Kids... sometimes daddies have to be direct, and blunt, and even mean. Like when someone hurts their little girls. Here is an email I had to send today. I may delete this before you ever read it, but I had to get it out for now...
I'm really hoping this only needs to be addressed once. It seems silly to have to say this, but I'm going to have to say it anyway.
You don't tell a 5 year old that she's "annoying". You never call a 6 year old a "coward". There is never a reason you would take a 5 year old girl, and put her in your baby's crib because she's "acting like a baby". AND YOU SURE AS SHIT DON'T EVER DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS TO MY DAUGHTERS!
You've been "playing daddy" long enough. You've got your own child now, you're a daddy... grow the fuck up.
I really hope we're clear on that. If I've left you confused about any of this, I am more than happy to clarify.
Now, having vented, I should tell you that which you should already know. My daughters little hearts are the most important thing in all of this. Not your pride, not my anger. I'll let go of my anger, please put your pride down and hear this: though I think less of you daily, my daughters love you. We all know you aren't their real dad, but that doesn't matter to them. Because they love you, when you act that way, and when you say those things, it hurts them... badly. And it sticks with them. It sticks with them so vividly that they bring it up to me in a shameful manner as if they somehow are bad girls, and deserve that treatment, and they bring it up at the most random and unrelated times. Like when we are taking a walk and discussing their day and what they want for dinner. Please understand the effect you have on them, please react to their misbehaving (or whatever prompted you to say those things) with love and patience, and not hurtful words and shaming actions.
Just so you are prepared to discuss it with them should it ever come up, here is what my reaction was: I told the girls that you love them very much. I told them that you didn't mean it, and that you are new to being a daddy and are trying your best and doing a very good job, but just like everyone else (including me) you make mistakes. I told Kira that it was a mistake that you told her she was a coward... but that's ok. I told Drea that she was not annoying, and that it was a mistake to use that word in reference to her. I also told them that we get to forgive whenever someone hurts us no matter what they've done.
They forgive you. Don't do that shit again.
... but only for a little while. Right?
Hello my beautiful girls. If you are old enough to be reading this, I think you already know how this all turned out, and you know the answer to that question.
Today is a sad day. Your daddy found out that the courts are letting your mom move you all the way to Nevada. This is "temporary" and the order only holds until we go back to court in September. At that time the judge will decide if you have to stay there permenantly or not. The problem is that even though the judge made a mistake, and he based his decision on some stuff that wasn't true, there doesn't seem to be a big chance of the court ordering your mom to bring you back home since he's letting her take you now.
4 years ago when your mom left us, I thought it was the worst day of my life. Today, I realize how wrong I was. Having her tear you girls away from me is far more painful than when she just took herself out of the picture. To be quite honest with you, I don't really know what I'm going to do, or how I'm going to deal with this. I guess by the time you are reading this you'll know the answer to that too.
Here's what I do know. I've got you both for the entire month of June. Plan on spending most of that snuggling.
After that, I have a few weekends scattered around the summer to spend with you. It isn't nearly enough time, but we will make the most of it like we usually do.
I lack the vocabulary to sufficiently describe how devistating it is for me that you are moving. I found out about 3 hours ago, and have been barely able to function since. As I type this, I can feel my mind just shutting down. I can only imagine how you are feeling now as your mom breaks the news to you. I know how much you both want to live with me, I know how hard it is for us to be away from each other. Don't be too mad at your mom. She doesn't know.
There are a lot of people who love you and your daddy, and we are receiving a lot of support and prayers from them. I'll keep praying that this turns out better in September, and I know you will too.
I do have faith that it will still go better for us girls. If not now, in September. If not in September, then next year. If not next year... you get the picture. Our happy ending does not end with us being sad and apart from each other.
Please know that however this turns out, your daddy is still your daddy and always will be. And I will never stop fighting for you both.
Dads don't give up on their little girls. Because little girls need their dads... almost as much as dads need their little girls.
Tonight, I was driving my girls home from their mom's place in Prescott. Kira got quiet for a minute and then asked, "Daddy, do you remember that one time when you pulled the car over on the freeway just to give me and Drea a hug?"
She was referring to a road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake for thanksgiving in 2007. She had asked why her mom wasn't going with us, I didn't have a good answer, and she was too smart for the answers I was giving her. We were sad, and a hug was necessary and couldn't wait for the next rest stop... she was 3.
