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Looking for Daddy: Part 2

Warning: If you’re familiar with and despise Tik Tok story times that make you watch part 1

before watching part 2, I’m sorry to be that person.

“Mom, where’s the kids?” I asked, with a mixture of confusion and frustration taking over my

brain. Somehow, I knew what she was going to say. Please don’t say it... oh God, she’s

saying it...

“YOU are the kids! Your dad is back!” she said. “Huh??” My sister asked. I looked at her,

wondering why she even bothered asking. My mom tried explaining. My dad was sick and went

away to get help, and he was better now. But I couldn’t hear her. We’d been duped. And the

duper was sitting on the couch. Here he is again, I thought. I should be happy, but my

expectations were that... well, they didn’t matter anymore. They didn’t matter when he left.

They didn’t matter before I walked through that door. They didn’t matter now, as I looked at him

with his rugged beard, white T-shirt and jeans, hair that could’ve used a haircut and eyes

slightly red like he had been crying. I’ll never forget the look on his face. He tried to smile, but

shame peered through instead. That was the first moment I realized he wasn’t leaving for

something good. And he wasn’t just sick. Things would never be normal again. I ran to him and

hugged him, acting excited, hoping it would make him feel better. But inside, all I could think

was, “But where’s the kids?”

Three years later, the inevitable happened. I was 11 years old, we had just moved to a new

town and I was ready to embark on a new adventure. I heard the word “divorce” thrown around

with a lot of my new friends. How they went back and forth between their parents’ houses and

how much it sucked. But hey, two Christmases, right? Whew, I’m glad that’s not me, I thought

to myself. Well, remember what they say about pride?

One night, my mom called us into her bedroom, a manilla envelope in front of her. She’d been

crying, which was nothing new. We hugged her and asked what was wrong. She said “You

guys know I love your dad very much...” Somehow, I knew what she was going to say. Please

don’t say it... oh God, she’s saying it... “But we’re getting a divorce.”

That moment was definitive for me. As sad as I was to hear it, I was concerned about my younger sister and three-year-old brother. My dad hadn’t been home in a long time, and I wondered how this could happen without him? (It didn’t by the way.) Does he know? If he did, why didn’t he fight for us? I have to admit, I was also upset about the stigma of divorce being our family’s reality. How embarrassing - my dad, a preacher, gone. But the actual divorce, how it would affect my family, I was determined to go to war for that. I consoled my mother when she played worship music, crying on the floor. My sister and I looked after my little brother when needed -no way was he going to follow in my dad’s shoes. Not on my watch. With my older brother out of the house, I was next line. I wasn’t a man, but to me, by definition that just meant I wasn’t leaving my mother.

"... if there was anything she vowed, it was that she would NEVER marry him again."

Five years went by. Ages 11-12, I finally learned the truth about my dad’s drug addiction, and

my mom placed my sister and me in counseling for kids whose parents were going through a

divorce (thanks Mom!).

Age 13: daddy missed my 13th birthday party. My 13th birthday. He just wasn’t able to make it.

Too sick, he said. I know what that means, I thought. But instead, I said, “It’s ok daddy!”

Age 14: “Honey, you may not have your dad, but God can be your dad. He loves you SO

much, and He’ll never leave you,” my mom said. So, I did just that. Mainly to prove her wrong.

But lo and behold, God became Daddy God, and boy did I let Him have it! I prayed and

journaled about the ups and downs of my day. I cried to Him about all the boys who didn’t like

me. Was I too tall? Or too dark? Why can’t boys just love me the way I “love” them? Why can’t

my dad love me? I prayed, asking Him to send messages to my dad of how much I loved him

and didn’t give up on him. At times, I visualized my dad’s funeral and wondered if that was the

next time I’d see him. What songs would he like? What would I be able to say, if I don’t know

him anymore? I prayed above all else, that my dad would be healthy and live to see old age. I

wanted my hero back.

Age 15: Dad moved back into town and stayed with a friend after living in Alabama a few years.

We visited every now and then, watching Disney moves and playing. It was nice. Not what it

was when I was little, but my dad seemed healthy and happy, and my mom had just bought her

first house. All was well in my book. “I could get used to this,” I thought to myself. But, my dad

couldn’t. Every time we left before heading back to my mom’s, my dad would say the same

thing he’d said since I was 11: “I’m believing God, by faith, for my family back. One day, your

mom and I will be married again. I promise I WILL make this right. Will you believe that with

me?” I said I did, and I meant it for a few years, but I knew my mom. And if there was anything

she vowed, it was that she would NEVER marry him again.

Age 16... the unbelievable happened.

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