When we first met and you told me about your daughter, B–a fragile little girl, kept locked behind closed doors by her cruel, calculating and inept mother–I was sold. Though just a small part of your physical life, she consumed your thoughts enough to make her tangible even when she wasn’t around: you were a package deal I would have to accept as a whole. As months went by and I was finally allowed to meet her, to spend time with her, I fell in love: the way she climbed into my lap, the way she reached for my hand, the way she wanted nothing more than to be by my side… how could I not want her to be part of my family?
Having seen you broken and discouraged over her, over your lack of time with her, over her treatment and mistreatment, it seemed that the only thing left to do was to throw everything we had into trying to bring her back into your life. As court hearings came and went, and small victories afforded us more opportunities, I saw the relationship between the two of you become stronger. You are, without a doubt, the best father I have ever seen, and B. loves you more and more every time you are together.
It was probably somewhere around this time, the time when I realized that–although she loves and looks up to me–I will never be B’s mother, she will never be my daughter, and I will never be your family like she is your family. And then came the talks about having B with us full-time.
I started to panic, started to feel like I could not possibly handle having a child, a child that doesn’t belong to me, in my life. Would I have any free time? Could we travel? What about sleeping in in the morning? Would I have to take her shopping with me? What about our “date nights”? How could I think about parenting a child that wasn’t mine, and so instantly? She didn’t like my cooking, is constantly being told terrible things about me and stares at me while I’m undressing or eating (and, admittedly, I did not handle that last situation very well at all).
The thing that worried me the most, however, was the thought of not being your first priority and it nearly made me run as far away as I could. I have been in a marriage where I was not the priority and it didn’t exactly end happily. How could this be any different?
It will be different because you are different. You are a capable, caring, devoted man and maybe (instead of fighting against you all the time just because I believe that it’s possible that someone like you actually exists) I should shut up and listen to you. Sometimes, I don’t know how you can say that, “once B is with us, everything will be better,” because I don’t think it’s possible to know what the future will hold. Except you do know, because what you are saying is that you’re not just “hoping” it will be better, you will make it better, you will have more time for me because you will be less stressed, we can still do the things because you are going to make sure that both B and I are as happy as we can possibly be because that is what is important to you.
Even though I will never be B’s mom, that doesn’t mean that I cannot be the best female role model in her life (god knows that she needs one). I have the unique opportunity to be both a parent-figure and secret-keeper, and that is a role I should not take for granted. As long as you treat me as an equal, B will respect me.
I have been so selfish lately, and I am so sorry. I may be scared and hesitant to lose my freedom, but I am more afraid of losing you. I promise that, from now on, I will keep an open mind and an open heart. You deserve to have B in your life, she deserves a beautiful life and you and I can give that to her. I love you both.