Dear Twisted's Father
Congratulations on your retirement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your years of service to this country, as a Marine. Though I never knew the reason for your having voluntarily joined the Marines, I know that you took your service seriously and served proudly.
We've not had much contact, if any, since your having been transferred out of my area. So, you may be wondering how on earth I know this information. Despite my experience and degree, I was born a natural researcher. You may vaguely remember our one very short conversation shortly prior to your first deployment to Iraq. You wanted to talk money, I wanted to talk father-daughter relationship. She was but a young 8 months of age at that time. Then off you went into deployment hell and I prayed for your safety and health. I had no contact with you, nor could I gain any information during your deployment. All I wanted was for you to return safely from your deployment and for OUR daughter to be able to form a relationship with you. For the following years, this was my goal. I didn't want your money, I just wanted and dreamed of my darling Twisted talking with you and visiting with you. Then came the turning point when I could no longer provide medical care for her and the state forced me to file for support. At our second to last court proceeding, I was shocked to speechlessness when I was informed that you had, in fact, been stateside for at least two years and hadn't attempted contact – nor had you responded to court summons. It was only after the final hearing – at which I was admonished (when I say admonished, I mean that this woman tore me a new one) by the judge for foregoing the six (6) years of back support Twisted was entitled to (to the tune of $30,000+) because I thought you didn't need the added stress of that on top of having served five (5) deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan – and the order of garnishment hitting your check, that you called. You were upset that I was taking away from your new family and that your new wife had to get a job and not be a stay at home mom with your two other daughters. I voiced my sympathies and relished in hearing about your two little ones – wishing you, your wife and the two girlies all the best in the world.
Fast forward through the next five years of really no personal contact, refusal to speak to OUR daughter and things like asking, “I need to know what she wants to talk about before I agree to talk to her,” when I asked if she could call or email you. We won't discuss the ridiculous notion you set out that I should allow you to sign away all your rights and responsibilities so that some other man could adopt her (refusing to understand that I do NOT date – I'm too busy raising OUR daughter). I've been calm, I've been collected, I've been researching and watching little snippets of your life (btw.. your two little girlies are just adorable – it's a shame Twisted doesn't know them). And suddenly, the news that you were retiring. It doesn't matter how I found this information. I stupidly thought – FINALLY, now he can settle into civilian life and begin forming that relationship with Twisted that she needs and wants. Stupid really is the word for that.
In the last year my and Twisted's life has had some major life changing events. Her grandfather (her only one), my dearly loved father, passed away. I worry for her because I really don't think she's fully processed it – and I know I haven't. She's also had some peer struggles in school and begun dealing with the all feared pre-teen puberty hell. Kids sort of give her grief for not knowing much about her father (I can only tell her what I know and that isn't much). All in all, her life is contentious right now. But still, she shines outwardly. She's still in her gifted and talented classes at school and joined band this year (6th grade – because you have no clue what she's doing). She loves music, drawing and anime – and to my dismay (probably yours, too) there isn't an athletic bone in her body.
As you have been repeatedly told, any and all contact I've initiated with you has NEVER been about the money. However, I've hit the brick wall with my calmness and understanding with you. I am currently looking for a second job because, well the reason is really none of your business other than the fact that with your retirement, your support payments stopped. Without those support payments, the extra financial issues that have come about since her grandfather's death (my father) have left us in a precarious position. For the first time since her birth, I was counting on that support payment in August to purchase her school clothes and supplies – and the September payment to fund her school lunch account. Neither payment was made, so I had to make some hard decisions so that Twisted did not suffer. She will not go without her basics as long as I am breathing. But I want to get it off my chest, in respect to what I am going through. Hell, I've listened calmly and with sympathy to your life stories – it's my turn now. So that Twisted has what she needs, I eat only at work (meals are free – I say meals, but it is only lunch) once a day. I have now gone without my meds for two months. Luckily, there haven't been any major signs of distress in this area. I am using the same work clothes I've used for three (3) years – luckily this year we will eventually be getting uniforms at the school's cost. And now here I am trying to find a second job that won't leave Twisted without me for too many days of the week. I've discussed with a friend and my son that if she will be without me for too long, I may have to move her in with one of them. It's not fair to her that at this crucial time in her little life (pre-teen omg the drama) that her mother will be unavailable to her for long stretches. I KNOW that life isn't fair. I KNOW that eventually I can get us back on track financially with or WITHOUT your support. But damnit all, Jason. It is YOUR responsibility to provide for her – whether or not you ever decide to have a relationship with her. It isn't HER problem that you decided to marry and have two little girls that you also must provide for. I have picked up your slack for eleven fucking years. I have pumped you up to her – told her of your bravery, your kindness, your silliness and how much she is like you – for eleven fucking years. For eleven fucking years I have done all this, all the while giving you sympathy (neither one of us expected her birth, this I understand). I'm DONE with the sympathy, of the excuses. I will not bad mouth you to this beautiful child of ours – nor will I disparage you within earshot of her. However, I will no longer give you free passes. I won't be the sympathetic one on those very rare phone calls, emails or whatever. I'm in a hole, backed into a corner and OUR daughter will not suffer – I will come out fighting.
the mother of your eldest daughter, Twisted