My kids are almost exactly ten years apart. Jake was born August of 94, Emma born March 04. They both have different fathers. Jacob's dad and I met in front of crossroads mall back in 1992. I was 18, and not wanting to attend school like I was supposed to, so my parents made me get a job. I was in my senior year of high school, working at the key bank tower in downtown Salt Lake City, when I met Josh.
He must have been around 22 or 23 when we met. Pretty sure he was born September of 71 but I can't be certain. We don't talk anymore, haven't for many years. He likes to blame me for his failures as a father. It's a fairly typical insult among the single parent community. What's worse is, he has nothing to do with Jake anymore. That's also a fairly normal action by an absent parent but, the kicker is Jake doesn't understand any of it. In his mind, his father doesn't care about him. In his mind and heart, he has been abandoned by the only father he ever truly knew up until age 15, when Jason entered stage right.
Sometimes in order to look back and gain a perspective that will offer insight, perhaps even some wisdom, a lot of time has to pass. The bigger the life experience, the longer it takes to digest fully. I'm 48 years old and, still finding these little priceless nuggets of wisdom, sometimes buried deep, that offer another place to grow from. For me, the older I get, the more nuggets from my childhood seem to rise to the surface and, I think that's because I'm "seasoned" enough to be able to process them more clearly, without so much emotion attached.
Will Jacob ever be able to do this? Process feelings and emotions in a way that help him grow cognitively? Can he grow cognitively? Or will he always feel abandoned?
He called me a few nights ago crying. It was late and it had been a long day of dealing with the pressures I am under lately. He was crying and told me he was really hungry. He is 29 years old, and this is the very first time my sweet boy has ever been so ignored, he's starving. He begged me to let him come home. "Mom please, I'm really scared here and I don't know how to make any food, and I just want to come home."
Mothers hearts break every day for a variety of reasons. Some as small as a determined toddler trying repeatedly for days, weeks, and sometimes longer to learn to tie their shoes.
Other times, it's as big as a son being taken hostage in a foreign land. Or, a disabled child being misunderstood to the point of them being killed by police.
Mothers hearts break regularly. Mine is breaking now.
Not only because my very innocent son, is afraid, hungry, and alone. But because all he has in the entire world, is me. There is no father trying to be involved. Neither dad send him random text messages to say I love you and, I'm proud of you. Not unless provoked/encouraged by me.
This isn't meant to be a stab at either of Jakes dads although, I do have quite a bit of resentment towards them.
No, this is meant to show the complexities of an autistic brain. Its meant to show the soul of a fellow human, struggling with a very real set of demons he didn't ask for nor, earn in any way. And why is that the point of this write up on fathers?
Because fathers matter. Fathers are so important that when they go missing, the empty feeling is palpable.
I write this because my son has wanted and needed a father for so long.
I have failed him in this.
Sure, I'm not to blame for their absence, they've always known there's an open door here. I have failed him, because I have failed myself.
I have failed myself in so many ways over the years. My naivety towards men, being raised to think they are in charge has taken a construction crew complete with scaffolding to tear down, and it's still not done.
Please keep Jake in your thoughts and prayers if you're so inclined. We need a better answer for him soon.