Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Open Letter to Dexter (and Daddy)

Dear Dexter (and Daddy),

First, I want to say how much I love you both. Granted the love of a child and the love of a lover is different, they are both very strong.
When Dexter was born, he was lucky enough that at that time Daddy was sober. He was in what seemed a clear head. I remember when he held you, his first son, his second child in his arms. His eyes glistened and relief was on his face. He vowed to show you a life of love, laughter and everything he thought he was missing. Everything, we thought we were missing growing up.
When we had you, we thought we'd just have you and Stephanie. Doctors had told me when I lost "baby Gavin" that, I could not have kids and so you were that miracle. We watched over you like a hawk or we became "helicopter parents". We were that precious stone I never wanted and all I wanted at the same time. It's no secret up until I was told I could not have kids, I had no desire for them.
We had a song for you when you were a baby....

As they years went on, you wanted to be more like daddy. We had more kids and Daddy spent more time one on one with you. I always had Joaquin and Maggie was a baby. When Daddy started to dress like a cowboy, you did, too. It was the cutest thing ever, despite my dismay for hate with overly curvy bills that reminded me of a baby bonnet.

dex daddy

We did a lot of family things in your early days. As daddy began working more you fought harder to be like him. You listened to the music he liked, read the books he recommended and was happy when he came home. For awhile, it would be days you would not see him. His job at the time had him gone from before sunrise and home well after sunset.


I remember during times of sobriety we'd get into things fast and hard. One of the things was Star Wars costuming. I honestly wish we had not given it up. Those costumes were a common thread that held us together.
You started noticing more, just how much your daddy was drinking. You saw him passing out and vomiting. I tried for years to be strong. I tried not crying over it
and put my focus on you and your siblings. But, it scared me how much you wanted to be like him. Even pretending your rootbeer was beer...and your dad getting mad about it. Wondering why on earth you'd do such a thing.

It's because, you were watching him. You were idealizing a man you thought you wanted to be. A man, you later grew to despise. A man, you would scream and yell at when he'd get a drunk. A man whose beer you'd dump out when he passed out. A man who made your momma cry. A man you already had to babysit if I went somewhere. A man who broke promises. A man who lied. A man despite it all I know you still love.


But, you can't think of the bad things. Yes, you remember them and perhaps on day those memories will fade. But, that person you saw was not your dad in control. That was a man whose disease had taken over. A man whose choice became a need greater than anything else in life. He was "James" not Jimmy during that time. You need to forgive and look ahead at what's to come. He never stopped loving you, he just could not convey it. He brain was taken over and his body and heart suffered greatly.
Who you see now, is that dad you had when we went to Comi-Con. Remember that guy? The guy who laughed and dressed silly? The one who gave you your first guitar and showed you your first chords? The guy who took you to see Buzz Lightyear in person? That's your dad. Remember that, hold on to that and look at him in the eyes and see.


1 comment:

  1. Anita~
    As i read this it reminded me of being the oldest child and going through many of these things. Although my parents were divorced and it was only weekends. My father stopped drinking when i was around ten. Being the oldest i held much anger over his drinking. My baby sister never dealing with any of the drinking would get really mad when i would say that our Dad had drank many of his brain cells away. Not understanding what i went through she just fights with me. My father totally understands why i feel the way i do and he's tried to relay this to her and she just doesn't see it.
    I think it's WONDERFUL that you are dealing with this in the ways that you are. Keep up the AMAZING work!!!