You come home from a hard day's work.
Coming through the door, you pause.
The house ... it's quiet.
That can't be right.
With three kids and a wife the house is never quiet.
You walk in further and then you see.
It looks like a tornado had come through the entire house.
Your infant daughter isn't in her crib, your young son isn't running to you wanting to be picked up, your oldest daughter isn't asking you to help with her first grade homework.
There's no one there.
It isn't right.
Where are they?
You call everyone you think of,
No one's seen them.
Did something happen, were they taken? were they killed?
You cry for the first time in a long time.
You desperately wonder what had happened to your family.
Later you get a call.
It's your sister-in-law, you find out your wife is in Arizona.
What in the world is she doing there?
Why didn't she say anything about it to you?
You then realize ... she had run away.
She took your children and fled.
Because she could.
Because she felt like it.
You had never beat her or cheated on her.
You had never even raised your voice to her.
You had thought everything was going great, but she was just biding her time.
Waiting for the right moment to abandon you.
You race down to Arizona and with cops behind you, you bang on her door.
She opens it, unsurprised.
The cops watch as you go inside and grab your children.
She doesn't protest one bit.
As you walk out, you demand a divorce.
As a reply, she throws the cat at you and slams the door in your face.
In the courtroom, she barely fights for custody of the children.
At the judge's ruling, you look over at the woman that you had spent the past nine years with, she sits back in her seat and seems to sigh in relief.
Back home, you can't believe it.
Everything had changed.
You have a hole in your heart where your love for her had once resided and it starts to ache.
Can you go on, you wonder?
Looking at the faces of your children, you realize you have to.
You have no other choice.
You watch as she misses your baby girl's first words, first steps,
You wonder, how could she have missed this?
But you start to see slight changes.
Your son no longer cringes at the sight of a wooden spoon,
Your oldest daughter no longer yells at her little brother,
Your baby girl no longer gets rashes from sitting in the bouncer too long.
These things have changed, you wonder what else will change.
Your big girl talks to her mother on the phone sometimes.
In the hall, you can hear the conversation
She keeps asking her mother when she's coming home.
You know all to well that she won't.
Your baby girl starts to wonder why all the rest of the children have mommies and why she doesn't.
You have to tell her what happened.
You tell her that she's all the way on the other side of the country,
wanting nothing to do with her own children.
You try to explain divorce to a child younger than three.
When she skips away, you're still not sure she truly understands.
You leave earlier in the morning, work harder, and get home later.
Your oldest daughter is the one who gets the younger children up in the morning,
she makes sure her little brother and sister wash their faces and brush their teeth.
You don't know that when they have enough time, all three of them climb into your bed and just a lay in it until it's time for them to go to school.
You watch as they grow up.
You wonder again, how could she have missed this?
Your baby girl's classmates ask her if her mother is dead.
All she replies back is that her parents are divorced.
A child so young should never know the meaning of that foul word.
The years pass.
Your big girl looks so much like her mother
that you sometimes cringe when you see her but ...
You realize it's your eyes that look back at you, not her eyes.
Your son is the spitting image of you when you were his age.
Your baby girl looks neither so much like you or her.
She has your nose but she has the eyes of her mother.
She even bites her tongue like her mother does when she concentrates.
You never remarry.
That void in your chest still hasn't filled up yet.
By now you think it never will.
One of your children asks what did it feel like when she had left him?
You can't find the right words to explain.
You say that it felt like a part of yourself had been ripped out and had never healed.
They never ask you again.
Now all of your children have started their own lives.
Your girls are in college and your son is serving his country.
You sit back and finally relax.
You had done it.
You had been able to raise three children by yourself.
Some wonder how you had done it.
You even wonder sometimes.
It all came to the point that just when your youngest was about to
start college, she gives you a hug and whispers,
"Thank you, Dad."