67: As Time Goes By

67: As Time Goes By

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

As Time Goes By

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement — and we will make the goal.

~Jerome Fleishman

I awoke with a yawn as one of my bridesmaids entered my bedroom, a large smile across her face. “Time to get up! You’re getting married today!” She giggled happily.

I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I watched her bounce energetically out of the room. I slowly made my way out of bed, my nervousness beginning to take hold. Today was the day that I would marry the man with whom I had shared the last six years of my life. I would marry my best friend, the man who held my heart, my trust, my love.

As a foster child with a history of alcohol, abuse and disappointments, I did not understand what a father should be. At the age of eight, I was placed in my first foster home. I spent many long, tormented hours wishing and praying that I could belong to someone. I was secretly envious of my friends who were “Daddy’s little girl.” How I yearned to have what they had. Unfortunately, I didn’t find what I was looking for in my first foster home, and five years later, I was placed with a new family. This new foster home proved to be challenging, but I soon “adopted” the family as my own, as they did me. I eventually became comfortable enough to call them “Mom” and “Dad.”

As my bridesmaids were helping me place the finishing touches on my make-up and gown, my dad walked in the door holding a package in his arms.

“Hi, Dad.” I smiled as he walked over to me and handed me the box. “What is it?” I asked.

“Just a little something from Mom and me.”

I took a slow breath as I opened the box and pulled out the gift. It was a beautiful glass vase with a picture frame on one side and a small golden clock on the other. The inscription engraved on the clock read:

Cindy, As Time Goes By
We’re Always Near,
Mom and Dad

I smiled at my dad, fighting hard to hide my tears, “I love it!” And with that, we left the house so I could be given away by my dad to start a life with my new husband.

In November of 2006 (two and a half years after my marriage), I called my dad in tears.

“Dad, he wants a separation.”

“What?” he asked in shock. “I m sure it’s just a fork in the road.” I cried harder as I explained to him that this was different. He came over immediately and did everything in his power to try to save my marriage. Sadly, the separation was inevitable and within a week I moved back home with my parents. I was left jobless, penniless, and without the life I had known for so long. I was inconsolable. The pain, the tears, and the feeling of utter devastation were more than I could bear. I truly believed that I would die of a broken heart.

But with the strength, support and love from my family (especially my dad), and the inner strength that I found within myself, I slowly began to heal.

The following Christmas (a year into my separation), I didn’t have much money to my name as I was still struggling to get myself back on my own two feet. I felt guilty because I wanted to repay my parents for all they had done for me in the past year, but all I could afford was a Christmas card. Inside the card I wrote the following words:

Mom and Dad,
As Time Goes By
I’m Always Near,
Cindy

My dad got up from his chair when he finished reading the card, handed it to my mom and quickly left the room. My mom removed herself from her chair and whispered quietly in my ear, “Your dad is crying.”

I took in a deep breath and let it out as my own tears began to form. It was not my intention to make my father cry. I had only seen him show emotion like that twice since I had been with them, both times in relation to me and what I had been going through.

As I look back on the loss of my marriage, on all the tears and the pain that I was certain would never end, I can’t imagine not having had my father there for me. Without him I would not have made it through as well as I did. I would not have been able to pick myself up and start my life again. Without him I would not have the beautiful little house that I now own. Without my dad, I would not be the person that I am today.

My father and I have always been close and I know we always will be. There is a bond between us that cannot be broken, a bond that cannot be changed. And I finally realize that it is not blood that binds. It is love.

~Cynthia Blatchford

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