Tuesday, April 14, 2009
What was it like to see my kid after 3 years?
I was asked this question a couple of days ago and it is one I have had turning over in my mind since seeing Emily again after 3 years.
Really though, the question must be what was it like for Emily after not seeing her dad for 3 years - it's all too easy to slip into how this affects you as the parent and if not forget the child, forget they have been put into the situation you are in.
I'm not going to say visitation went well because I don't think it did go well; but this masks the simple delight in spending time with someone you love very much after such a separation. Stripping out the extraneous matters - Sheila and Paul the gorilla boyfriend, being threatened and having a cloud of fear and apprehension hanging over your head, then what you are left with is Emily and her infectious giggling and laughing.
Judge Doyle got one thing right - "Children do as they're damn well told!" - and after the two of us had gotten past the, "You're Karl, Paul is my daddy!" phase, Emily settled down very quickly and was busy smacking me on the butt because I was too busy tickling her while playing Dad and Daughter tag in the hotel - something I remember doing with my nan when I would run and "hide" under the newly made bed covers or behind the sofa after sticking a clothes peg on my sleeping grandfather's nose :)
The emotions for both of us, bottled up for so long were all present in super concentrated dosage; looking at the pair of us playing, walking along the beach, chatting with hotel reception or messing around at the Waffle Shoppe diner, you would not have known we had not seen each other for so long.
Emily is my little girl and at 7 years of age, she knows I'm her Daddy; she cannot openly say she loves me, nor during her time with me did she bring herself to say it except for one occasion while when it was time to go back to mom, her demeanour changed automatically as the situation did - Children do as they're damn well told, and Emily it is clear, has been told how to behave with me by her mom and no doubt, others around her.
But when she's with me and away from these influences, she's free to be daddy's little girl and she knows it but is like a caged animal when being released - the cage door is opened and there is that short period of disbelief that you're really free to leave which as soon as the moment is seized results in elated scampering and enjoyment of freedom.
What was it like to see Emily after 3 years?
An utterly unbelievable and extremely happy time tainted by the fear of Sheila and her boyfriend.
Posted by Emily's Dad at 3:21 PM