I am not a perfect person. None of us are. By the age of 21, I had found myself to be the single parent of three girls by three different fathers. Over the years, I have dealt with all kinds of ridicule about this but it didn't change what my job was; to love, take care, and protect these angels I had chosen to give life to.
I was raised by my grandparents and social services. My mother stopped visiting me around the age of seven and my father was in and out almost as much as one changes underwear. I never really knew what to expect. When I found myself dealing with the same things with my girls' fathers and their families, I knew something had to give.
Early in my journey of single parenting, I allowed guilt to control my choices. "But I miss her," "It's Christmas, have a heart," would eat me alive. I would spend countless nights wiping the tears, dealing with the fits of rage, and healing the pain just to have someone walk in months later and the cycle would start over. I would set up visits that no one would show to. I would reach out to them and offer to spend the gas to transport both ways. I would pay for the movie tickets... I would try to facilitate the relationship between them and their families, trying to make sure they never had to grow up like I did. Those small moments of joy on their faces became my justification for allowing someone to hurt them in a way I knew all too well in my own heart. Something had to give!
I stopped. One day I woke up and realized that sometimes doors close for a reason, and reopening them after months of not even as much as a phone call was more unhealthy than not having that connection at all and that by opening those doors I, too, was causing damage to their hearts. Healthy relationships need consistency. If you hadn't received a call or text from your spouse in six months, would you trust them to walk through your front door and pick up where you left off, or would you feel like you were inviting in a stranger?
Don't ever let anyone make you feel like you have to let people walk in and out of your child's life just because they share the same DNA.