So tonight, again, I pulled the car over on the side of the freeway... to give my girls a hug. I couldn't drive anyway, for some reason I can't see well when Kira says things like that.
I don't know how she does that. Amazing. She truly is an angel, and I hope that someday in a moment when she needs it, that her memory serves her, and does to her heart what it did to mine tonight.
Kira, when you read this, no matter where you are or where I am, no matter how much time has passed, the one thing I know is that you are in my heart and on my mind at this very second. You always are...
We've all heard that everything happens for a reason, and while I believe this to be mostly true, it offers little consolation to the soul of one suffering through hardship. We've all probably said this to a friend during their trying time, and we've all been told this by a friend during ours. Think about it... when you said it to someone else, you totally believed it, didn't you? But when someone said it last to you, the hope was a bit more murky, and the sentiment seemed more diluted, right?
I said those words to a friend tonight, and when I did, I thoroughly believed them. She is bright, smart, full of love, and has a beautiful heart. She is on a bumpy road, and I know that she'll be fine and that the bumps in her road are just preparing her, and teaching her.
After I left her I reflected on the times I'd hit rough patches, and the times I'd thought and been told everything happens for a reason in my recent history. I recall having thought "Yah, but what the ---- is the reason?!" Or "When will I know what that reason was, and what am I supposed to have learned from this experience." I have found myself so discouraged and frustrated at not having those answers immediately (or even 3 years later).
Tonight, some of those answers came to me. As I walked on the beach, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the crashing waves, the cool breeze on my face, and the weight of my solitude combined in perfect measure to open my eyes. I was reminded that despite where I've been, what I've done, or what I've suffered, I am in the perfect place, surrounded by people who are perfect for me, and that it all happened for a reason. I may not have all the answers to questions starting with "why", but I do have answers for important questions. I am excited about where I am, and where I am going; and my experiences (trials, hardships, failures, triumphs, and successes) have been the perfect learning experience for me.
I was reminded that God is still in charge, and I find happiness proportionate to the degree to which I turn my life over to him.
There is a powerful loneliness born of loss that breeds pain and eventually apathy. I am thankful that I am not terribly apathetic just yet. More to learn, more to experience, more to love. I'm excited for the next chapter.
We had 6 months. It was fun. It was hot. It was new and it was great. It wasn't perfect, and so somehow it was. She was light, and she pulled me from the dark. She gave me everything, I gave her what I had left. When she told me she loved me, I told her she had to find someone who could love her back.
To my great joy and terrible sadness... she did.
I am feeling very grateful today, and I'm wondering if there is some kind of imbalance in the world. I feel like I've been given so much, and there must be someone, somewhere who has so little...
Somewhere, maybe there is a man who does not have good friends, because mine are amazing. Somewhere, possibly there is a man who goes hungry at times, because my belly is often full. Somewhere there could be a man who does not have children, because I have two beautiful girls. Somewhere a man might suffer with pain or illness, because I have a healthy and functioning body. Somewhere there could be a man lost in the dark, while I feel surrounded by light. Somewhere, it is likely there is a man without family, because my large family is incredible.
Somewhere there are men without homes, clothes, water, clarity of mind, wholeness of soul. Somewhere there are men without love. I have all of these in abundance. And I am grateful for all of them, and for the imbalance that I do not understand.
I am grateful that men don't always get what they deserve, because I have far far more than I deserve. I hope today to balance things out in some way, by finding someone who has a dearth, and give him from my abundance.
There are two little girls that look just like me. They have smiles that light up the room and are as contagious as a yawn, just like me. They both have hazel eyes, though the green in Drea's eyes beat out the brown just a bit more than in Kira's eyes, just like me. Kira loves sports and music, just like me. Drea loves to laugh and cuddle, just like me.
One is also clever, creative, and wise way beyond her short years, unlike me. One is so loving, accepting, and fun, unlike me. They both are so free, and give their hearts away so easily, unlike me.
But they both love God, just like me. And they pray for our family, just like me. And they'd rather hang out, play guitar, sing, and snuggle together more than anything else, just like me.
There are two little girls who have the best parts of me in them, and a lot more they got from somewhere else... they call me Daddy.