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This is a hard one.

When I first got home, Phia trotted into the living room all happy and told me about her experience at the doctor. Then she climbed up on the couch with me and we cuddled for a bit. The she got a little giggle of an idea and she whispered in my ear, “Boo-hiss thirteen thousand one hundred and thirteen thousand, Falcons.” To which, I know, the intended response is for me to freak out and start tickling her and telling her to “Take it back!” So I played along. I tickled her until she said stop! But then she started pretending to be mad, I guess, just growling and showing me her teeth and then actually swinging at me. When she did that, I asked her to stop but she was just getting more worked up. Eventually I got up and walked away saying I didn’t want to play that way. As I was walking, she started with the “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I won’t do it!” and I was like “You should have stopped when I asked you. I will come back but I need a break.” I went into the kitchen to get a drink. I could hear her crying and sobbing to herself, “I wish I was never born… I wish I never even existed” but I guess I wasn’t feeling to sympathetic at the time (here comes the hard part) because I walked back in and said, “Do you know how ridiculous you sound? You’re only trying to make everyone feel sorry for you. That’s called manipulation.” (I know, give me my best parenting award now…)

I could see the crushing weight those words had on her as she stood up from her little chair and sat back down, her lip trembling, and then collapsed crying on the ground… “I wish I never existed! I wish I didn’t listen to myself!” I didn’t understand at first. “I wish I never existed so I wouldn’t listen to what my brain wants me to do” - crying. I realized that she was struggling with knowing that she had acted meanly and violently towards me and she didn’t know why either. She was just “doing what her brain told her to do.”

Softening, I sat down on the carpet near her and told her that everyone does things that they wish they didn’t do, everyone makes mistakes, and it’s okay. We just try to learn from our mistakes. I told her I loved her and she let me give her a hug. I told her it’s okay to be sad and sometimes people get sad for no reason. She started drawing her finger in the carpet. I told her making art is a good thing to do when your sad and that it allows you to express your emotion in ways you can’t sometimes with words.

She nodded quickly and started to draw more purposefully. She said, “This is you, Daddy, and this is me. And I drew a heart around us with an arrow through it.”

There are so many ‘dead-beat’ dads in the world, the word father has become so tainted. It’s becoming harder to look into our subconscious to know what the Bible implies by ‘God the Father’. Now, we’re forced to consciously find it’s original meaning through research or talking to others, including God himself. I’m thankful God is everlasting. Even though the role of father is being diminished, God the Father never will be. I’m thankful that he has ways of speaking to us and revealing who he is— sometimes we have to ask for it, sometimes we don’t. His ways are mysterious, but his ways are love.
—  Little Lace Light
My daughter has not seen her biological dad since she was four. She’s 11 now. When she was two he contacted me and asked if I would allow him to terminate his parental rights so he could stop paying child support and I agreed.. I wanted to spare her the heartache of a revolving door father and the sacrifice of the financial support was well worth him never being able to disappoint her again. I never lied to her about where he went or who her dad was.. I have always answered her questions in the most age appropriate way possible. When she was four he contacted me and told me he has been diagnosed with cancer and would like to see her. I set aside a day and we met in the park. He had asked for two hours. He stayed 20 minutes and we never heard from him again.. Over the summer we ran into somebody that knows him and they commented on how she looks like his other children. They elaborated that he has settled down and has a family now. My stomach tied itself in knots thinking of how hurtful that must be to my daughter.. I cut the conversation short and we got in the car to leave and that’s when I saw her smiling. She said “mom.. He figured out how to be a dad. That’s such a nice thing. I’m happy for his kids.” And that’s the day an 11 year old taught me all I need to know about forgiveness.
—  A comment on this Humans of New York post