Moving On

BMWTeamLeader

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Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Omg omg omg...what an awesome day! My daughters mom and I have been emailing each other since the open house. She initiated the suggestion of us going to parent teacher conference together instead of the customary separate sessions for her and I.

I loved the idea but my trust issues kicked in and I explained as politely as I could how uncomfortable that made me feel seeing how at this point nothing we were doing was united (and not for a lack of trying either).

So there were a few short emails back and forth. I can't explain a lot without getting personal but the only thing that was upsetting to me about her parenting style was keeping me out of the loop even when valuable pieces of information about things about our relationship might have come in handy. That was setting me up for failure and by no means helpful.

I'm not sure if it was what I said or how I said it but I got a surprise in my email from her in the form of my daughter's first day of school picture with a message that mom and I can keep up a dialogue.

I have not felt so much relief in such a short time. In all the struggles that I've had it brings me so much joy that I stumbled upon the beginnings of something familiar but new.

One of my favorite plays in the whole world is A Christmas Carol (I am my community theatre's resident Bob Cratchitt) I feel like Scrooge at the end realizing so much and finding joy in the ability to get a second chance.

All I can think of to say right now is God Bless Us Everyone!
 

BMWTeamLeader

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Joined
Jul 18, 2012
It's still going good...for my relationship with my daughter. I got the sweetest, most sensitive response to my regular goodnight call last night.

Its very difficult to recapture the moment in words, but I was devestated the whole day as I had just been laid off from my job. I made my regular goodnite call, left my regular goodnight message with no mention of anything that was happening around me

A few minutes later the phone rang back. I took a deep breath, and the voice on the other end..it wasn't angry...I kept the focus on her and what she was saying, but the tone changed when she wanted to express how sorry she was I lost my job, but not to worry that I'd find another one. I thanked her and then I asked her about her weekend coming up and if she had any plans.

It was so "in the moment"...

After a few minutes she asked if it was okay if her mom talked to me. I said that was okay and her mom and I chatted about the email I sent about how we were going work child support.

DD made it a point to ask her mom if before she hung up if she could say goodnite to me. Mom asked me if that was okay and of course I said SURE! :)

I hung up and my tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy. I was able to wake up and remember how much my work was working where it needed to and I could face everything else knowing my daughter does still love me. :)
 


mommasita

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Moderator
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Aug 3, 2004
How wonderful... I missed a few posts, I apologize..

You made my WEEK!!!!!!!! :cheer2::cheer2:

What a loving and caring man and father you are... I wish you nothing but the best.. Love pays off :)
 
  • BMWTeamLeader

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    When my daughter was five it took her to Disney. On our last night when I wished her goodnight she said daddy I love you more than Mickey Mouse.

    I never thought I'd hear anything sweeter. I was wrong.

    My calls with my daughter have been more frequent and longer each week.

    Last night she said

    Dad I'm glad we started talking again...
     

    GoofyPrincess

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2004
    I have been lurking and reading your posts and it occured to me that you may not realize how many people are like me - reading and praying for you, but not posting.

    Thank you for giving us updates. your words have cheered me up more than once. I am so happy that you are working things out with you daughter and that you are such a strong and caring father. You are simply amazing. :)
     

    3Gsandme

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2013
    Thank you. Yes, I send her cards as often as I can. Part of my adjustment isthe "less is more" approach. When she was living with me I overcompensated for the qualities I lacked. One thing I remember is she always loved me for who I was. After I took her to Disney World for the first time (she was 5) she said Daddy I love you more than Mickey Mouse. Later in life when I apologized for for not being perfect, she said "but daddy you're perfect for me". As for the latter I had a hard time believing her, mostly because my biggest imperfection is not believing in myself. This is where we disconnected and this is what I have to work on
    It sounds like things are moving forward in a more positive way. I'm glad.

    But, I do want to say that you shouldn't be putting statements like "I'm not perfect" on your young daughter. I understand why you may need her reassurance, but that blurs lines between the two of you. Absolutely apologize for your mistakes. God knows we all make them, but please don't list your short comings to her.
     
  • BMWTeamLeader

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    There will be good times and there will be bad. Lately things have been neither just very tough. About two weeks ago on my phone call my daughter in a pretty serious tone asked that we ditch the small talk and begin talking about the past two years. I was floored by her candor but impressed by her maturity. We talked at great length. There is still a lot we are not hearing each other say. Still the discussion remained engaged and not lopsided as before. I talked to her as gently as I could and answered her questions to the best of my ability. I left her speechless and tearfully she asked to end the conversation. She hasn't picked up any of my calls since.

    The waiting is hard and with the holidays and me still out of work I'm more out of sorts than usual.

    I am excited about the gifts I sent for Christmas. One of the best calls we had was when she played her keyboard for me and she said she plays on the floor because she didn't have a stand. Right then and there I knew what I was going to get her. My parents are getting the bench that goes with it. I hope she remembers that phone call.

