July 1st 2021. For most people this was just another day of the year. But today was more than that for us and for you. You would’ve known that had you shown up back in May but you didn’t. It is a day you probably will try to forget about and pretend didn’t happen; but the signed court order says otherwise. But let’s start at the beginning, so people get the whole story, or at least the part I have been around for.
Early 2018, March 3rd to be exact, the day I met “your” daughter. She opened up to me right away as I let her paint my face, style my hair, and watched a movie with her on the couch. She was the cutest little 4 year old with the brightest blue eyes and most contagious laugh. Before her Dad introduced me to her I was so worried about numerous things: would she like me? would she think I’m fun? Would she want to share her Dad with me? and the worst of all would she end up breaking my heart somehow? Despite all the unknowns of where this relationship with her Dad, as well as her, would go I jumped head-first into the deep end. Two days later, March 5th, “your daughter” asked if she could call me Mom. I was thrown completely off guard, taking the rose she bought me into my hand trying to think of how to answer her. She must’ve known she caught me off guard because she then countered with “Sam Mom” and I replied that was perfect. At this point into my relationship with her Dad, I knew very little about you. I knew you were in a rehab facility and were getting out in April sometime. Given my background in mental health I was super proud of you taking the right steps in your addiction to be there for your daughter. While I was developing a relationship with “your daughter” I made sure to not step on your toes. I would ask about you as we laid in bed at night finishing a story with a picture of the two of you taped to the top of her bunk bed. “Your daughter” never really had too much to say about you, beyond the “I miss her”, but what 4 year old really held long conversations, ya know?
Anyways, fast forward to April 2018. You were released from rehab and we brought “your daughter” to surprise you at a restaurant. It had been months since you had seen her and my heart was so happy for not only her but you. As we entered the restaurant and “your daughter” walked up to you, the tears started to fall; not from your eyes but from mine. I couldn’t control my emotions with this mother daughter reunion that was about to happen. Yet you didn’t get emotional, instead, you gave “your daughter” a one armed hug, grabbed the flowers from her and then sat down at the table again. “Your daughter” came right back to her father and took turns sitting on my lap and his lap for the entirety of dinner. I was so confused with this family dynamic but tried not to read too much into it. What happened next I will never forget (and neither has “your daughter”); we went to depart ways in the parking lot and “your daughter”became extremely upset because she was afraid she wasn’t going to see you again. You looked her dead in the face and PROMISED you were never going to go away again. And that’s when my heart dropped into my stomach and I wanted to vomit. I sat in the car with “your daughter” screaming and crying the entire way home as I sat in the front seat crying with her. I cried for the little girl who had this not so normal fear that her mother may not come back. I knew deep down the promise you made was a promise that shouldn’t have ever left your lips. While I hoped to God you wouldn’t break it, I knew the rates of relapse given your drug of choice, yet I silently prayed you’d follow through with it. But you didn’t. I don’t think you even tried honestly. You tried harder to hide the drugs and bad choices than you did at keeping that promise to your daughter. Two months after reuniting with your daughter we held a co-parenting style birthday party for her. You showed up an hour late, left after maybe 2 hours, and spent the majority of the time smoking instead of swimming in the pool with her. You didn’t sit with her and open gifts, you didn’t swim with her, and you didn’t help decorate either. But you did leave the party, pissed at “your daughter” because she accidently called me Mom while I was playing in the pool with her. You left to go hang out with your new boyfriend without a second thought or care in the world. But don’t worry, I sat with “your daughter” for at least an hour in her bed later that night as she cried because you left and because “she made you mad”. Yet again I tried to sugar coat your poor choices and I put out the fire like I always did. Despite you sending “your daughter” home to break my glasses or tell me I was ugly and my makeup was horrible, I would sit there at night and talk about you in the most positive way possible, because that’s what “your daughter” deserved.