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Chasing The American Dream

March 26, 2005


If I cried during The Pacifier, it was a certainty I’d cry saying goodbye. {Sigh} I’ve been trying all week not to think about it. Every time I did, I shut it down. As our flight began its final descent, the overwhelming feeling of fatherhood emptiness overcame me. I grabbed him. We hugged until the plane landed abruptly. Tears everywhere. Sheesh, I’m supposed to be the strong one. Some example I’m setting! I managed to compose myself, but I couldn’t utter any words. I just held his hand tight until we saw his mother.

She excitedly grabbed and hugged him while I walked away and gave her the moment. My composure was totally lost once again. I walked in circles trying to regain it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment of ‘losing him.’ Composure regained, he and I held hands heading down the escalator. She suggested we have lunch at the airport since my flight didn’t leave for another two hours. That was nice of her. We lunched and had to do the inevitable goodbye scene. I’ve said this before, but goodbye is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to go through in my life. Can you imagine how hard it is on him?

But what an incredible 10 days it has been. I miss him already as I sit on this plane, eyes tearing once again. My writing thoughts right this second are not as organized as I’d like, but I feel like writing now. I need to fill this vast emptiness so newly created after I finally released him from that goodbye bear hug.

I’ve written so much about dating, finding love, the ’on-a-diet’ empty feeling in between relationships. At least that emptiness comes and goes. *This* particular separation emptiness is mostly permanent. It’s there. It’s always there. It’s difficult, and I hardly ever write about it.

Parenting. I feel like I’m moonlighting. I was almost going to name this post moonlighting. A temporary second job. Oh sure, we talk practically everyday, I offer up fatherly advice and praise, but there is no substitute for face time. Ten days goes by in a heartbeat. It’s easy to enjoy all the fun activities and fun things we do. We go to the beach, we go to baseball and basketball games, go to the movies, play tennis, baseball, bowling, eat ice cream, etc. Sooo much fun.

But the real fulfillment is being a father. Teaching him lessons my father taught me, teaching him about life, asking him about it later and he being able to recite my words back to me, cooking for him making sure he’s happy, doing his laundry, telling him to brush his teeth. Face time involvement. It fills the void. Temporarily. Now he’s gone. My moonlighting job over until July. Until then, it’s back to the phone calls, and the long distance parenting thing. The void. Times like these make me question if I made the correct decision to leave? His tears certainly make me question it.

I know I did the right thing, but these moments always shake my confidence. He’s *such* a good boy. He’s so smart and so talented in everything he does. Sure, I’m his father so, of course, I’m going to brag. But he truly amazes me. He can sing, he’s good at all sports, he can draw, his reading and math skills are extremely accelerated, he’s got an uncanny memory, and he’s a good-looking boy. Watch out girls!

I gotta buy a digital camera. The disposable cams just don’t do our precious memories any justice. Because for now, that’s what’s left. One night after I cooked him dinner, I told him how much pleasure it gave me to cook for him. I told him he was the most important thing in this world to me. He response? “I know daddy, you don’t have to tell me that.”

Take me home, Harry Chapin…

“And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."


  • I think I know how you might be feeling. My husband has a son from his first marriage - 11 years old - and we recently moved far away from him. It was one of the hardest decisions he ever had to make. I'm not sure about yours, but (in case you're doubting yours) I was recently told by an adult child of divorce, that it was unselfish of us to leave. That our son is more secure not having to go between two homes all the time. That she wishes her father would have stopped the fighting and let go a bit. Anyway..don't know if that helps, but I know it helped my husband. Hang in there till July.

    By Blogger Carol, at 9:22 AM, March 26, 2005  

  • What a beautiful and touching post, we can feel the pain and emotion of your words. Glad you had an enjoyable 10 days :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 AM, March 26, 2005  

  • He's a lucky kid, PT.

    By Blogger A, at 10:25 AM, March 26, 2005  

  • Hi, just found your blog and I think I may become a regular reader! My boyfriend has a daughter who he sees every other weekend, and it is very difficult for him -- I can only imagine how it is for you. It seems like you and your son have a wonderful relationship, and that is the most important thing. As long as that is intact, distance is a secondary issue.

    By Blogger Roni, at 2:44 PM, March 26, 2005  

  • this put me in tears. I am lost for words... yet, incredibly touched.

    By Blogger Amanda, at 7:34 PM, March 26, 2005  

  • i am so happy for you.

    By Blogger Amanda, at 7:34 PM, March 26, 2005  

  • Sounds like you have an incredible son. I can't imagine what it's like not to be able to be around as much as you'd like, but I do have divorced parents, so I know a little how he might feel. I'm sure he's glad for the time that you DO spend together and he's obviously a happy, well adjusted kid, but I know he'll be looking forward to July, too.

    By Blogger Denise, at 9:59 PM, March 26, 2005  

  • This was very touching, and it brought tears to my eyes to read your thoughts about your son. It sounds like you're a terrific father and a great guy, and even though your boy is not near you all the time, he knows how much you love him. He's going to be a great son with a dad like you. I mean that sincerely!

    By Blogger Mari, at 3:16 AM, March 27, 2005  

  • Thanks all and welcome to all my new readers!

    By Blogger Plantation, at 2:13 PM, March 27, 2005  

  • I'm completly moved. Beautiful post.

    By Blogger Gatsby, at 10:19 PM, March 27, 2005  

  • Sniff. Sniff. Just think of all the peeps who'll never experience that level of love with a child.

    You're a lucky man!

    By Blogger Jewels, at 5:48 AM, March 28, 2005  

  • What a wonderfully written post. As a child of divorce, I applaud you for admitting your feelings, and for acknowledging the power of love you have for your son. I really hope he does appreciate it (probably he'll appreciate more when he is older). I had a dad who did not care, it was out of sight out of mind, and no child deserves that.

    So kudos to you. I am planning to stop by often to read your blog.


    By Anonymous Kiki, at 8:15 PM, March 28, 2005  

  • your love for your son comes through loud and clear. Seems like he knows it too.

    By Blogger Urban Barbara, at 7:28 PM, April 03, 2005  

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