The emotions came flooding back this morning. My daughter, Bethany, called my cell phone at work, “Dad, I’ve been in a wreck.” She’s okay, if not a little shaken – the car’s another story. What makes it worse is that she’s living 200 miles away with a friend for the summer. Outside of my heart leaping into my throat when I heard those words, I’m okay too I guess.
But it did make me think back; She’s two years older now than I was when she was born. I remember standing in the cold hallway outside of the nursery at the hospital 19 years ago. The tile on the floor & walls was some awful combination of pastel blues & greens. It was the night after she was born & all of our families and other visitors had gone home for the night. I had elected to stay with Beth & her mom & sleep in the waiting room. I stood there – a tall dorky 17 year old child – with my hand on the glass that separated me from my newborn baby girl, and I wept. I remember the overwhelming feeling of sorrow & regret when I knew I should be feeling joy, which also made me feel terrible guilt. I vividly remember whispering the words, “I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry that I will probably never be the father you need.
I’m sorry that I will never be able to provide you with the life that you deserve.
I’m sorry for bringing you into this world under such terrible circumstances.
This isn’t your fault – it’s mine.
I’m so sorry…
Not typical new-father emotions I know. I’ve spent the last 19 years trying to overcome those feelings too. I still don’t think I’ve done that great of a job of it, but I’ve done the best I can. Maybe just the fact that I wanted to do better & be better is worth something – I don’t know. But I’m feeling some of that guilt & regret again today. My little girl wrecked her car – and I can’t be there for her. I’m doing what I can from here, and I plan on being down there tomorrow – but I’m not there now. I’ve been upset with her lately for the choices that she’s made. But early this morning on a small country road in Kentucky, she needed her dad.
Bethany, “I’m sorry.”