You were around when I was little. I saw you a couple of times a year and even lived with you for a few years when I was a teenager. I have so many memories that are like pictures that got caught up in a house fire, once something so beautiful but now burnt around the edges and acrid smelling, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth and an ache in my heart. At one point in my life, you were everything. Unfortunately for me, the façade was difficult for you to keep up and eventually the real you came out. The portraits of yourself that you had painted for me suddenly started fading, or had colors that were running together. Like seemingly everything else that you touch, our relationship went up in flames.
Over the years I have come to accept that I will have a parent who is around, and one who is not. The smoke has mostly cleared from my life now, and I have been able to move on. Most days, I don’t even think of you. Some days, someone who knows you will reach out to me or you will pretend you want to try to rebuild that house you set fire to. I know it’s not real, so it’s pretty easy for me to ignore. What is becoming increasingly more difficult though, is knowing that one day I will have to explain to my children why you aren’t here.
I have two beautiful sons. I know that you know that. You’ve never met them, and the more time that passes, I doubt more and more that you ever will. Part of me is thankful you won’t ever be capable of inflicting the hurt on them that you have on me. Foolishly, though, part of me wonders why you don’t seem to care that you don’t know them.
My two-year-old is daring and brave. His strength knows no bounds, and neither does his mind. He would probably remind you a lot of me in that way. He has the best heart. He lives to make people laugh, and the joy that radiates through him is so warm it feels like standing directly in the sun on even the coldest day. He is headstrong and stubborn, but it makes me so proud knowing that one day he will have no problem standing his ground and holding his own. His brain is absolutely amazing; to interact with him is to be astounded by the way he thinks. If you were the parent you should have been you would know these things. You would know that he loves dinosaurs and trucks. You would know what it feels like to watch his eyes light up when we play, or how your heart feels like it’s going to explode when he says I love you. Heartbreakingly for you, you probably won’t ever know any of that.
If you had made the choice to be around, you would know the feeling of your heart melting when my toddler asks to hold his baby brother. You would know how pure the sound of my youngest laughing is. You would know that holding him when he reaches up to grab your face with the sweetest smile on his feels like heaven. You would witness the awe that is watching them grow, learn, and discover themselves along with this world that we have been blessed with. You would question what could be better than being loved by these two beautiful souls.
Instead, you aren’t around. You don’t get to be a part of the world they will make so many discoveries in, because you chose not to be.
I will never understand your decision to back out of my life. I will never be able to comprehend how anything else could be that much more important than your daughter. Mostly though, I hurt for you. You have chosen to exclude yourself from the lives of the two most stunning individuals on this earth. You won’t know how incredible it feels to teach them new things, to be there when they reach their goals, or to be the source of any of their happiness.
One day, my sons will ask me why you aren’t around. On that day, I will tell them the truth. I will tell them that you made a choice, and that these are your consequences. I will tell them they are better off without you, because it’s true. You made the choice to not be a grandparent, and once upon a time that thought hurt, but now it brings me comfort. You won’t ever be able to set fire to my babies’ lives, and because of that I am grateful for your choice.