To My Father Who Should Have Been There

Photo: Courtesy of the author
photo of author as a child

To my father who should have been there:

I was born today. My mom's first child, my grandparents' first grandchild, my aunt, and my uncles' first niece.

My uncle said he knew exactly which baby in the window I was immediately — my full head of thick, curly hair gave me away.

You would've known which one I was, too, if you were there.

Photo: Author

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To my father who should have been there:

My brother was born today. This time, my mom had someone there for her. Someone who was man enough to stay and support his creation.

I'm happy for my brother, but I'm also jealous.

He'll know where he gets his eyes, and why he walks the way he does. He'll be able to explain why his skin is a few shades darker than Mom.

He won't ever wonder why it always seems like half of him is missing. I might've had that, too.

To my father who should have been there:

My brother's dad left today. I know it sounds bad but I couldn't care less, really. He wasn't good for Mom anyway.

Only now I'm scared my brother will feel abandoned and I know how much that hurts. 

To my father who should have been there:

There was a fire at school today. We all had to go outside. It lasted so long that the teachers let us call our parents to pick us up.

I couldn't call Mom; she was working, and since she takes care of everything on her own she couldn't leave early.

The other kids asked me why I couldn't call my dad. I lied and said you were on vacation.

To my father who should have been there:

I saw a picture of you today. It's the first time I've ever seen your face. No daughter should have to wait 17 years before seeing her father's face.

I look more like Mom. Or maybe I just want to look more like Mom because I don't want to have anything in common with you. 

To my father who should have been there:

I graduated high school today. I was in the top 20 of my graduating class.

I'm going to college in the fall. Mom's really proud. I bet you would've been proud, too.

Photo: Author

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To my father who should have been there:

Mom got in an accident today. She was thrown off a motorcycle and now she's in the hospital.

The doctors say she'll be OK but she looks really bad. I sat in the hospital for hours, knowing that if she died I wouldn't have anyone.

To my father who should have been there:

Hurricane Sandy hit today. It flooded our house. We lost a lot of our stuff and had to move out so the house could be rebuilt.

Mom cried a lot. Dealing with the rebuilding was incredibly overwhelming because she had to do it alone. 

To my father who should have been there:

I'm her age now. The age Mom was when she gave birth.

I can't imagine going through what she did, bringing a child into the world with no one there to hold her hand through the pain — and worse, the fear.

You would've been that person.

To my father who should have been there:

I cry as I write this. Not because I miss you (how can you miss someone you never knew?), but because I hurt for the mother who had to do it all alone.

I cry for the children who I won't have answers for when they ask me about their grandfather.

Photo: Author

I cry for you because you missed out on being part of such an amazing, one-of-a-kind family.

You might cry, too, if you're out there.

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Micki Spollen is a YourTango editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.