years now.
Unexpectedly, I was floored by four little words and a crooked line of crosses scrawled in coloured pencil on that tiny paper time machine.
Then the tears came again, as I’m not ashamed to say, they often do.
Tomorrow morning, however, I will repeat the mantra “I’m alright. I’m alright”.
But tonight….I am not!
I’m as low as it’s probably possible to be.
But I’m your Daddy, children, and for your sake, as I am sure you know, I will not let them break me!