When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, I was fearful of what would happen. Her father and I had accidentally conceived her, and we didn’t exactly get along. We had a lot of issues, so I had moved in with my sister in Idaho for a bit. The daughter I am writing about below is now 13, but I fear that I will have similar experiences in the future. I don’t know what made me think of this tonight, but here it is. It is called “Her Tearful Eyes”
She stares at the floor, tears running down her face, and she confesses to me the things she dare not express. She tells me of loss, of pain, and the feeling of loneliness she suffers. Slowly she speaks through waves of emotion, and expresses to me the things I dare not hear. Though I can’t stand the words she speaks, and too feel the warmth of tears in my eyes, I simply listen and choke back my sorrow for her.
It is such pain to listen to the soft tales of woe. To watch her nervously pick at the item in her hand. A small token of comfort she can not sleep without, and is quick to panic if lost. The conversation is short, but it’s coming was long.. dreadfully expected… and though I know what she is going to say, the words still sting in a way that only someone like her can understand. I can’t remember what it feels like, being in her shoes, though I wore them for so long. After time you forget.. forget and the pain wears down; forget that you carry this weight. Forgotten, but not gone.
I brush her hair from her face, kiss her on her head, and speak words that only I can speak. I tell her of the love that surrounds her, the love within her, and the love to come. I give thanks for her existance, of her ability to carry the weight, of the hope of the future… and I apologize for many mistakes.
After we dry her tears, have a quick laugh, sigh, and agree to be ok, I watch her leave the room.. much brighter than when she entered it. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I look at the toys scattered across the floor. A bed covered in girlish blankets, flowers, and dolls. Placing my hand upon my oversized womb, I remember when she once occupied the same space. Tucked safely inside me, no harm, no tears.
As little girls, we all dream of the perfect life. The perfect man! Perfect wedding! Husband! Father! We all want the world to come together and paint the path of beautiful existence!! We dance with our invisible Prince Charming, and sing sweet love songs to an image of our choice. Love, life, and innocence.
Long has that image faded from my eyes. Faded into something I could never imagine, something no mother, sister, nor child should indure. In it’s place is a beautiful young daughter.. with such sad stories to tell. Stories of an absent father, and what it means to her.
Through tears she expresses what it feels like to watch the other children, knowing she will never get the chance to share such joys. That instead of a father who takes her shopping, and drinks tea with her at a tiny table.. she loves a father who stumbles, and stutters, and falls over her in a drunken stupor. One who promises to set things straight, and then sends himself straight to jail… gone for months.. Over and again. Missing birthdays, Easters, and even Christmas. Promises made, and broken.. promises she holds in her heart, and it, in turn breaks with them.
Try as I might, I will never be able to make that up to her.. for it is not my place. I can not undo the things he has done, and I can not fill the hole in her that he leaves. Of all the things in the world that a young girl needs, a father is at the top of that list. To lead her, to guide her, and show her what it means to be loved. Show her that she deserves respect.
I wait until she is fast asleep, the bowl of popcorn still sitting on the table; the movie about a pup who saves Christmas still flashing on the screen, and I cry for her. I cry for her pain, for it is also my pain. She yearns for him to hold her, read her stories, and tuck her in at night. I weep for the nights she prays, and asks a responseless God ‘Why?’.
Placing my hand once again upon my belly, I can’t help but fear for my unborn daughter. Though the father is new, and the man who causes my eldest her pain is not the same, I fear that she will shed the same tears… share the same fears, and carry on what no child, girl or boy, should ever have to feel. Asking a question that mother should have to answer. “Does he even love me?”