The Day He Divorced My Daughter

kayandme~Shemeka Michelle
I have already disclosed that when I divorced, I felt like a complete failure. More than failing myself I felt like I had failed my three children. I had failed them by not holding our family together and by any way I contributed to them being raised in a broken home just as I had. That was never my wish for my three beautiful daughters.
The one that hurts me the most is the pain it has caused my oldest daughter. She made the statement over dinner that she doesn’t have a dad. At first I was slightly confused. I wasn’t questioning her statement as it pertained to her biological dad because he hasn’t been consistently present. However, I needed to know why she felt this way about the man who had been in her life since she was a year old. Still confused and apparently naïve to her true feelings, I explained to her that my ex still considered her his daughter. She nicely said that because we were no longer married that he was technically no longer her stepdad. Not even considering her feelings, I continued to press the issue that marriage or shall I say divorce didn’t matter. I was totally oblivious to the fact that our divorce may have had a negative effect on her. Therefore, I thoughtlessly continued to talk. That’s when she finally looked at me and said sternly “outside of buying us things, he doesn’t act like a daddy and he doesn’t treat me like a daughter!”
That’s the moment my heart broke and those initial feelings of failure began to creep in again. Not only had I failed her once but twice. Not only has she experienced rejection from her biological father but now from the only man she ever called dad. Words cannot express the flood of emotions I felt as I continued to eat and try to pretend like nothing was wrong. I cried quietly in the shower and fought back tears so that I could see the screen to type this. I even cried silently as I watched it play out as he called each of his biological children to speak with them but her phone never rang.
I’m sure there have been times that she has given him attitude and maybe he feels like he doesn’t have to take that. However, she’s a teenager. Some days she gives me attitude and I’m sure there are millions of other parents who have experienced this with their teenager. For me, there is nothing she or any of my children could do that would change the way I feel about them. As Nettie cried out in the Color Purple “only death could keep me from it”. I would never walk away, abandon, cut off, forget about, ignore, disown or divorce a child. Maybe he’s clueless to her feelings just as I was.
I’m struggling and wondering how this is going to affect her adult life. Will she hate men? Will she go out of her way to get or hold their attention? This is hurting me so bad; I can hardly gather my thoughts. Every parent wants to fix whatever is wrong in their child’s life but I feel this is out of my control. I have never been that baby mama that tries to keep the children away from the father. I could partially understand if that was the case but it’s not. My/our daughter is so beautiful inside and out and I’m having the hardest time understanding why any parent wouldn’t move heaven and earth to be there for her and be proud to say and show they’re her parent.
My heart is extremely heavy right now. I have to figure out a way to help my baby as I help myself. Though this entire experience has been something I could have never prewritten, I was completely unprepared for the day he divorced my daughter.