Dear The One Who Got Away,
Clearly what you’re going through is not easy. The simple reaction would be to kick that person out of your life forever, but as the title of your blog connotes, you have to decide based on what’s best for Amara.
There are many layers in your situation, but the thing that struck me while reading your latest post was that you were waiting for the other person to change before being able to forgive him. You’re also considering what level of relationship you will have with him. I have some things to share with you regarding this. I hope you don’t mind, you can scrap these if they don’t sit well with you, but know that I write because I care for you and Amara.
First, the conceptual level – what I have read about forgiveness has taught me that it is entirely a movement of the heart, in surrender to the Holy Spirit. You have to forgive the person whether or not they respond, ask forgiveness, repent, or amend their lives. It is not conditioned on any of these factors. From my struggles with forgiveness, however, I have learned that God waits for us to be ready to forgive. We have to face our anger, hurt, and disappointment as well, and when the dust has settled, forgive. It is an act, I believe, of not wanting revenge, not holding on to the past, not acting in reaction to the past.
But just as we are called to forgive, we are also called to love ourselves. Loving yourself (and Amara) means distancing yourself from people who will hurt you. I think your child’s father can and will hurt you, because it’s in his nature to do the wrong thing. He is simply not capable of supporting Amara financially and emotionally, not as much “as Amara deserves”, as you put it. So maybe you can lower your expectations of him, lower your demands for Amara, and trust (and this is a big leap) that God will fill in the gaps left by an ideal father in her life. God will provide the wisdom, care, security, and support Amara needs – through other people – your friends, your family, your future spouse. You can still expose her to her biological father, but don’t hurt yourself too much by expecting him to be normal and giving, to do as he’s supposed to do. He is just not that kind of man. I saw his barkada pictures on his friend’s Multiply site, on the day of Amara’s birthday. You’re right in seeing that he was not acting like a father at all, for he was more concerned with his barkada than with the welfare of his child.
I speak as an outsider, I do not know the goings-on in your heart. I’m only objective because I’m not there. Had our roles been reversed… I probably would suffer worse things, and you would probably be the one pulling me together and reminding me to live a life independent of him, and I would probably go back to him despite all advice to the contrary. In short, I’m worse than you, for you are strong and you can live without him.
…I’m praying for you. May this season of Lent be grace-filled for all of us.
love and prayers,
Dear Amazing Girl,
Thanks for this! I really appreciate it…
Regarding the conceptual level, I failed to think about that point which is valid. sometimes I think I have forgiven him but then the anger, hurt or disappointment resurfaces proving me wrong. I am longing for and almost impatient for the day when I will no longer feel any of these feelings… sigh, when will it be? ….
Another thing that’s difficult for me is to separate the feeling of love, I am often confused and I can’t distinguish if the reason I’m feeling all these negative things is because I still love him or because of my great love for Amara in which I CANNOT accept that her own father cannot love her, cannot transcend his selfishness for her sake. It’s very difficult to be a mother. As her mom, I can’t even comprehend the breadth and depth of my love for Amara. That’s why it’s very difficult for me how her father treated and treats her, easy for him to abandon, forget and neglect her.
Up to now I still can’t decide if I should shut him out of our lives. I have to think and rethink if this would be the best thing for Amara. Without her, my decision would be to erase him from my life. But if you see her with her father, it’s heartbreaking. She’s only a baby but I can feel her longing for him, to the extent that when she’s around him, she tones down her naughtiness. I can see how she hungers for his love. Much as I wouldn’t like it to be, she recognized him even when she was only a month old.
Sometimes I think I can only move on when I fall in love with somebody new. But I don’t want my life and my happiness to be dependent on the presence or absence of a person. Often I am filled with the realization that my life consists solely of Amara and myself, there I find the strength to go on living each day. There are times I feel complete with just the two of us… And then my overwhelming sense of motherhood prevails and makes me want more for her, knowing that she deserves a lot more and a lot better.
I hope that soon I will learn to really and a hundred percent let go and let God…
That’s all for now before I cry here in the office. THANK YOU and I thank God for you!
The One Who Got Away