An Open Letter from the Child You Abandoned
By: Ashley T wilson
I remember being five years old and having to live with my grandparents on my biological dads side. I didn’t really understand it or mind it when I was younger. It was a little confusing, but other than that, I just liked to ride my grandpa’s horses, play with the kid goats, and try not to get flogged by the chickens. I’ll never forget Bremen, Georgia. It was my home, after all. But the memories from home are some of my worst. I didn’t understand just how much someones life could change at such a young age and how a girl’s childhood could just be taken from her. Every child deserves a happy childhood and a loving home and you, my dear biological father ripped that away from me. This is to you from the daughter you abandoned. From the daughter you used and manipulated to get revenge on her mother. The daughter you used in your sick game of chess as nothing but a pawn.
You went to court and lied. You had me taken away from my mom. I remember my friend’s mom from pre-school knocking on the door. She was a police officer. She came in and told me to go to my room and pack while another cop held back my mom. “Don’t take my baby!” Over and over again. My mom tried to get away from the cop holding her. I got scared and started to cry. You weren’t there, though. I screamed out for my mom as Shelly Kimbrall(I still remember her name) took me outside where my grandparents were waiting. Your parents. You were so concerned, though, right? Where were you? From that point on, even though YOU were supposed to have me, I stayed with my grandparents.
I eventually got used to not being able to see my mom as much. I was already used to not seeing you. “Oh, your daddy’s just working.” No, my “daddy” was in Alabama doing drugs with his new girlfriend. Absolutely living it up, isn’t that so? I remember having to go see the lawyer and going to court. Then, sometimes you would show up. “Remember, you don’t want to live with your mom. You want to stay with me, your mawmaw and your pawpaw. You don’t want to go back to your mom. She beats you. She doesn’t love you.” Those were some of the nicer things I would have to say. Did you know I started having nightmares about judges that didn’t have faces and that they would turn into monsters and grab me? That I would wake up screaming? That I would be crying and having fits? It was too much for a five year old to comprehend. How dare you?
Eventually, my mom got custody of me again, as you know. When I first met her new boyfriend, Mark, I latched onto him. I even asked if I could call him daddy. Mom got mad because Mark said I could call him anything I wanted to. She didn’t want me to get hurt by another man again. I remember how you would say she only got custody of me because of Mark’s money and her giving the judge a blow job. Not because you were a horrible parent who had his parents take care of me or anything. You got mad because you lost the only thing you could hold over her head.
Well, mom eventually married Mark. You married that woman from Alabama and started a life with her. I saw you and her a handful of times. I spent time with my brother and sister, always jealous that you actually had something to do with them. Not me, though. I never thought I was good enough. I started cutting myself at eight years old. My mom and Mark saw this and, understandably, freaked out. I had to see a therapist. Your rights got taken away not too long after that because you just weren’t in the picture and my parents didn’t want to see me hurting and constantly being lied to. I went to court for the last time that year when I told the judge that I wanted Mark to adopt me. For once, I wasn’t lying in court. I was no longer legally your child after that.
Life went on until pawpaw sent a letter in the mail with mawmaw’s obituary. I was ten. I blamed my mom and said it was her fault for taking me away. I started to get really good at lashing out on people. Eventually, mom let pawpaw back into my life. Oh, I asked about you, your wife, my brother, and sister all the time. I kept it a secret from my mom just so I could see my grandfather.
The summer I was twelve, I saw you for the first time in almost five years because pawpaw took me to see you. We lied to my parents and said we were going to Cherokee, North Carolina. I jumped into your arms and cried. I played with my brother and sister. I held onto your wife. I felt like I had a missing piece of my family back. We went to Dollywood, ate fudge, and watched NASCAR. You were living in Tennessee now. I fell in love with it. When my mom would call, I would go in a different room and lie again about what I was doing. This is when I started to get angry. Obviously, my mom and dad were keeping me from you and my other family. I became more angry and confused. I blamed my mom and dad for everything.
