Friday night, when it was time to go to bed, I listened to Amelia cry for her mother. Repeating "I want my mommy" as the tears free flowed from her eyes while she laid on my chest. It happened instantaneously, one minute her and Amara were playing and the next, when it was time for bed, her demeanor changed. It took me by surprise since the last time she cried for her was the first time I saw her in two years.
I immediately wondered if it was something her mother implanted into her mind so that I would drive her back early. I wondered if it was because I nodded off and Amara did something to her while I closed my eyes. I tried to soothe her by whispering the depths of my love and how grateful we were that she was spending time with us. I felt like my words were falling on deaf ears as she continued to repeat the phrase.
Inadequate, was the only sentiment on my heart. I felt inept as a father.
Honestly, I took it personal, although I probably shouldn't have. It's hard not to, after being kept in the dark for two consecutive years and a plethora of times previously. I analyzed the relationship between Amara and I and compared it mine and Amelia's and my sorrow deepened.
When I picked up Amara Thursday night she spotted my car from a distance, she knows our meeting spot. I should've recorded how animated she was when I got out of the car, she was screaming and writhing with joy almost falling out of her mother's arms. I scooped her up after she gleefully ran to me and gave her a big hug and plenty of kisses. She loves to slap at my face when she is happy for some reason, but it's funny.
The laughter that escaped my precious babies body filled the chilly night. From the corner of my eyes, I could see the people watching from their cars and walking by enjoying seeing me spin Amara around with joy. In that moment, I thought, this is the greatest feeling. I love being a father.
The next day when I picked up Amelia, the vibe was noticeably different. I got out the car and although I don't think she was unhappy to see me, there wasn't much enthusiasm either. She was more interested in the movie they were watching rather than giving her father love. Amelia was more excited to see Amara than she was me. It definitely hurt, because I know I deserve to have more of a connection with Amelia.
I've always wanted to be there, I unabatedly tried to be in her life and I'm not sure if I experienced a steeper obstacle. Thoughts of all categories ran through my head as I stared at the ceiling while hearing my daughter cry for the attention of someone else other than me. When I'm right there, literally holding her. Amara was just as confused as I was, but it was cute watching her wipe away her big sister's tears as if to say it will be okay.
The next morning was as if the night before never happened. She was back to herself giving me hugs and kisses telling me that she loved me with all her heart. That is my favorite line by her, she'll say "Daddy, guess what? I just love you with all my heart." She stammers over her words as if her brain is moving faster than her lips, it's too cute. There isn't a doubt in my mind that Amelia loves me, I just wish that there wasn't so much lost time in between us.
A lot of Saturday I was in my own head. Angry at her mother for creating this distance, angry at myself for falling for her, angry that I don't have the family structure that I grew up with. It was the only way that I imagined life for myself and my family, I was angry that she quit on us. Furthermore, I was angry that I couldn't control my emotions. That after all this time I still have a physical attraction when I know I shouldn't feel anything towards her, why can't I control that?
One of the main reasons why I hate emotions.
I despise the fact that I have to spend a lot of my weekends at work, especially when I have my daughters. I rather be at home watching a movie or taking pictures of them at the park. I have a playground at work, but it isn't ideal, and they only have but so much fun in the gym.
Amara runs around ruining everyone's basketball games and picking up cones of those who are trying to have a workout. I had to entertain Amelia, but it was fun trying to have her steal the ball from me as I showcased my dribbling skills. She giggled and held onto my arms trying to prevent me from keeping the ball away from her. When she got it, she would run off and throw the ball and then race me to get it.
We had a lot of fun, still, I wished circumstances were different. I almost forgot about the night before until Saturday was a repeat. The same tears, the same phrase, the same conflicting thoughts, and Amara looking at me wondering why we were going through this again. The next morning her first words were if she was going to see her mother that day.
Sunday morning, much like the night before, I was trying to find the right words. As a father, I felt so inept.
Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.