Recently someone close to me got a FaceBook Friend request from his son that he hasn’t seen in almost twenty years.
The parting, several years earlier, was tragic.
Quick facts: The child was the result of a very short relationship which failed long before any mention of a pregnancy. DNA confirmed the parentage. Sole custody remained with the mother. Social Service agencies were involved immediately. All rights remained with the custodial parent, child support was court ordered, and regular visitation took place for many years. There was no abuse or neglect. No complaints or changes.
Until one day…
When the child (with his mother in his ear) was ten, he told his dad he didn’t want to see him anymore. The child was supported by his mother and social worker and all ties were cut. There was no reason or explanation given. The door was shut, locked, and bolted
What we need to recognize is that there are several sides to the same story.
When that dad was cut off and shut out he sought court orders and was told he had no rights. Who knows if the child, who is now thirty, ever heard any other side or reasoning as to what happened. There was obviously no understanding on the part of the child as to the damage that would occur. Kids of that age don’t have the ability to look so far into the future and weigh out the possible consequences.
Fast Forward 20 Years: At this point it doesn’t really matter how much time has passed because the harm and ruin are done. The two are now strangers.
The adult stepped back because he was ordered to but that didn’t make the separation any easier. For years there’s been a void–a longing to know what happened. A longing to see his son.
Now the young man has reached out and the dad accepted. They are trying to find their way to communicate and learn about each other. It will take time.
The sad reality is that they’ve lost two decades for reasons unknown.
Were you raised by a single parent? Do you know where your other parent is? Why the break-up? Do you ever wonder if they want to see you?
Or perhaps you’re an estranged parent who wonders what your now-adult child is doing or what they’ve accomplished?
There are different sides to the story. Remember and respect that.
Also, people change and grow over the years. Reaching out is difficult. But it could answer some of your questions and/or offer some closure for long time issues.
If you have an absent parent and you decide to reach out–please do so safely. No one says you need to jump into someones life and be best buddies. Take your time. Have a friend or family member help or support you if necessary and please let me know what happens.