While returning from the mall one day with a carload of kids, I overheard a conversation between one of my kids and his friends. The kid said he “doesn’t talk to THAT woman” while joking with the other kids about his family. I’d known for years the kid’s mom was absent and never asked about her. Not that I wasn’t curious – I mean I’ve always wondered - but more like it wasn’t a conversation I’d want to have with a child.
I pretended not to listen as the kids kept talking and the conversation became serious all of a sudden.
“Do you ever wonder about her” asked one of the kids.
“Nah”, the kid shrugged “my sisters talk to her but she’s a stranger to me” he said.
“Where does she live” asked another kid.
“I’on know”, the kid replied “I’ll never speak to that woman.”
A carload of kids came to a deafening, awkward silence. Yet, thoughts in my head were screaming as I flashbacked to my life as the child of divorce. Thinking of all the questions I had for my father and how I hardened my heart thinking he didn’t care about me anyway.
He wasn’t there.
He never called.
He left us.
He left me.
It wasn't until years later when I became an adult I had the opportunity to sit down with my father and get the answers to my questions. We cannot turn back the hands of time but some of us can forge forward TOGETHER like my dad and I. I visit him whenever I am nearby and give him updates on the grandkids. I called him on his birthday a few months back. The first time I'd done that in over 30 years. Our awkward silence is no more and I am grateful.
“I hope one day when you’re older you and your mom will be able to sit down like my dad and I get answers to all your questions”, I said breaking the silence.
“Me too, Mrs. C. me too.”
I knew he understood as I saw him grin a bit as I glanced in my rear view mirror.
The mood lightened and the laughter of kids filled the car again.