Reasons

Every year, as Father’s Day approaches, I look at my sweet child and feel like crying inside. Those sweet little gifts she made at school will go to her grandfathers, not her father. She hasn’t seen him since her third birthday party on December 23, 2008, where he popped up unexpectedly. She’s too young to realize how much she needs a Daddy, but one day soon, she’ll care and it’ll be up to me to keep her heart filled with love for a man whose face she would recognize in a sea of people. She knows his name and no matter how long he’s been gone, she knows that John Anthony Fletcher is her daddy. It breaks my heart, but I don’t hate him. As crazy as it seems, I don’t hate the man who abandoned his family a few short months after I gave birth to his daughter. I don’t hate the man who chose a life of drugs and crime over a life with a wife and beautiful baby girl. I don’t hate the man who stole and pawned everything of value that wasn’t nailed to the ground, including our life savings. I can’t hate him. How can I hate someone who I know loves me? I can’t hate him. I can’t hate him. I just can’t hate him. So I don’t.

1. I married him: I married my ex-husband a few short months after we had met. We moved in together after a few weeks and knew we were perfect for each other. I was a spoiled brat and he loved taking care of me. He was a fun, caring, sweet soul and we could talk about anything. After the novelty of being able to buy whatever I wanted wore off, I realized my husband was a wonderful provider. He made sure our bills were paid, I made sure his meals were prepared (or reservations were made) and his house was cleaned (well Marta cleaned, but I supervised). Most importantly, I loved him. We would spend Sundays in bed watching football, smoking Newports, and eating pizza. In the off season, we would pick up my little cousin and hit the town. My family and friends loved him and no one questioned the short amount of time we knew each other before we got married. I loved him and he loved me and even if it wasn’t perfect, we were going to make it work. How can I hate the man who I loved enough to vow to spend the rest of my life with? I can’t.

2. My daughter looks like him: I look at my baby girl and laugh. If I ever thought I’d be repulsed by the sight of ex-husband’s face, God played a cruel joke on me. While I see myself, that little girl looks just like her daddy. I used to HATE it!!! What happened to my thick, strong hair and oval face? I got a wispy haired, pie faced Asian looking kid. As she’s grown up, she’s become a Mini-Me: she acts like me, makes the same faces that I do and our smiles are identical. But how could I hate the man that helped me create the most perfect, wonderful, sweet, beautiful creature on this planet? I can’t.

3. He buys perfect gifts: During the summer of 2007, my ex-husband was clean and sober for almost six months. I was dating the cop and my birthday was fast approaching. Everyone knew what I wanted: tickets to see The Color Purple. I’d read the book a million times, seen the movie even more and seeing the musical would make it complete. A mutual friend of mine told the cop…and my ex-husband oddly enough… what I wanted and for some reason, I KNEW that’s what I was getting. He had paid for my birthday dinner with my friends at Cuatro a few days before and promised to take that Sunday (my actual birthday) off. I bought a new dress, got my hair done and made sure I had a sitter lined up. I was ready for my big surprise. Well, the cop didn’t get the day off. I was stuck at home with nothing to do. I cried and cried and cried (yeah I know, I actually cry..stfu). My poor feelings were so hurt, which isn’t that hard to do. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any worse, my doorbell rang. It was my ex-husband. He handed me a card and two sheets of paper. He had found out that I didn’t get my tickets to The Color Purple, ordered them and brought them over as soon as they came out of the printer. Of course, I cried again. What he said next made me cry even more: “You deserve better than him and I don’t even mean me.” He was right… He told me to take one of my friends to see the show but I didn’t. Two days later, he and I got dressed up and went on our very last date as husband and wife. He even bought me a T-shirt. It says “Too beautiful for words!” How can I hate a man who thinks I deserve the world? I can’t.

4. He’s not the man that I married: Drug addicts are sick. They’re not the same person anymore. They’re empty, soulless shells waiting to be taken out of their misery either by sobriety or death. I’ve learned that my ex-husband’s actions were not his own. He has been chemically altered, kind of like a mutant superhero, but in reverse. He has caused me a lot of heartache, pain, and grief but I now know it wasn’t the man that I married that did those things, it was the mutated version of him who was so cruel and selfish. I don’t really know that man, I know his actions but not his heart. The man I married would never hurt me and our daughter so I just assume that the man that Anthony is today is NOT the Anthony I married on May 1, 2004. It was almost unfair to divorce him, because the man I married and the man I divorced are two different people. How can I hate a man I really don’t even know? I can’t.

