V's dad isn't and never really had been a big part of her life. There have been times when he has been more present than others but for the most part he just isn't there. I've dreaded the day when the questions would come and how I would answer them as truthfully as I could without crushing a little bit of my little girl's heart. Because honestly, the fact is that even though he isn't always there, for the times that he has been she loves him and now its too late for her not to miss him.
Today was one of those days. Her dad has been battling numerous issues that I won't get into because they are his own to talk about. Those issues however make it so that V hasn't seen him in quite some time. While we were eating lunch she was talking about her dad and how she hasn't seen him and he is never at her grandparents' house anymore. I simply said "well daddy has things going on that make it hard for him to be around you and be a good example right now and he is trying to get his things in order so he can be the best daddy he can he can be to you. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you or want to see you." She said okay. I gave her a hug and kiss and she went about her merry way.
But here's the thing. I lied. I lied like it was my job (I mean technically it was at that moment). Because the only part of what I said to her that I know is true for a fact is that he has shit going on (of his own choosing) and that he isn't a good example for her. I know for a fact that he isn't doing much to get life together. I don't know that he even so much as thinks of V. He certainly hasn't shown much responsibility or interest in her in the 5 years of her life.
And you know what? That pisses me off because as much as she drives me nuts I know what I have here on my hands. I have an amazing hunan being and I'm so grateful to be her mother. After a long day of yelling and complaining about not being a maid I look over at my sleeping girl and I feel happy that she's mine. The biggest part of why he and I didn't work out was because of his disinterest in parenthood. That's a no go for me so five years later of a terribly cliche and depressing (to think about now) relationship we were over and I couldn't be happier.....except for the part where I have to explain shitty situations to my kid. That's not over and it won't ever be if he keeps on the track he's on.
So I thought she was fine with my answer but she came back and asked me if Will is her real daddy or if N is. Well hard question kid. Will has been in her life since she was a year and a half, he puts a roof over head and food in her tummy, more clothes that she could ever need on her back, takes care if her when she is sad or sick, does fun stuff with her among so many other things. You know shit dads do. He's not perfect but he's here and he tries and more than anything else I know for a fact that he loves her and wants her to love him more than anything. So I told her those things and I told her that what makes N her dad too is that they share the same genes and he loves her too. Done. She walks away. I breathe again.
Will comes home from work and V says "daddy, you know what makes you my real daddy? You feed me and live with me and buy me clothes and toys and read stories to me in funny voices and give me medicine and tuck me in and carry me...." Will looks at her and says and I love you. She looks at him and says I love you too and literally jumps into his arms. I almost cried. Partly because they both seemed so happy, partly because it makes me happy that she knows that she is loved by Will, and partly because I'm just sad that she had to ask what makes who a real daddy.
A real dad is the guy who's there for you all day every day for the rest of his life. He is not perfect and he makes mistakes but his love never wavers and you are always important to him and not just when he wants to impress people. I know these questions are just starting and as she gets older I'll give her more truthful answers because I'm not covering up for anyone. For now I'm just happy she knows what being a daddy really means.