By Teresa Cavaliere
West Palm Beach, FL, USA
(credit: Joseph J. Bucheck III)
I remember so clearly when each of our children were born. I distinctly recall the joy my husband and I felt. It was an innocent, pure feeling, but it only lasted until reality kicked in - the reality of dealing with an unstable child from his first marriage who didn't want to share her daddy. It didn't matter how much I had done previously to nurture my relationship with her. It was as if I dreamt it in its entirety. Sure she had so much wrong and hurt done to her over the years. After all, children are empty vessels that we as parents fill and the rest, well, we leave to the Gods.
I really thought we could overcome the adversities. What I didn't see twenty-three years ago was that one significant common denominator. She went from a child wishing I were her mother, and never wanting to leave my side, to I'm the evil step-mother.
Knowing what I know now, I never stood a chance. There's the guilt-ridden father who craves the love of his daughter and ignores her worst behaviors, while crying out "the poor kid has a crazy mother." REALLY? So is it okay to focus on the "poor kid" and ignore the two children living under your very nose?
Fast-forward seventeen years. Pathetically, this father asks his children, with tears in his eyes, why they don't respect him. WHAT! He doesn't see all the years that he ignored their hearts, shattering them. Every day that he could, he ran out the door toward his past, ignoring his present. Never building bridges, but quickly destroying the ones I worked tirelessly to construct.
“Where's Daddy?” That was the million-dollar question that flooded our home. There were so many wake-up calls. I tried it all - loving conversations, but they eventually led to so many unnecessary arguments. The guilt of what he didn't do for his daughter overshadowed his sense of repeating history. Rather than uniting a family, pleasing a little girl’s wishes out of guilt divided us like the Grand Canyon.
It's true you can’t change people - you can only change yourself. But what happens when you know something’s so very wrong? What do you do? You grab your parachute and jump! JUMP FOR SURVIVAL! One of the survival lessons taught to lifeguards is: If there are four people drowning, you save the ones least injured because they have a greater chance to live. I’M SAVING US!
How many life preservers can you throw someone before you stop and realize you are dying of exhaustion trying to save someone who doesn't want to be saved? Cut your losses and hope for the best. REMOVE THE COMMON DENOMINATOR for a chance at survival and a real life.
Are you ignoring the life preserver someone has thrown you? I'm not. I'm swimming to shore and drying myself off of all the drama and negativity because…I AM THE DADDY!
Teresa Cavaliere is on the frontlines of today’s America and reports on the curves life throws at her.