Father’s Day is meant to be a happy time, and so it is for me – in part: a time where my wife and son conspire to present Daddy with some nice little momento, usually (at this point) a card with artwork, to tell Daddy how much he is loved by his youngest child. And I love it: he and I do the same thing for Mom on Mother’s Day. All such things speak of the love and care that is within this home and our life. It also speaks of the importance we attach to family, and modeling for our son that it is important to tell those closest to us how much we love them, in many ways, all the time.
Unfortunately, Father’s Day is also a day of sadness for me, as it is for many. In my case, it is a stark and painful reminder of the long separation between my daughter (who is now 26 years old) and myself. July 12th of this summer will mark ten years since the last time I spoke to her, or had any idea of how her life was going, where she was living, or anything else about her.
Now, I could dwell on the events surrounding my divorce from my first wife, which began with our separation on July 10th of that year (2005), but that would be doing her a disservice, since she is not here to defend herself. So, I will merely say that my separation from our daughter is the outcome of a great deal of dysfunction in that relationship, magnified by a legal system that grants custody to the mother as the default, on the assumption that doing so is in the best interest of the child; and made worse in turn through my own ignorance of how to navigate that same system.
Now, assuming the mother (and children) are the ones who need more (and immediate) protection when accusations of abuse are being made is not a bad thing. In fact, it should be that way, since they are (generally) much more likely to be the ones at risk in a dysfunctional relationship.