It's been a little over a week since I found out that our marriage has legally ended. The first few days were rough for me emotionally, but I pulled through, by the grace of God and prayers of many, I have found myself filled with more smiles than tears, more joy than sorrow.
Today, our nearly two-year-old daughter wandered around the apartment, asking me "where's Jake?"
I don't know if you read a few weeks ago, but she came upon your photo. I told her your name and that you were her daddy. She doesn't know what a daddy is of course, so she refers to you as Jake. Today, she was looking for you. Her brothers didn't even notice she was asking for you. Normally, her oldest one will tell her that you are her daddy. Today, he didn't.
I took the children to the park today. It was the first park venture of the season, and it was much needed after them all being sick off and on for approximately a week. I missed three full days of work, and during those days, I will admit that my thoughts fluttered to you occasionally, frustrated mostly that you cannot be bothered to share the burden of sick days so that I can earn an income to provide for them, since you absolutely refuse to take any responsibility, financially or otherwise.
It is what it is, I guess.
Anyway, we went to the park. I now have a camera to replace the one you got rid of, and I brought it along to take a few photos. I forgot how much I loved taking photos until I couldn't any longer, and now I have fallen in love with the process all over again. I got some great captures of all three of my babies.
There's one in particular, of my darlin' middle child, on a swing, his mouth wide open, his eyes smiling like crazy. I posted it online for my friends and family to see. I wrote a caption for it, something along the lines of "I can almost hear his laughter in this photo."
My thoughts ran back to you. So, here I am.
I have to ask...
Do you miss that sound? That beautiful, glorious sound of a heartfelt belly laugh? It's one of my favorite sounds. I could listen to each of our childrens' magnificent laughter all day long, really. You know it's one of my favorite sounds, laughter.
And you haven't heard it in nearly a year. I cannot imagine living this life, choosing to not hear their laughter. I cannot imagine choosing not to participate in such joy, such love.
Do you miss it? Do you even remember what it sounds like? Do you remember their voices at all? You surely haven't heard the younger two really talk like they do nowadays. Do you long for that at all?
The children are mine now, they're fully, legally, mine. It makes me furious that you didn't so much as attempt to fight for them a little. But there isn't much that I can do about it. I sure did try everything I could think of.
I just want you to know that we are doing okay. No, we are actually doing pretty good, all things considered. Our children miss you, sort of. They don't miss you like they used to. One has all but forgotten you as a real person and you're only a man in a photo she knows she should like, because the boys do. But one of those boys... well, I'm not sure he would be able to spot you in a crowd, though he looks daily, and know who you are. I suppose that's a way to protect his heart. The oldest one, well, he makes up stories about you, combined from his memories and what he wishes to be true. I let him. I won't take that from him, even though it pains me to listen to it, knowing it's just fantasy.
Really though, we are doing well. While some days are harder than others, every day, we smile, we laugh, we hug, we play, we dance, we sing, we cuddle, we create memories. We have each other, even if we don't have you.
I hope you're well. I pray you'll find your way. I hope to see you again someday, knowing full well that I may not. Only time will tell.
I may write you again.