Desperado Dad

GravatarMy Beautiful Girl,

I hope you know the depth of my love.
The lengths I would go to for you.
The things I would do to protect you.
The things I would do to provide for you.
The way my heart aches at what the world could do.

I look at you sometimes.
Caught up in a story.
Sharing your view of the world.
Absorbing the wonders of nature.
Or far away dreaming in your bed.

I look and wish I could be better.
You say I am the best dad in the world.
But I am the only one you know.
Do you know that I could be a better dad.
Do you know that I wish I was.

When I come to my senses I can be there for you … home and present in the moment.
I can listen.
I can play.
I can plan and create.
I can hold you close and whisper in your ear.

But then I find myself out on the fences … home but far away.
I can’t listen … I send you away.
I am unable to play … for reasons you don’t understand.
I cancel plans and destroy moments … leaving you confused.
I keep you at a distance … for reasons I still don’t fully know.

Thank you my queen of hearts.
You are the finest thing God has laid on my table.
You bring me more joy than you will ever know.
You give unconditional love to this broken heart.
You provide fairy dust as a balm for my broken mind.

And I am sorry for those times.
For reasons you are too young to understand.
I get hurt by my feelings that I am not the best I could be.
I am numbed by my low self esteem and become worse than I am.
I imprison myself and although at home … at times I live alone.

But you would be so proud if you could see the hero your dad is.
He often fights his way through a Fire Swamp to get to you.
Each day he stumbles through the thickest fog to find you.
He defeats exhaustion and keeps atop an ocean to see and hear you.
The Enchanted Forests he lives in – with tricks and deception – can’t keep him long from your side.

And I hope one day you will know.
I really did do my best.
I fought as hard as I could to be with you.
I struggled against forces you couldn’t see.
I carried a weight no one should have to bear.

I love you little one.
And I will never stop fighting.
Because I know how you love me.
And even though it can rain for days.
You let me see the rainbow above.

Desperado Dad

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18 thoughts on “Desperado Dad

  1. wow, amazingly raw and truthful. As a mum (with strong mental ill health history) I read this and felt tingles all over. I have three boys and am waiting to fail… Your poem shoes me there is no such thing…Thank you

    • You’ll always be Mum. I’ll always be Dad. That is who we are to our kids (rain, hail, and shine).
      Friends and partners grow to love us … we earn that somehow.
      But our children are born loving us … and for me at least, that is part of what makes it so scary.
      If you parent anything like me, you will screw up plenty. But I’m sure you won’t fail 🙂

  2. This is such a beautiful poem which I can so totally relate to. I have a muscle-wasting disease which is a bit like muscular dystrophy but kept at bay by drugs and treatments. I am tired so often and my kids are so active that I often feel overwhelmed and unable to meet their expectations. Feel like such a failure. Thank you for expressing many of the feelings in my own heart. I hope and pray that our children know how much we love them and that we would do anything for them if only we could.

    • Thank you Roweeee.
      It is hard. But I decided a long time ago to stop comparing myself to other parents. Let’s face it, there are some we just can’t possibly compete with! Instead, I accept that I have some good tools and some broken tools. With these I do the best I can and I’m sure you do to.

      And yes … my hopes and prayers are the same as yours.

  3. Oh, Jared. This post brought tears to my eyes. I feel your pain. Did you know my son was convinced I didn’t love him? In his young mind, he thought I was absent of mind (while present of body) not because of my depression but because I didn’t love him. That broke my heart. He was 16 when he told me. That means he went on for years feeling unloved. And all because I thought it was better to pretend I wasn’t sick instead of talking to him and explaining the nature of my illness.

    I think you did a great thing by writing your feelings in such a beautiful -even if painful, way and I hope your darling daughter reads it Being the best dad you can be is enough. Because you love.

    Big hug, my friend!

    • You are awesome Claudia!
      I know what you mean. This is for Little Miss 9. But my son is 16 like yours was. There are some days I have been very close to sharing my struggles with him and I believe I soon will. He is a great kid, like yours from what I have seen.
      Do you know how hard it is for us guys to tell other guys that we love them?!?! We are so dumb that we even find it hard to say those words to our sons. Life made my dad hard and he couldn’t say those words to me. With my son I was determined not to be the same, so he often hears those words from me. But in fairness to my dad, it has been harder to best him at this than I thought – not because of my mental illness, but because I also fight guy dumbness! 😉

      • In all fairness, it is mostly society’s fault, that guy dumbness. How many times I heard while growing up little boys being told “stop crying like a girl!’ and so many other “pearls” like that. Terrible, really. People treated boys a lot harder and then they expected them to be sensitive men. Do talk to your son. He may be confused at the beginning and I am sure it’ll be hard for you. I was hard for me even if I didn’t have the guy dumbness, but you’ll son will appreciate it all the more.

        I’m sure you are doing a great job!

  4. Wow, wow, wow….I so wish that I had had the insight, while my child was young, to understand what was going on with me, so I could explain to him…but it wasn’t that way, so we had to struggle our way through, together and separately. Thank G-d he’s OK now, he’s grown and well, but not without scars. You’re a wonderful Dad.

    • Yes. I remember what you shared about your son’s journey. I really do think you did an amazing job considering all the circumstances.
      As parents, hindsight can be both wonderful and painful. Sucks that we don’t have a training course to qualify us as parents or a practice run for every curve they throw us.
      Thank you and take care my friend.

  5. Beautiful, touching post. Though I don’t have a mental illness (my son has OCD) I can relate to not feeling like a good parent at times. Parents are human, we all have our issues, and most of us do the best we can. I think we need to communicate with our kids openly, in an age appropriate manner, so they are not confused by us. I think your daughter will cherish your poem at some point in her life…..your love is so evident.

    • Thank you 🙂
      Your advice is absolutely true regarding the importance of communication and I will be sharing it with her in future … when the time and age are right.

  6. That was absolutely beautiful! It brought tears to my eyes, a lump in my throat. I thought of my own struggle to be the best mom to my two wonderful children. And it also made me think of my own relationship with my late father. This poem is not only a work of art, but a truth that is so often clouded and hidden. Thank you. I am going to reblog this.

    • Kat. Thank you for those kind words.
      It is funny for me that a few people call it poetry. Was not the intention to appear that way, as it is just a series of thoughts compressed and compiled. I have never been able to write poetry in free form, I always aim for too much rhyme and structure. Looking back on this letter though, maybe in the process of painful expression I have achieved what I previously couldn’t.
      I hope I can have the same success with parenting. To look back in years to come and feel I have achieved something beautiful as a Dad would be truly wonderful.

  7. I have been in this same place with my kids, and I can really feel the dissonance between the pain and the hope that occur at the same time. There was a time when I thought I had failed completely and ruined their lives thanks to bipolar, but I’m glad to say that’s not true. I missed a lot, but I also gained a lot from the times I was able to shake the demons for a little while. From one dad to another, keep trying every day, it is worth the effort.

  8. Reblogged this on The Blogging Pot and commented:
    I was very touched by this poem which echoes some of my feelings as a Mum living with what can be a debilitating muscle-wasting disease. My symptoms come and go in flares very much like lupus so I can have stretches of being fine and then have trouble moving much at all and incredible fatigue. Parenting can be very difficult in this space and yet I want to be all that I can be for my kids. Be their Mum.

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