An Open Letter To My Son’s Absent Father

Liane Metzler
Liane Metzler

Yes. I called you absent. There is no other way for me to say it, but if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know. I won’t hold my breath.

You left for recovery when our son was 3 months old. You were high when I went into labor, and I was too preoccupied to care. It didn’t cross my mind until later why you had slept through the entirety of my 15 hour labor.

From the moment I met you, I had wanted to save you. I can’t remember everything you told me that first night but you were nothing how I expected you to be and you sure had a way with words.

The guy that scared me in high school and didn’t even know my name eventually crept into the crevices of my heart and 4 years later would make a permanent residence.

Just recently you confirmed that I was a 2 am call and a part of your addiction I had no idea existed at the time. For some reason, I am having a hard time thinking that the sensitive guy I met when I was 19 doesn’t exist.

It’s hard to believe that I had loved you that long but harder to believe I was trying not to. I didn’t really have my shit together before you but I was trying. I abandoned everything, including my morals just to make it work. I am working on forgiving myself for that. Even though you never meant to, I am so grateful you have given me the blessing that is my son.

My entire pregnancy was hell-bent, and I am still trying to forgive you for never coming home, for ignoring me for days at a time, for stealing the money I was saving for him, for making me question my own sanity time and time again when you insisted you weren’t using, for being late to our first ultrasound, for never coming to the doctor.

Still though, thank you for the beautiful moments.

Thank you for that time in the pool when I was days away from giving birth, when I felt huge and pale and ugly but we took pictures anyway. Thank you for the brief moments you’d rub my back or play with my hair when I felt awful. Thank you for running out to get me cereal when I had a light night craving.

Thanks for taking me to the beach and sitting down on the benches with me when I got too tired to walk. Thank you for that day in February when you finally came clean about your drug use and went off to Florida. Thank you for trying to make it work before we knew it never could.

No matter how often everyone told me, I was convinced that this boy would be enough to keep you clean. I am angry because it wasn’t. For three months I dealt with you slowly but surely falling into full blown relapse — and a newborn. There were so many times I thought I was going crazy, it’s so hard to tell when your hormones are raging and when you’re being manipulated. Soon, it wasn’t hard to tell at all. You got a new apartment, we were so excited and we all moved in together.

For a few short weeks it was like a dream. But, eventually, I had to take our son and move back in with my dad. You would invite your friends over when he was sleeping, you would seldom come home, and if you did it was in the wee hours of the morning. I never wanted to leave, but when our arguments escalated I knew I had to.

I know even though he was sleeping, he felt the energy. I’m still working on forgiving myself for that.

I knew you were using, so you only saw him on weekends, at your parent’s house. I was scared to death to leave my son with you. No one ever believed me except my parents. I knew no one would force you to go to rehab again. Every time I told you to, you told me you couldn’t go back. I know it was just the drugs talking, but I wish you didn’t have to go so far away.

You never admitted to doing drugs right away but you said you were going to go back.

I still don’t understand why you chose the furthest place from where we are. We’re at 90 days clean now, and it’s a struggle to even get you on the phone. You told me I was part of your addiction and I’m trying to understand but I’m also trying to understand why it’s so unfair when I never wanted that. I had to delete you off of social media because I got tired of seeing pictures of California and none of your son. The few pictures of him, there is so much praise. “You’re the man.” I scoff every time. How much of a man can you be when you don’t even see your son?

I am trying to forgive you. I am trying to forgive you for missing him saying “Mama” for the first time and seeing him eat solid foods. I’m trying to forgive you for telling me that I’m not doing enough and that I’ve had a silver spoon when really I’m trying to be as independent as a 22 year old in college with a baby can be.

I tell people, “I’m not really a single mom” in the way that I have such an immense amount of help but when it’s all said and done I am a single mom and I am struggling and I’m still trying to forgive you for not doing a goddamn thing. I’m trying to forgive you for being an addict.

I’m trying to forgive you for not being here and being perfectly fine with not being in his life.

I’m trying to forgive you for telling me you’re going to come back here and take him to California with you. I’m trying to forgive you for never asking for pictures, for never calling me to say “How is he?”, for never asking about his doctor’s appointments, for never sending him anything other than a box of diapers.

Will you come back? We don’t know. Will you be here for his 1st birthday? We don’t know. Will he ever know his father well enough to call him dad? We don’t know. I’m trying to forgive you for the uncertainty you have left us with. I’m trying to forgive you for the social media posts that are now few and far between as if you know who your son is at all. You would be amazed at how much he has learned. He looks exactly like you, just as I said he would.

So thank you.

Thank you for giving me a reason for living. Thank you for giving me a best friend, a movie date, a breakfast date, a reason to better myself and a reason to be proud. Thank you for giving him your infectious smile and your tan skin. Thank you for giving me someone to wake up to every morning, arms reaching out for me, a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for letting me have him all to myself.

Thank you for allowing me to have these special moments, thank you for always telling me I couldn’t and forcing me to prove you wrong. Thank you for making me a single mother and thank you for giving me no choice but to get my act together. Thank you for forcing me to search for exactly who I am. Thank you for giving me a little boy that looks like you and calls me mom. Thank you for giving me someone to raise and to teach and to love.

Thank you for giving me the best piece of you that you could have ever possibly given me. TC mark

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