No man in his right mind could have grown up “dreaming of the day” he’d run into some mentally exhausted single mom in $35,000 worth of debt and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but here you are standing strong and fearless, a beacon of light shining brightly behind me, my two living babies and the ghost of another, ever present, always faithful, and often at the sacrifice of yourself. How could you have known as you arrived to work that cool October day in 2008 that every plan you’d ever planned, dream you’d ever dreamt, or wish you’d ever wished for your own life, family or future was completely unraveling in that one exact moment in time? “He was standing in front of that one big window at the gym, turned his head, our eyes locked” … and YOU KNOW ALL THE REST! You made me sick, I ran away, didn’t come back for months, and so the story goes. By then it was too late though and little did we know that Destiny had already stepped in to begin weaving the fabric of “us” on Her loom. If only someone could have told you, then maybe you could have worn one of those ever-so-cliche’ expectant father t-shirts with sparkly pink letters across your chest that screamed “I’M GONNA BE A DAD … IT’S A GIRL”! Hell, you could have even passed out some cigars! But, I digress, and here we are.
I want you to know that I am ever so graciously aware that none of this has ever been easy for you, although to those who don’t know what really lies beneath the frosting of the beautiful cake that you are you DO make it all seem so effortless. But this job you never imagined you’d be showing up for on an equally cool night the following November came with so many unseen challenges and struggles, most of which have fallen on your shoulders without complaint. I know we weren’t the family you were expecting – “some other guy’s leftovers”. And I’m guessing she wasn’t quite the “little pink bundle of joy” you may have once pondered welcoming into your very private world.
As for all the many things you have been, done and given to her? You didn’t have to do ANY of them. And no one ever asked you. You just did them. And you still do. All the tears you have cried with her? For her and about her? They matter and I’ve counted them all! He breaks her. You fix her. He makes excuses. You search for solutions. He hurts her. He hurts you. He lets them botb down but you keep picking them up.
I suppose the defining moment as to who and what you are as a father was that morning just a few weeks ago when you were first reduced to tears at the realization of how much she has grown in the years since you first met her and how quickly time is speeding by. “I only have five years left with her and then she’ll be going to college. It seems like a lifetime when she’s only gone for two days, so what’s going to happen when she’s gone for months at a time? And then gone for good? Even just thinking about it makes me physically ill and I don’t know how I’ll survive it!” Meanwhile, and I suppose I could be wrong, but it sadly appears that “real dad” is just counting down the minutes until he finally gets to live the life he really wants to live with the woman and her child who’s words, deeds and actions have all but slain both my children to their knees.
You’re a beautiful human being Zachariah and your heart’s depths seem to have no bounds. You could have had anything. Anyone. To this DAY I cannot understand why you’ve done the things you have done for us, and more than that, why you didn’t run as FAR away as any other man’s legs could possibly have carried him. I was so beaten down, tired, weary and ragged and had literally NOTHING to offer you whatsoever. A father who wouldn’t accept you. An ex-husband who maligned you. A pile of debt. A broken body. An empty womb. The two ghosts. And “his” kids. But? You. Chose. Us!
I want to say thank you my true and faithful King. THANK YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY SOUL. You are. So much. So much of everything and more. You’re the love of my life that I never knew “I’d never had” until that that moment “I finally knew” what the selfless, unconditional love of a man and a father was supposed to be. I know this may sound crazy, but it’s because of YOU that I now fully realize how God pours His own love into all of us. When I look at you? I see Him. You’re just a mortal man, imperfect in so many ways, but your honor, intentions and steadfast love and devotion to this family are unwavering, and always “for better worse”.
These are the your truths that are held as self-evident as far as she and I are concerned: You’re the beating of our hearts, the voice that calms our fears, the words to all our songs, the hand that wipes our tears, our eyes when we can’t see, our lungs when we can’t breathe, our legs when we can’t walk and our arms when we can’t hold ourselves upright. You have made us both believe that we’re the two most treasured prizes any man could have ever won and that our many flaws and weaknesses are just as beautiful as you claim we both truly are. You are the mirror we look into when our own reflections fail us and we are never more proud and confident than when we’re standing behind you, beside you or with you at our backs, whichever the circumstances require. We belong to you Zachariah, and for some reason it was just supposed to be this way. You have given us a home. And your heart. And pretty much everything we have today. We love you more than any of my endless words could ever say.
Happy Father’s Day to our REAL LIFE “Superman“. We waited so long for you to finally show up. Thank you for picking us up in your arms that carry EVERYTHING!
We love you … always and forever … Everyday … until Eternity.