The Time I Almost Became a Long-Distance Parent

Joel Leon.
6 min readNov 6, 2017

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I’m not used to sifting through fire, broken bones, in order to find “home”. Home means various things to people. Home also can change, is a variable almost, how it can be spoken for (and, to) in ways that differ, depending on the location of feet and heart. Home has always been a special place I could locate, I could trail my fingers across and find the grooves in, to trace my belongings. But, it is hard. When I originally wrote this, almost a year to this date, I think I might have had three mental heart attacks. I am not sure what that means exactly, but I’m going to assume for myself it was indicative of my stress levels at the time. When I wrote this, my daughter was not in the same state as me, and so, I grieved. The grieving being the layers involved in that story, how that story was created, and how her mother and I bore the weight of said story.

As a parent, there is a certain kind of love you hold for your seedlings that only another parent of a human child can understand. It lurks in the glint in the eyes as you walking and passing other fathers, other parents playing with their children, in what seems like, in the far distance, the model for parenting you expected and wanted. You question and look back at the crumbs left over, right? You count the steps taken, marking the foot prints to get back to where you lost yourself, where you lost whatever control you had and gave away. It does feel like the blinking of an eye almost, the time that has passed.

My daughter was one year of age, and already then I would watch her in videos and see her body elongating, her speech tightening. Every day another day of suffocation, because video could not capture all the smiles, the hand raises, her grabbing for things. They tell you yes, you will miss things: she will be in daycare or have a baby sitter, she will have a nanny or you will be working, supporting a family, and so someone else will be tasked in those hours and times with her raising. But, this is different. Distance does not only make the heart grow fonder, it grows bitter and hard and cold too if left for too long to be idle in its lonely. Lonely because there was a time when your arms and her arms felt like one movement, one puzzle piece linked by the arches and ends, and every minute pf every day feels like the dissolving of the dream.

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Joel Leon.

he/him. @tedtalks giver. @EBONYmag / @medium writer. @frankwhiteco . creative. @taylorstrategy senior copywriter. @thecc_nyc 21’ class. @twloha board. #BRONX