lack [lak] noun

  • deficiency or absence of something needed, desirable, or customary: lack of money; lack of skills
  • something missing or needed: After he left, they really felt the lack.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were incredibly painful this year. These were the first post-divorce celebrations. While I know these holidays are for children to celebrate their parents, parents celebrating their partners is a huge part of the day. My newsfeed is filled with post after post from wives to their husbands celebrating the father in their children’s lives. Mother’s Day passed in much the same way. 

It hurts knowing that the father of my kids doesn’t appreciate and is completely incapable of even acknowledging the time and effort I give to my children, that I’m good mom, and a strong advocate for my children. 

It hurts knowing that I can’t praise him for being a good dad. It’s not that I won’t acknowledge his good qualities as a parent, that I can’t separate his actions toward me from his actions towards the kids. There just isn’t anything good to say. “I’m greatful that after filing a motion for contempt he started to remember to feed the kids dinner. I’m glad my kids get to spend time with a guy who will always drag them along on his own quests to relive his childhood; they usually have fun too.” I’m sure there is no Hallmark card for that!

It hurts that my children don’t have a great father to celebrate and I feel a huge burden of guilt for that.

This hurt isn’t loss. Nothing has been ripped away from me. I didn’t lose a puzzle piece. This hurt is lack. Life shipped me a box with 499 pieces instead of 500.

Lack is ache. It’s a yearning to fill an emptiness you only recognize because it has edges. You don’t really know what that missing thing looks or feels like, but you can touch the edges. They have shape. They are substance giving way to void. You can feel where the component pieces of your life come together incompletely. It hurts to be incomplete. 

Here is the most sincere Father’s Day message I can think of for my narcissist: Thank you for refusing to wear a condom or stopping like I asked you to (I’m pretty sure the former should be properly called rape), twice, because I have two amazing children that I never knew I needed.

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