AWOL Dad

Lisa Dayhaw
June, 2000

Dear Mike,

I hope, somehow, that this letter reaches you. Why did you disappear without letting us know where you were going or your new address? We wouldn't have bugged you or anything if you wanted to be left alone, but it would have been nice to know how to reach you in case of an emergency or something.

So much has happened since you saw your son last, I couldn't begin to try to remember it all. Nick made the A Honor Roll in third grade this year. He loves learning and will be taking special classes next year for areas that he is gifted in. He tested above superior in Social Studies and did extremely well in all other areas, too. This was his third year in Cub Scouts and now he has graduated to the Webelos Den. That's the big boys, you know. That is what he tells me all of the time. I could paint a rosy picture, but I don't try to fool myself into believing that all is well.

I'm having a tough time trying to teach a boy how to be a man, since I don't know much about it myself. I can handle the things like baiting a hook and pitching a tent, but what am I supposed to do about the dreaded sex talk? It's sure to come and probably sooner than I would like. I mean, I don't know what to tell a boy to expect when he starts going through puberty and liking girls. I've experienced it from the other side of the fence, but I'm not sure how much help that is going to be. Maybe I could go to the mall and pick up a book about this, or something.

I just don't want my son to feel inferior to the other boys because he doesn't have a dad. I try to assure him that he is not the reason that you don't have a relationship with him. How much of this does an 8-year-old really understand?

I get so sad when I think about the emptiness that he must feel inside. I saw an ad on television the other day that said a boy who is raised without a father in his life is twice as likely to end up in prison as other boys. This is sad, especially when there is no acceptable excuse for the father's absence. All I can do is try to raise him to have a strong moral character and to seek out God. I always ask God for guidance and He always comes through for us. Nick loves church. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and wants to be baptized this summer. I am so thankful for his decision. He knows that he has a heavenly Father.

You need to realize that the longer you stay away the harder it will be to ever come back. I feel so sorry for you. You must be so miserable to have missed out on so much of Nick's life. I beg God to help me understand what you have been through in your life, or are going through now, to make you think that is okay to turn your back on your own blood. Even though I can't even imagine it happening, I have to accept it because it's real. Does this make sense? Is it fair?

Anyway, I hope this letter makes its way through the right channels and ends up in your hands. Could you please, at least, give us the name and number of a contact person in case we have to reach you in an emergency?

Praying for you,
Lisa