To my oldest, you're no longer a teenager. For a month now you've been a young woman facing a new part of your life. Now that the court sees you as an adult, and out of the scope of all this nonsense I'll be sending you more packages like the one last week. I want you to feel comfortable when/if you decide to reach out and know that I'll be here. My first instinct is to come to see you, but people wiser than me have said that isn't a great idea considering all that's happened. That its better to let you come to me in your own time. I'll admit, that is really hard for me; but with some convincing it seems that it really is the best way to help you feel safe reaching out.
I know you have felt abandoned by your bio dad, and your mother left us all way too soon. Some people would like you to believe I have left you too, but I haven't. I won't. Since the day you hopped across the floor in front of me at two years old belting out "ribbit, ribbit"...I've been there. I'm still here, I never left. I want you to know I've seen your work on the art site you post to. Specifically the one about 'Daddy daughter time'. I can see the pain you express in your work and as brilliant of an artist as you are it hurts to see it. I do love you; I've always loved you. I have no idea what you are feeling, what you are thinking, what you have been told. Considering all that I think it would be best for me to focus on us seeing each other some day, and we can talk about the past then. For now just know I'm here. If you want to throw rocks at me, scream at me, punch me, hug me, talk to me...whatever. I'm here. If you just want to get my attention so I'll know that you're ignoring me...I'm here.
I hope you've picked out a good college; you only have a few months of high school left and I know you procrastinate. Your mother and I always hoped you would go away to college. Mostly because we both tried to stay close to home and it didn't work out for us. It may just be a "grass is greener" type situation but we felt you would learn more about yourself getting away from these familiar surroundings, especially at this time in your life. When I was sitting across the table from you as you ate vienna sausages and goldfish crackers, your feet no where close to reaching the floor, I never imagined I would be having a one way conversation with you over the 'net about college. When you went to preschool and could already write your name in print and cursive, and read short children's books all by yourself I thought we'd be traveling to campuses all over, together, all of us as a family. You and mom touring the campus while your brothers and sisters and I found all the attractions in a nearby town. Watching your face light up as you see new opportunities at each campus, the wonder and amusement you'd feel starting this next phase of your life. But those where dreams of a different future, from what seems like a different life.
Back then you and I would play board games (Candyland, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, etc.) while your mom would cook dinner in that tiny kitchen we had in our first apartment. Your artwork would cover the fridge, and the floor in your room. Your mom saw the artist in you even then. I hope that is a passion that you pursue, if for no other reason than for sake of the passion. I wonder if you remember that apartment? The first night we were there as Mom and I crawled into bed, you had been asleep for hours. Mom got up and turned on a light and said "She's going to wake up and get scared, she won't know where she's at." I thought she was being overly mothering...until about 3:00 a.m. We woke to find you crying in the Den, scared because you didn't know where you were or where to find us. I feel that way now. I don't know where we are in our relationship or how to get back to you...it's been so long since we've spoken a word to each other. Since July 25, 2011 the evening before you were taken from me. So here I am in a strange place, in the dark, crying out to you. Crying out that I love you and no matter how old you are, how "grown" you get, you will always be my little girl and I'll always be here for you.
I love you; yesterday, today, and forever!
1 year ago