Today is a very painful day for my partner. He has lost his child because she decided that she did not want to be with us. This was a very painful blow to him and he has lost his way as a parent. I am doing my best to give comfort and help him work through the results of what some would call “failing” as a parent. This is actually an incorrect judgement of the situation that we are presently experiencing. We did not fail my step daughter.
We both gave so much to ensure that she would prosper. It was the priority of our lives the last nine years together, and his for the last fourteen. The idea that there are winners or losers, or failures or success, is not entirely appropriate. In fact, we did everything a pair of loving, concerned, and present parents should have done.
In the end it was not us that failed. My step daughter made her choices on her own. She chose this outcome and the fall out from it is not our responsibility. I was told from the moment I agreed to become her step mom that she was too old to help. I hoped against hope that everyone was wrong. I knew in my gut that an element of what I was told was true, but I still tried and gave everything I had despite what others said.
In the end, I realized that she had to find out who she truly was. We had to let her go and now we wait in a painful state of hope that some of what we tried to teach her will stick. But, my partner did not fail his daughter. I hope that I can convey to others that when in the end the young person decides to destroy their lives and the relationships around them, at some point one must realize they are individual human beings. Individuals who must be allowed to operate independently to learn from their own mistakes. And, the blow back from their actions do not throw shade or colour who we are as people and parents.
My partner and I never owned this child, the child was always an independent entity. We don’t own our children, we just are tasked with the responsibility of loving them and trying our best to teach them to be good people. And, we did just that. Now, what is that saying? If you love something you must set it free….
And so out of our deep love for my step daughter, who is now of an age to determine how and where she wishes to live, we must give her this freedom. We must allow her to be the person she is meant to be and learn to love her for who that is.
We are celebrating the person my partner is on Father’s Day. Not the state of the relationship he has with his daughter, but the hope that she will one day become the best person she can be, whatever that should mean. It is difficult and it hurts, but in the end we all have to allow our children to be themselves. And, we must forgive ourselves for what was never meant to be.