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DEAR CHRISTINE: Deadbeat dads live to regret

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

DEAR CHRISTINE: Deadbeat dads live to regret

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Dear Christine,
Over the past few months, I have sat back and read letter after letter from women complaining about the non-payment of maintenance (child support) for their children.
Now, I’ll like to share my experiences with you. First let me state that many of these men who refuse to support their children, regret it later in life. That is, if they live long enough.
I am a 24-year-old young woman who recently landed a job as a trainee manager in a leading firm. My drive to succeed against the odds drove me to the point where many nights I burned the midnight oil to secure a degree. It was not easy.
As a child, I watched my mother struggle to keep her four children well fed, clothed and sheltered. I never understood her challenges until I was preparing to enter secondary school. It was then she told us how difficult it was because our father left her for another woman, and refused to pay his monthly child maintenance fees after she put him in court.
It was then I discovered he held a decent job, which would have allowed him to make these payments. However, he refused to support us.
I watched my mother and grandmother (her mother) labour long and hard. My mum was dependent on my father’s assistance because of her small salary, but he refused to help.
Some days we ate tinned meat and biscuits, and many nights I heard mum crying out for help.
My sister, the eldest, was lucky enough to have someone sponsor her through school. My little brother, who is now 18, is learning a skill, and my twin sister has her own business. We are not a well-to do family, far from it, but we have survived – thanks to mum and grandmother.
Here’s the real bombshell. Four months ago my dad returned on the scene.
He said he was really ill and told my mum he needed to know if any one of us could help him. He apologized for deserting us, and explained that he was “young and foolish” at the time.
Christine, my mother could not believe her ears. She told him that after those early years of struggling with four children, sacrificing and trying her best to make ends meet on her own, he had no right to come back into her life demanding anything of her. She told him she forgave him for abandoning her; that the child maintenance money had run into several thousands of dollars and reminded him that money was still owed.
Christine, he then asked me to talk to my mother. That was a big mistake and the final straw for me.
I told him my mum and grandmother were the only two people who looked out for us when he ran off, and made it clear that I wanted nothing to do with him. Christine, I meant every word. Christine, he had the guts to tell me that now I am in a good paying job, I can help him with his medical bills. I refused.
I want those women who are experiencing problems getting child maintenance for their children, not to despair. Whatever a man sows he will reap. Do whatever you can for the good of your children. One day, these men will want to brag about their offspring – like my father now does, but sadly, it’s too late.
– D.O
Dear D.O,
I think your timing was perfect. Only yesterday, another writer shared about the bad treatment she received when trying to collect maintenance cheques for her children.
Many of these men do live to regret not playing a more supportive role in the lives of their children. And yes, most of the time, it’s often too late when they attempt to play catch-up.
While you are now an adult and can make your own decision about whether or not you want him in your life, I caution you not to have any animosity towards him. At the end of the day, he is still your dad. Do not be filled with anger or hatred either, as they are both bad for your health. Forgive and release him.
Your decision to succeed against the odds is commendable. Congrats on your achievements.