My father was married to my mother for about two years, during which time I was sired and born. And while my mother was carrying me, he had another girlfriend who became pregnant about the time I was born. Needless to say, my parents separated before I was nine months old, before my half-sister arrived. You left my mother to raise me by herself with no child support, although the courts ordered it. She did a damned fine job.
My father contacted me twice, once for half a day when I was 13, again for half a day when I was 17. A card or two followed the visits, plus a weird invitation to come and live with him, his wife, and my half-sister. Why would I leave my mother, who had been my sole caregiver, for a man I didn't know? NOT!
My mother was annoyed at first when I started referring to the old man as my sperm donor. To me, that was what he was. Nothing more. I knew later how much that phrase demeaned their relationship. I'm forever sorry about it.
So, now that both my dear mother and the sperm donor are gone, I have some words for SD.
I hope you were a better father to your second daughter than you were to your first.
I hope you taught her how to play catch, played hide and seek, and did all the great dad things, like eating ice cream in a snow storm.
I hope you taught her a sense of right and wrong, gave her a strong ethical foundation, and were there for her when she needed you.
I'm sorry you were estranged from your own parents. I wasn't, because my mother kept in touch with your mother and father until I was old enough to write. I know she did. Grandfather sent me a box of her letters, cards, and photos of me. She kept me alive in their thoughts until both passed.
I'm sorry you never got to see how I turned out, but then, you would have had to keep in touch. Once Grandfather died, there was no touchstone with your side of the family until a couple of years ago when your brother's older daughter reached out. We've established a long-distance relationship, one I once wished I'd had with you.
For this Father's Day, I don't send good wishes. I don't send bad wishes. I send the same type of wishes you sent me all these years. None.
P.S. Thanks, Mom, for being the best father a girl could have. Happy Father's Day.
###Betsy Ashton is the author of the Mad Max Mystery series, Unintended Consequences, Uncharted Territory, and Unsafe Haven. She is also the author of the stand-alone psychological suspense novel, Eyes Without A Face.