To Whom it Really Doesn’t Concern,
I’m sorry if you somehow felt uncomfortable that I smiled and said “hi” to your little girl while as we crossed paths the other evening. Â Yeah, I’m the early-30-something guy walking up and down the aisles of the local grocery store, alone with my list in hand, but I assure you I’m no freak. Â I couldn’t help but notice that you grabbed your daughter and pulled her close to you as you turned the corner to head to Aisle 6, casting a critical eye in my direction. Â I can’t help but wonder if you’d react the same way if I had my own little girl hanging off of my shopping cart at the time. Â You see, it might not look like it but I, too, am a Daddy. Â And while I might not be able to throw my little princess in the car to run errands save for a few agreed upon times a year, it doesn’t mean that I’m some crazed nut for simply wanting to make your daughter smile and being polite. Â I relish that feeling of hanging out, doing nothing in particular, and just enjoying that father-daughter bond. Â I miss it frequently and I’m quite envious of you who may or may not even take it for granted. Â But please don’t cast me aside as bizarre for simply being alone and friendly.
And to you, Mr. Bossman, who hired me full well knowing my personal situation. Â I’m very sorry if it inconveniences you and your staff meeting if I have to leave a few minutes early because my little girl is in town this week and I need to get home at a reasonable time.Ã¯Â¿Â½ Â I give you 250 days a year of nothing but my flexibility and hard work, often putting in 50 hour workweeks and rarely even taking lunch. Â Is it really that big of a deal if I want to actually enjoy a few hours each day while she visits? I know you don’t think of me in that light, but being a father is extremely important to me. Don’t worry, you’ll have me back at your mercy in a few more days.
As for you, co-Worker who sees fit to ask me every time they see me when the last time I spoke to my daughter was, with that judgmental look on your face; I understand that you can’t comprehend not going home to your children every single night and I’m sorry if you think I’m less of a parent because of it. Â Frankly, I don’t expect that you’d be able to understand, but I sure don’t think it benefits either of us to passive-aggressively prod into my relationship with my daughter (we’re just fine, if you must know) and try to make me feel like I’m less of a father because I’m 1,500 miles away from her.
So many are so quick to draw their own conclusions and pass judgment on my status as a long distance parent. Â Perhaps it would help if I let you in on a little secret “I’m no different from every other father you might come in contact with today; I’m just a little bit further away from my little girl.” That’s all. Â I make every effort to talk to her daily, if she’s interested in chatting. Â I’m well aware of what’s going on at her preschool, who her friends are, and what her plans are this weekend. Â I hear all about her clothes (most of which, I’ve actually sent to her), tell her I love her all the time, and sometimes even let her pick out which tie I should wear (she almost always goes for the pink one). Â I might have to wait a little bit longer between hugs than you do, but I can just about guarantee that I probably cherish each one a little bit more because of it.
To be honest, my life is great! Â I have a wonderful, loving and caring girlfriend, who is always there to listen. Â She gives me perspective every day, and has shown me what it means to believe in real true love Â a soul mate and a partner. Â I’m extremely thankful for her and I wouldn’t trade my life with her for anything. Â I do miss my daughter, my little sidekick, every single day, but I’d be lying if I said that all of our lives weren’t better for the choices that led me to be where we are today. Â I cherish every minute that I get to share this amazing life with my little girl, whether on the phone, or in person a few times a year. Â And I love her just as much as you love your kids, too.
So, although my life may be “different” from yours, and subject to a little bit of long distance complexity, all I really can say “I’m sorry” for is your reaction because, truthfully, I have nothing to apologize for. Â My life, my situation, is really none of your business. Â And if it makes Â you Â uncomfortable or influences what Â you think of me, I suppose that’s not exactly any of my business at all.
Next time you swing by my office, don’t feel so awkward. Â Ask me about the little girl in the pictures on my desk. Â I would love nothing more than to tell you what an amazing little princess she is. Â Who knows, I might even sound like a “real” Daddy in doing so.