I saw you again when I was fourteen. It was just as fun and enjoyable as the last time. When I got back home to my parents, I started lashing out even more. I always had an attitude. I didn’t want anything to do with my parents. I started to cut again. I did that up until I was eighteen. I was always so depressed. People joke about girls with daddy issues. I never found the jokes funny.
Two days after I turned eighteen, I moved out of my parents house and stayed with a now ex boyfriend and his family. I trashed my mom and dad. Absolutely trashed them for keeping me away from you, reverting back to those stories of abuse I was always told to tell, and actually believing that it was the reality of the situation. My head was so fucked up. Did you know that? Did you know I was slowly going crazy and losing myself? Did you know how messed up I was and how I was struggling? I felt like I was lost in a void I couldn’t get out of. I was so hateful, father. I was angry and my mind had turned to poison. I was a danger to myself and anyone who cared about me. I pushed and pushed and pushed people away until I had no one. No one but you and your family. So, I came to live with you during the middle of my senior year. We both know how that went, don’t we?
You were a volunteer firefighter at that time. You had made a pretty decent name for yourself. You were respected. You also worked construction. Everything was going great for a while. Then, I saw your true colors. I saw my step monsters true colors. You’d had an accident at work and were out of work due to a workman’s compensation case. Step monster started working at an arcade and blew any money she made on drugs. She would take the Oxies prescribed to you. You both got addicted. I supported the family, including my brother and sister while I worked and finished high school. I let things go. I even graduated with honors. You were actually proud of me. You continued to go on fire calls. I remember going to the fire hall with you sometimes. Despite the problems of addiction, things between the family were relatively normal. I didn’t mind helping out. But good times in these situations never really last, do they?
Animosity started coming to a head with the step monster and I. She went around telling people I was a slut, a whore, and that I slept with the entire fire department. She said she was disgusted to call me a daughter. She lied to my best friend and said I was talking bad about her. Then, she would tell me it was my best friend talking about me. She cost me a friendship. When I got a new boyfriend, she came out in her t-shirt and underwear and flirted with him. She hated me. But you refused to stick up for me. Instead, you took her side. That boyfriend and I weren’t together but a month before we moved in together. My friend took me home from work one night and I started packing my things. The step monster yelled out “Are you finally fucking leaving?” I told her, “Yes, to get away from you.” Then she said, “Bitch, I don’t give a fuck. I don’t want you here anyway.” I never packed so fast in my life. I slammed the door as hard as I could when I left.
I didn’t hear from you for almost two months. I moved back in with my real parents after having a long, hard, heart to heart with them. I wish I could have let you go, father. But I still put up with your bullshit for a couple more years until I came to my senses. The most recently being twenty-three years old and trying yet again to have a relationship with you. Maybe that time, it would have worked. But, once again, you and your wife acted vile and horrible. So much so, that we almost got into a physical altercation because of how she treated me and I told her she wasn’t going to treat me like shit anymore. Once again, I had to pack my things and go. The difference was this time, my son-your grandson saw everything.
You might, at this point, think that I hate you. I’ve been angry. I’ve been hurt. Depressed, even. I don’t hate you. If anything, you taught me to appreciate who I have in my life that actually do care about me. I have an amazing, wonderful daddy who has taken care of me and loved me through it all. I’ve told him I’ve hated him. I’ve acted horribly towards him. He never, not ONE TIME, turned his back on me. See, I’ve learned that a daddy isn’t the person who donated his sperm to make a child, but the man who raises that child and loves that child unconditionally. My daddy is Mark, the man who raised me. The man who adopted me. As for mom and I, we are really close now. It took a while to get there, but we have an amazing relationship now. As for me, I’m doing well. I’ve adjusted and grown up. I’m not the angry, depressed, and confused girl I once was. So, after all of this, thank you father. You are the exact parent I never want to be and you’ve only made me into a stronger and more independent woman.