If you would like to start reading this from the beginning, click here. This is part 4 of the story.
Yesterday was my son’s birthday. His 13th birthday to be exact. I found out about my ex husband’s addiction shortly after he was born. So for his entire life, he has never had a father who was sober and clean. He has never had a biological father who was there for him. Over the course of his 13 years, he has played baseball, football, basketball, cross country, and track. He has lived his whole life not really knowing his own father. And his father certainly does not know him. This makes me angry. But mostly, it makes me sad. Because I cannot imagine not having my dad. His father has seen him play one tee ball game, and maybe two football games in his whole life.
This has hurt my son more than words can express. More than I will ever know. I remember one day when he was playing pee wee football, I came to practice to pick him up. When practice was over all of the kids were running around happily and goofing off. Coleton looked so sad and down. He got in the car, and I asked him, “Coleton, why are the other boys so happy and playing around and laughing, and you are the complete opposite? What do you have to be so upset about? He started crying and screamed at me that maybe it is hard to go to football practice every day and be the only boy whose dad is not there. Wow, I had never thought about that before. What was that like for him? All of the other boy’s fathers were at every practice, just to watch, and afterwards they would play catch together. But not my son.
Over these past 13 years, he has rarely even received a birthday or Christmas card. More birthdays and Christmases have passed with nothing from him. The times he has been sober, I have tried to allow him to see the kids, but it never lasts long. And it always ended with a broken heart, especially for Coleton. How do you think this makes a young boy feel? What is that like for him? He is a very moody child. He can be mouthy at times. He gets upset easily. He is a difficult person to get along with a lot of the time. How can I blame him for that? Me, the girl who had a dad who was always there for her? Only a holler or a phonecall away? My dad is a man of few words, but he has always been there for me.
I remember one day, when I was going through my divorce, and was at pretty much rock bottom on the mental health scale, my dad just stopped by out of the blue. I opened the door, and I was a complete mess, and he hugged me and we both cried. I don’t think he said a word to me. But I knew he loved me, and I have always known that . There has never been a single question in my mind about it. My son does not know this about his father. What does that do to a person? Can someone tell me?
I think his father does love him, in some sick and twisted way. When he is sober, anyway, which has not been much of his life. But in my opinion, if you love your children, you don’t start using crack. And if you truly love them, you get sober, no matter how hard it is. But for him, it doesn’t work that way. And in my opinion, your children should come first. But, I don’t have the disease of addiction.
I will never truly understand how my son feels inside his heart, where his father’s unconditional love should have been since the day he was born. My ex husband loved to hunt, and ski, and work on cars. My son loves to hunt, would love to learn how to ski and work on cars. It has been up to his Pappy, my father, to take him hunting every year. But that really isn’t the same, is it? My son, the son my ex husband always wanted. The son who he abandoned for a life of sin.
My son has so many people who love him. He has a Grammy and a Pappy (my parents), and he has a ma maw and a pa paw (his dad’s parents) who all love him. He has a step father who loves him and would give him the shirt off of his back. He has me, and I have all of the love in the world for him. He has aunts and uncles and great grandparents. They all love him. And let me tell you one thing for sure. His paternal grandparents LIVE for my children. A person could not ask for better grandparents. They have showered him with love and anything a boy could ever want. They have done every single thing in their power, as have I and his step father, to fulfill every one of his needs and shower him with love. They have done their very best to make up for what their own son was lacking.
But I don’t know if there is any replacement for the love of a father. Not for a boy. I guarantee you if he had one wish in this world, the only thing he would wish for would be for his father to get sober and stay sober and to have a relationship with him. And it is my prayer, every single day of my life until the day I die, that he will get his wish. I would do anything for him to get his wish. But I can’t make it come true. And that is one thing that truly breaks my heart. It breaks my heart so much that I have had to stop writing at least three times because I can’t see through my tears. And it will continue to break my heart every day until the day I die.
As of today, my ex husband has been sober for 18 months, but for that entire time he has been incarcerated. My son is angry. He is done with him. He is humiliated to have a father who is in prison. His father has tried to contact him and wants to be a part of his life. Coleton says no. He is not ready. Maybe in 13 years he will be ready. After all, that is how long his father has put drugs first over him. Coleton says if he can be released from prison, which is coming up next month, and live on his own for 6 months without getting into any trouble, that he might want to see him. But that he won’t want to just start seeing him all the time or having some big relationship with him. He doesn’t trust him. Can you blame him?
I hope he does stay sober. I hope he does get better. But I can’t trust him either. I can’t believe a word he says. So I will let my son decide. Even though in my mind I am screaming no! He is going to break your heart again! I won’t say that out loud. I will let my son decide when and if he is ready. That is a question only he can answer. As for my daughter, that is another post altogether.
When I tell you I could go on for years, I am not kidding you. I can’t tell you how many times different scenarios pop into my head, and I think I need to write about that. But then it leaves my mind. But I have time. I am not in a hurry. It will come. Every word I need to say will come, eventually.
In closing, I ask, if you believe in God, for you to pray for my son. My 13 year old son who does not know his father. Pray for healing in his heart. Pray that he will know how loved he is. Pray that he will have peace about his father. Pray that somehow, someway, he will grow up and he will find a way to put all of this into perspective in a way that a child cannot. Pray that he will be a good person, and never use drugs (that is my biggest fear), and that he will have a happy marriage, and be a good father, and have a happy life. Just pray for him. There is power in prayer. I have faith that my son will grow up to be the man his father was unable to be. And he will know who was there for him someday. And if everyone who reads this will say a prayer for my son. I believe that God’s blessings will pour down on him. And he will feel it, even if he doesn’t know why.
PS- ON a happier note, my son has two friends here spending the night as I write this, and they are having a great time. And tomorrow he has a day of fun planned with his friends. So not every day of his life is gloom and doom. I just wanted you to know that. I am writing about what drug addiction has done to our family, and that is some dark dark stuff. But I do want you to know we also have happy times.