Friday, April 22, 2011

The "Daddy" Place

Christian music artist, Plumb sings, “There’s a God shaped hole in all of us, and the restless soul is searching.” An Agnostic friend of mine thinks that’s the most ridiculous lyric he’s ever heard, but that’s not the point of this post.

There IS a “daddy” place in each and every one of us, and people without a daddy struggle to fill that hole.

It’s not only little kids that suffer loss when a father walks out, or dies prematurely. I have an adult friend whose heart was broken by her daddy’s selfishness. I myself have a mentor who was like a surrogate daddy to me. I’d give anything to hear that Music Minister say, “I’m sorry. I believe you. Come home.” Ugh…

Tom has been an incredible dad to all three of our kids. I’m a blessed mom. Dallas, however, still had an empty place left by the father that walked out on him when he was barely seven months old.

I was shocked to see Dallas grieve for his absent father over the years. He was so young when the marriage ended. When he learned to say “da da”, he said it to Tom. He didn’t even remember Terry. How could there be a “daddy” hole in my son?

I sometimes wished I’d never told him about the sperm donor to whom I was once married. I knew, however, that truth was always the best policy. Who would’ve guessed the Internet would explode the way it did, and Dallas’s dad would contact him via a social media site called MySpace one day? Crazy.

I’ve written before about the fact that my ex-husband was absent from our lives for 23 years. The door, however, was ALWAYS open to him. I maintained contact with Dallas’s uncle and the grandparents, as I knew it was the good and healthy thing to do for everyone. Besides, I truly love my ex-husband’s family and they are great people.

Terry always knew where we lived and how to get in touch with Dallas. Again, the door was ALWAYS open. It was not easy for Tom to share his son with a phantom father who had abused me—his wife!

When Terry contacted Dallas three years ago I blogged, “We’ll see.” I’d prayed for my son’s bio-dad for 22 ½ years, and I asked God to let Terry live long enough to see his son grow into a man. I prayed for healing of hearts and addictions.

Tom and I walked with our oldest son through crazy challenges, including drug addiction, arrests, prison, rehab, joblessness, and sobriety. We would do it all again.

Dallas spoke to his bio-dad briefly back in 2008. Sadly, Terry immediately told him lies, and that angered my son. A few months later my ex apologized to me for “betraying the vows of our marriage”, and thanked me for never giving up on Dallas. He told me I was a good mom. I took him at his word.

When I asked about Jodee, Terry denied fathering the little girl I knew was his.

Shortly after Dallas spoke with his bio-dad, I began getting notices from Fresno County Family Support. I’d never received a dime of child support—presumably because Terry had never worked at a job long enough to be caught. Now, however, he seemed to be settled and the government tracked him down.

Fresno County was receiving all the collected monies, and I didn’t get a penny. Finally, after about a year of this, I contacted them to inquire as to whether or not I was entitled to any of the collected money. Turns out, the case was so old that they’d kept track of what was owed to the County, but lost track of what was owed to me.

Family Support quickly corrected their error, and I (thinking Terry was new and improved) expected my ex to do the right thing. He went ballistic!

He wrote me a terrible letter in which he accused me of all kinds of bad. He called me a liar and told me I’d hidden Dallas from him, and “poisoned our son” with my lies. I know what Tom and I did and the extremes we went to in order to keep doors open. I don’t have to defend myself. My son knows the truth because he lived it.

That inflammatory letter was the push I needed to renew contact with Dallas’s little sister and her family. I’m so grateful I did!

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