Column: I made it without you

‘I never needed him growing up, so why all of sudden would I want him now? I got all my love from my other family, especially from my mother.’

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Aiden Gonzalez

“What feels like a thousand emotions hitting me like a semi-truck all comes from a letter.”

I come home from elementary school and open the mailbox. There it is, I see what awaits me: an envelope. I pick it up and read “To Aiden Gonzalez, From Dad.” What feels like a thousand emotions hitting me like a semi-truck all comes from a letter. I always thought it was my fault my father wasn’t present in my life, making me feel low about myself.

From empty alcohol bottles to unpaid bills, not having a father figure growing up was an experience that definitely shaped me into who I am. He would only show up in my life once every five or so years to make sure I was still alive. I thought nothing of it because I had a loving mother. To me, she was both parents combined into one: what else did I need? There were times when my brothers would go to their dad’s house for the weekend and there I was, alone, fatherless. While they had a good time with their father, I was alone in my dark room wondering where I went wrong.

He was never there for me as a kid because he had another family to worry about. He had other kids to look out for, while I cried myself to sleep praying for a text or phone call. I still remember the times when I would text him, “When can I visit you?” as a tear dropped down my face onto my phone. I would wake up the next morning with “Read 2:07 a.m.” in bold at the bottom of the screen. It crushed me. 

As I got older, I started to realize my worth. I was not going to let his absence ruin my life anymore. It wasn’t until December of 2015 when I was told groundbreaking news that changed my outlook on him forever. “Aiden I need to talk to you,” my mother said. She later explained what happened to him and why he was a screw-up. “Your father is going to prison, potentially for the rest of his life.” I sat there for a while; I had to process the information. It’s not like I saw him every day, but there was a connection between father and son. 

I remember going to his court hearing to see how long he was going to be locked up. Once it was finished, he got up and turned toward the crowd, his eyes dropped to the ground. He wasn’t aware I was going to the court hearing, all he saw was me crying in disappointment.

Fast forward five years, I received his letter in the mail in December. It was a Christmas letter, but instead of opening and reading it, because it shows I care for him, I ripped it up. But that still wasn’t enough for me, so I walked over to the candle and watched it burn. “I love you son” was the last thing I saw from the letter. I chuckled to myself and thought, “That’s funny, he doesn’t know what love is.”

I never needed him growing up, so why would I want him all of a sudden? I got all my love from my other family, especially from my mother. 

I’m proud of where I am today. I made it this far without my father, and I’m going to continue to better myself. Sure I had a rough time getting to where I am, but without the struggles, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.