Life goes on, however, and I can’t hold on to something that will never exist again. Our marriage was too new to survive and I’m not willing to wait around for 6 more years hoping things will get better. I’ve been asked if my ex-husband was clean, would I take him back. Absolutely not! We’re two totally different people and a marriage certificate can’t erase four years of separation. We were apart longer than we were together and although I love him – he is my daughter’s father and was my best friend and love of my life – our time has ended. The love I once had for him has long faded and been replaced by a different kind, one reserved for people that will always be in your life but in a different capacity than originally intended. I will always remember the wonderful life we once shared and if I continue to, I could never hate him. Ever.

Happy Father’s Day John Anthony Fletcher
One day, it will mean something.

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sunshine
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 13:21:00

    There are so many sides to each of us. Thanks for sharing this side of you, Jenn. Your compassion, courage and forgiving spirit is admirable!

    Reply

    • cindasmommy
      Jun 16, 2010 @ 13:45:36

      You’re welcome. I don’t mind baring my soul because I know I’m not the only one who’s had to deal with my situation. So many women carry so much hostility towards the men that have hurt them and forget that at one time, there was love shared. I’m ecstatic that I’ve gotten such a positive response.

      Reply

  2. kisha
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 13:45:29

    Thanks for sharing!!!! You helped shed some light on my own situation…

    Reply

  3. 24karats
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 14:08:18

    I could never explain why I didn’t hate my ex. Not even to myself. All I could explain was that my lack of hatred wasn’t about him or what he had or hadn’t done, it was about me and the person I chose/wanted to be.

    Kudos to you!

    Reply

    • cindasmommy
      Jun 16, 2010 @ 15:14:43

      You put the same amount of energy into hating someone as you do loving them. I’ve learned that my life is a lot easier when I let go of some of the anger and focus on what feels/felt good. It took a long time but I’m almost there.

      Reply

  4. klkenned
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 15:42:59

    this was beautiful. *hugs*

    Reply

  5. YoMaMa
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 16:05:07

    It’s is good to have things to hold on to and Cinda is that something that makes it GOOD! Never knew about that last date but I guess it was not my business.

    Reply

  6. Qiana
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 16:29:18

    iCried…

    Seriously. At work with tears. Thanks for sharing your story JK.

    Reading this as a child of a single mother gives this another layer of perspective (to me). It’s tough on both sides, but I’m so glad you’re able to carry forth with peace about the situation.

    Reply

  7. Ms Terri Nicole
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 16:34:44

    Thanks for sharing that powerful statement Jennifer. A lot of woman go through the same thing, married or not and can’t really talk about their feelings. Thanks for giving those women the courage to move on as well without hatred in their hearts.

    Reply

  8. LaWanna
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 17:26:40

    You have really impressed me. I tell every guy I date the exact same thing when we start our relationship: “Don’t do drugs because I will leave you.” I have never, however, considered how I would feel AFTER I left them. I appreciate your maturity in the face of a really, really shitty situation. Kudos.

    Reply

  9. Jeff
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 17:28:22

    God bless you…..most people can’t understand what you just put into words so eloquently. Everybody ain’t at the same places in life it takes some a lil longer to understand some things and appreciate what GOD has given them….Through it all you not dogging him or anything and you still can say a kind word about him. You’re going to help someone with this blog. Keep up the good work

    Reply

  10. forget break up
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 00:19:04

    Your title “reasons uncommon sense…” description is better and easy to understand than any I’ve seen so far.

    Reply

  11. Carl Williams
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 08:25:55

    I didn’t know you had a blog. I must first start with saying that I admire your openness when talking about this subject. I must say that I somewhat identify with you for I grew up with various members in my family addicted to drugs and lost a aunt to HIV/AIDS that she contracted through the use of dirty needles.

    I will say that drugs are a powerful thing. I’ve seen my one and only brother struggle with addiction for well over 20 years. It’s sad to say but because of his addictions we’ve never had a real relationship.

    One very common belief is that drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior. What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug addiction, that it is a disease that impacts the brain and because of that, stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower.

    Reply

  12. msrrsmith
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 09:15:17

    This was beautiful! My uncle was this man and 12 years later he is trying to repair the broken relationship between his family. His exwife has moved on but the children are slowly coming to know their father as the man they once knew. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  13. jayblazeman
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 17:13:49

    Your understanding of addiction and ability to connect that with your feelings toward Cinda’s father are amazing. Good for you, because staying in that place of confusion and frustration are not productive or healthy. I know it isn’t as simple as you explained in the piece but it is truly remarkable that you are able to put your needs and feelings aside to understand what has happened to this man. You’re right, he is not himself and he has been chemically altered. Hopefully one day he will realize how blessed he is to have such a beautiful child and that his child has a mother as dedicated as you. Hopefully that realization will help him find the strength and determination to change his life and be a father. Thank you for sharing…

    Reply

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