No, I really do suck

I have not seen Sprog in almost two years. Worse still, I have no desire to do so. Yeah. I suck.

Last time I saw Sprog, things ended badly. Things started badly also (I was in withdrawal so I looked and felt pretty sick) but they ended worse (I left for 2 hours to attend a NA meeting but made a detour to get high with a friend and never went back). That is the last time I saw him.

I guess that is part of the reason I have no desire to visit. I find the thought of facing him, after letting him down like that, hard to deal with. Scared of rejection, you know. But also, there is my daughter. I am concentrating all my energy on getting things right with her. Which of course means I am more likely to screw the relationship up totally by being one of those helicopter parents. If she cries, my gut screws up, and I feel like her distress is some kind of failure on my part. I have to fix it for her, because I am Daddy, and Daddy fixes stuff. With this kid, fixing stuff is my job. MY job. With Sprog, fixing stuff is someone else’s job. And so I do not feel like I have anything to contribute to his life. Spending time working on my relationship with Sprog reduces the time I have available to spend with my daughter, so I am short-changing her if I think about Sprog.

Some might argue that Sprog does need me in his life. But he already has a dad. Why should he get a dad and a half and leave my daughter with only half a dad?

I think Nicole wrote about something like this awhile ago. At the time, I thought dividing time between the two made perfect sense. But now I am living it? Not so sure.

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7 Responses to “No, I really do suck”

  1. Why are you so sure you suck? Seems to me that would be one of those there self-fulfilling prophecies.

    I’d say you face nearly the same dilemma that any father of 2+ kids faces, namely: how do I give to both and not short-change either? The answer is that it’s not a zero-sum game; you make sure each has what they need. That may not mean they need equal time/equal energy, but it does mean you need to consider where they’re at and put that in the mix.

    Now, before you go presenting that Sprog has what he needs and therefore you’re off the hook, let me help you eat your words about the significant relationship a birth father has with his placed son. You taught me that, and I witnessed it, and I’m forever grateful for that. You are not part of a Dad and a Half. You’re his birth father, as significant and important as his Dad. He carries your blood, your heart in him. That’s a good thing, and it really does count.

    Remember, everything you do here you are answerable to with *both* children. It is not only your relationship with Sprog, it’s your daughter’s relationship with her brother and your daughter’s relationship with you. What will they learn? How will you explain to them?

    What do they learn when you don’t go back and face where you’ve screwed up?

    The easy thing to do here is to be too busy, too consumed with your life as is, and it is way too easy to say ‘he’s fine, he doesn’t need me’. Except I think you understand in your heart that’s not really true. Also, being in recovery, you get that easy ain’t always the best way to go.

    First, though, I think you need to forgive yourself. For a lot more than just screwing up 2 years ago though….

    Hang in and hugs.

    Regina

  2. Hey Brad.

    Look, maybe I’m just another bio parent trying to let myself off the hook, so maybe anything I say is worthless, but… yeah. I totally understand. And for what it’s worth, I’ve decided to take a step back, too. Fewer visits, less contact; with the understanding that when Moonbeam has questions and/or needs more from me, she or her parents are welcome to call. But for now? For now I had to end the cycle of hope and despair. Because before and at every visit, for me, it was like, “Maybe THIS time I’ll see that she does need me,” and then was a mess when it was apparent she really doesn’t right now. If that changes and she does need me more in the future? I’ll be there. But constant visits is not helping me accept the reality that I’m not her mommy.

    Serenity Prayer:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
    the courage to change the things I can;
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I was using visits as a way to try to change something I have no control over… namely, how Moonbeam feels about me. Had to stop doing that. And you know, now that I’ve accepted that the closeness of our relationship really is not under my control, I DO have a lot more serenity.

    Then again, maybe I’m just taking the easy way out. Who knows.

  3. P.S.

    Forgot to say… yes, please do find a way to forgive yourself. (I know it’s hard.) You know it is really, really, really hard to face the loss of your own child, and there are many times I’ve wanted to run away from a visit; I DID run away once–cut the visit short–and I was not also battling an addiction.

    You are sober. That is a HUGE accomplishment. It’s not the running away from a visit to get high that deserves the focus here–it’s the fact that you’re sober and actively parenting your daughter that deserves the focus. Running away was not cool, and I get that part of recovering is recognizing our mistakes and how we’ve hurt other people and making amends–believe me, not minimizing that at ALL, it was crucial in my own recovery from bipolar–but you DID run away within a context… the context of an incredible loss and addiction. And making amends doesn’t include beating ourselves up.

    Congratulations on your sobriety and fatherhood.

  4. Well, I think I am making sure each has what they need.

    My daughter needs someone to pick her up when she cries, change her diapers, cuddle with her, feed her, play with her and take her out to see the world. All of these are things that I am supposed to do.

    From me, my son needs… genetic mirroring. That is it.

    Nicole, you really struck a chord there with the “maybe THIS time I’ll see that she does need me”. While I have never felt that Sprog does not want me there, I have never felt like he would miss me if I did not show up. I have never felt that I add any value to his life, other than by my continued existence in the world.

  5. you dont suck.

    life sucks

    adoption sucks.

    you are trying to make the best of all things.

    you definitely do not suck.

  6. reunionwritings Says:

    You can send letters and gifts at appropriate times if you are not able to face your son at least let him be aware that you value him. It’s not about you or how you feel it’s about him.

    I don’t think we as parents have the luxury to walk away if it feels too hard, we may have done that by relinquishing and that might not have felt like a choice or it may have been in the best interests of our children BUT – do we really want to just walk away and have no contact for years on end?

    He has an adoptive father and he has you – his first father. Has he actually said that you are of no value to him? And how old is he? Does he actually know if you are of value to him or not? And is it about what he thinks or is it about you letting him know that HE is of VALUE to YOU?

    Just wondering that’s all.

  7. OK. I re-read what I wrote here and I think maybe I did not quite write what I meant. I by no means plan to disappear without trace from Sprog’s life. But is there anything wrong in being as active in his life as I am in my nephew’s life? Which is, I send gifts on birthdays and Christmas, and I see him at family gatherings.

    If he calls me, I will always be there for him. If he has questions, I will answer them. If he wants to visit, he is welcome, and if he wants me to visit, I will. But this forced ongoing contact which yields no particular enjoyment on either side just seems a waste of everyone’s energy.

    Sprog is 7 years old. Right now he needs his daddy, and that is not me. He is my son, of course he is of value to me. But if I am to be of value to my daughter, I need to focus on her.

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