Some days I am capable of seeing you through adult eyes. Eyes that are full of compassion and understanding. But as I read your response I feel only from my child self. I am brought back to that broken girl inside me, filled with rage and sadness. The one still begging to be heard and seen. I need you to know what that little girl felt like as you were attempting to parent. It’s not even those years with dad that hurt most, it’s the aftermath. It was the hope that perhaps we could be free from pain, but the reality was we went from one hell to another. Our routine with dad kept you home, nightly dinners and bedtime stories. But that ended when you left. You were now free to explore yourself and your new found freedom. Late night drinking and your new found love affair consumed you. Shortly after the divorce I remember you coming to me with a stack of print outs and telling me that I showed signs of being sexually abused. You told me that sis had opened up about it as well. And so began my unraveling. In a time I needed you most, you fell harder into alcoholism and became even more unavailable. In seventh grade I began skipping school, you let it slip. I began smoking weed and drinking. At 13 I lost my virginity. You opened a restaurant and I saw you even less. I attempted suicide, nothing changed. Then came the meth, the ecstasy, and whatever else I could use to numb the pain. Sex, shop lifting, an MIP. I dropped out of high school my Junior year. I don’t even remember you saying a fucking word. This is what the duration of my adolescence looked like. I remember you picking me up a handful of times to “save” the day. Like somehow that was enough. But the truth of the matter is, we were too much for you. I always knew it. I needed you desperately. I needed you to quit drinking and be present. I needed you to be home everyday to support me. I needed you to ask about how school was going. I needed comfort and connection. I shouldn’t have had to save myself! But I did. Why? Why couldn’t you just stop running. Why couldn’t you get clean? Why can’t you still get clean? Why did your relationships come before your own children? Why do you continue to exist in relationships that physically and emotionally abuse you? Why did your pain always overshadow our own? Why does it continue too? I’m tired of excuses.