    Love my little girl. Want the best for her. Still left with the feeling I could be doing more but right now I keep up with what I've been doing and do a lot of praying alongside. I won't give up .
     

    mommasita

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    Aug 3, 2004
    HI there.

    As you say, I am sure they will be ups and downs... Anything worth it, is worth the trials and tribulations, isn't it.

    I applaud and am SO moved by your love for your daughter... She must have a lot to think about and deal with, along with just plain old growing up :)

    Maybe you can fill some daytime by writing a nice journal.. She may enjoy reading it one day.
     

    seven dwarfs

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2006
    I want to give you a little advice from a daughter who has issues with her parents. For me, to hear my parents say to me, "I did the best I could" or "I did the best I knew how", is the one thing I hate to hear. I think a child has a right to their feelings. I also think those feelings need to be validated. For example, If my daughter were to say to me that she doesn't think I love her, instead of telling her she is silly and of course I love her, I would validate her and try to get her to explain to me why she feels that way. I would also ask her what I can do to make it better.

    Sometimes pride can get in the way of any relationship on both sides. The words "I am sorry" go such a long way. The words, "what can I do for you today" go such a long way. I think we try to explain our way out of things and try to convince others why their feelings are wrong. Instead, we should validate a feeling and try to figure out how to make it better.

    I truly hope you are able to make things better. Don't ever give up. I would keep a journal. Maybe you could write two. One for your eyes only. Another for you to give to her when she is older to show how much you truly love her.
     

    BMWTeamLeader

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    Thanks for response. During the time I have been apart from my daughter I know I could have done better. I've been given a lot to think about things she has said to me directly and events over time I replay in my mind over and over. I also am still a parent and I am noticing with changed techniques I get different results. What my daughter has said to me makes complete and utter sense, but right now saying "I'm sorry" doesn't fly with her...they are just words...To be honest I'm having a hard time expressing what I'm sorry for, and ultimately I end up feeling sorry for myself

    Our communication is so poor and I believe it always was. I was thinking about this the other day, when the last time we talked (back in november) she was saying to me how hard she tried to talk to me about how many problems she was having living with me (when she lived with me). Its like she was saying "I need your help" and I was hearing"I don't want to live with you anymore" and I reacted accordingly...I panicked and took it personally.

    Even to myself, these explanations emotionally don't me feel better saying them never mind hearing them.

    I'm still in a tizzy that time is going by and I am missing out on a lot in my daughter's life. I'm pushing through an uncomfortable amount of sadness, self pity and sometimes anger. I am doing the best I can for now, but there's a heck of a lot of room for improvement.
     
  • BMWTeamLeader

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    Its been quite some time since my last post. There has not been a lot to report. Grief got the better of me and my therapists advised I stop the weekly calls out that never got answered. It wasn't doing either of any good, at least that was the impression I was left with.

    My daughter finished her first year in Middle School with all A's. I'm very proud of her. That says to me she's got great focus and I don't want any of that focus detracted from.

    I am a person who likes thing big...but when it comes to overcompensating for someone not being there, bigger is not better...This was a challenge not easily getting used to and I found in these very long months of self reflection, new discipline and keeping my emotions in check, I am becoming the dad that my daughter kept wishing I was - or maybe saw me as in the first place.

    As the days progress forward, I continue to seek out consistency in my behavior.

    The waiting has paid off...I had a very intelligent conversation with my daughter's mom last night while we were waiting for Open House to begin. My absence from the phones, from what understand has initiated more than a few conversations about me. Her mom takes each one as it comes, and mostly itcomes down to dealing with the past.

    Scared as I was, I approached the subject of a family therapist. Because of the disaster trying to talk about the past one on one; which I am convinced brought down six weeks of phone calls that were going great, I remain firm in not bringing up the past with my daughter unless it was in a therapy setting. I told her mom she could use her discrestion relaying this information (because in all honesty I was saying this for her benefit more than my daughter's).

    It felt good to set that boundary. It felt better being able to express it without the drama that usually has followed.

    I've found my success parenting my stepdaughter relies a lot on the success I have communicating with my wife....I believe the same can happen (more or less) with my daughter and my ex. It becomes less and less about how do I get her back and more more about how do I improve the relationship under the current circumstances.

    Even without the daily contact, my daughter is a part of my day and a part of my routine and from what I understand I am not totally ignored in her world either.

    Even wit the small signs I've gotten in the past 24 hours, I forsee big results when the time is right.

    Thank you for listening to my ramblings - Good Night
     

    BMWTeamLeader

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    Jul 18, 2012
    I went to my daughter's school holiday concert last night. I accidently found out about it in conversing with her mom a few weeks ago. She had mention DD had a solo, so I took a leap of faith it wasn't going to turn into an argument and politely asked when it was. Not really having any excuse why I couldn't go, I made plans to attend.

    Realizing of course that I was pretty much showing up unannounced, I didn't make a big production of my attendance. I sat in the back and just appreciated being there.

    As much as I wanted to go up and say hello after, I felt it wouldn't be appropriate under the circumstances...

    maybe someday.
     

    BMWTeamLeader

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    Jul 18, 2012
    This past week i was made aware of another vocal concert that my daughter was participating in, so I made arrangements to go. My dad, mom, DD12 and her friend also wanted to go so we made plans. We sat in the back,again not calling attention to ourselves. It was beautiful and biased be told my daughter shined in the sea of choristers (my daughter was the only middle school student in her whole town participating in this by audition only event). At the end, crowd traffic was directed out a certain set of doors...my dad bolted on ahead, the rest brought up the rear. I When I turned the corner, my dad was talking to her. I held back. My dad came up to me elated he had spoken to her. He encouraged me to say hello. I asked if she asked to see me. He said not really, then I told him I couldn't approach her. As I kept walking I glanced over at her. She was half glancing at me but hiding her face as well. I caught her eyes and I mouthed "I love you". She stood there tearfully. I gestured if I could approach her. She nodded. She was overwhelmed with emotion (tears, lots of tears) She said something I didn't hear above the crowd. I told her it was a wonderful concert, what a good job she did and I was looking forward to seeing her in her school play next month. She seemed stunned almost. There were no words but I wondered if she she thought I was mad at her and that's why I stopped calling. I told her I am okay and everything is going to be okay. I smiled. I asked for a hug and she allowed it. Then we parted ways. It was a beautiful series of moments. Without romanticizing the whole thing I recognize there is a great amount of work still left to do. But I think this is a huge step; its clerared up in my head anyway a whole lot of ill preconcieved notions and I found the hope I need to do right by her. My one in a million little girl....
     

    mommasita

    DIS VETERAN
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    Aug 3, 2004
    Every time I read your posts I smile and tear up.. The love you have for your daughter just comes through so much..

    I agree it is a huge step, and with any relationship, there is always work left to do.. Keep it up, you are an amazing father, and ANYONE would be lucky to have you as a Dad.. Giant hugs to you.
     

    BMWTeamLeader

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    Can't sleep. On a mini vacation with my wife, ADD12 and DSD16. Wonderful Mother's Day getaway. Unusually sad tho internally. As Mother's Day approached I thought long and hard about how I would go about acknowledging my ex wife as each year I do since she has taken over the regular care of my daughter. As much as I admire her for the work she has put into keeping my daughter strong and safe I am frustrated by her reluctance and inconsistency in helping facilitate any kind of healing between my daughter and I and I can't bring myself to even a text for fear of emotional backlash or misinterpretation of my pure motives. I am so afraid of causing any kind of waves in their house which no matter good or bad I always seem to do. My daughter doesn't need to be around that.

    I think a lot of my feelings have to do with the fact I never dealt with the pain of my divorce. Never made the time when i wanted to always focus on the positive. The grief of losing my daughter compounds as another reminder of a failure that under ideal circumstances I should be over by now. Just another way I feel I let my daughter down and how still not being able to communicate properly with my ex wife I keep on letting my daughter down.

    The only consolation is my mind as stuck as it is wont give up and I continue to practice patience among all my imperfections
     

    BMWTeamLeader

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    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    Very interesting weekend. I was on Facebook and I got a notification of "Friends I might Know" and it was my daughter (apparently we have mutual friends) ...I confess I took a peek out of curiosity...Nothing alarming. She looks well and seems to know herself well. I did not friend request her. As an adult I love facebook, but far too much can be misunderstood without actually talking to my friends on there too, I didn't feel too comfortable entering into such potential. Even though as much as I wanted to just let it go and peek in every once in a while, I felt that would put me in a catagory of unwanted lurkers I wanted no part of. I took a deep breath and let her mom know what was going on. She was appreciative and said she would talk to my daughter about her privacy settings. I explained too that she was welcome to friend request me if she wanted but it all had to be on her terms and even then I was wary of us seeing each others pages and not talking. I am skeptical that would happen anyway, and sad I will undoubtedly be cut off again, but if I can't join her honestly than I 'd rather keep on truckin...

    DW and ADD12 and I off to Disney pretty soon...Plan to send DD a "wish you were here", Love Dad...postcard. Last time I was there it was her and I...good memories takes the edge off :)
     

    BMWTeamLeader

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2012
    Sitting here at the airport on the way home from Disney. We had a great time. We arrived last Saturday. Things were fine until we set foot in The Magic Kingdom on Wednesday. I was struck with twinges of sadness that escalated into a rushed day from ride to ride to combat which resulted in a productive but trying day for my wife and second daughter. DD loved Ariel, which is why I saved the Under the Sea ride for last, but this is the MK Ariel pops up everywhere. By the time I got back to the resort, I melted down and was able to let some of the grief go so as not to spoil the rest of the trip. Instead of a postcard I am going to print one of the Memory Maker photos of myself with my goofy hat on and caption it: "If there's one thing we agree on, it's that your father is goofy". I hope it goes over well.
     

    danny1649

    <font color=green>Will be wearing some lime green<
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 18, 1999
    You sound like a good guy , just never give up . Plus keep the positive attitude and things will work out.
     



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