I was thinking about the way I was raised, the friends I had and the questions my parents would ask. People I was allowed to hang out with or not allowed to hang out with and the why behind my parents’ decisions. Thinking about my daughter, Melrose, I’m sure her friends at school are asking those same questions about her and her family. So I wanted to write a letter to a parent asking and wondering about these questions, my daughter’s friends’ parents.
A letter to a Parent:
A guess first an introduction is in order. My name is Noah, and I am the father of Melrose Marie Bye. The reason you haven’t met me before is that I have spent the last six and a half years in federal prison. From before Melrose was born, all the way up until 9 months after her birth, I was involved in a number of illegal activities, all related to drugs. I am not here to make excuses for what I did, but I want to inform you that I will be coming home in September.
I want to thank you for giving my daughter a chance, especially if you knew that her father was in prison. Some of you have stepped up and provided things for my daughter that my absence could have robbed from her.
The daddy-daughter dance is the big one, which she could have missed because I was too self-centered to think that far ahead, but one of you stepped up and brought her, and that means the world to me.
Af first it hurt, but only my pride, because I was forced to look in the mirror that day and I didn’t like what I saw. When my mom sent me the picture, it moved me to tears. But I was beyond grateful someone thought of taking her and giving her that moment.
Another one of you have got on the phone when my daughter was over doing arts and crafts, and you told me you were excited for me to come home, and now I sit here teary-eyed thinking about it. Thank you. It’s amazing what the simple gesture has the ability to do.
When I was in high school, my mom and dad were always trying to warn me about hanging out with certain people. I never listened. And eventually, I became one of those people. I came from a nice healthy home and my parents did everything they could to raise me right. I was stubborn, groundings meant slipping out of the bedroom window late at night, and forbidding me from certain friends made the pull even more intense. Some things I had to find out the hard way, and who I picked as my friends were one of those things.
I lost most of my friends when I was indicted because the majority of them got indicted with me. Guess which ones came back around? The ones my addiction and illegal activity pushed away, and for that, I am so thankful they gave me a second chance.
If you think it’s not a big deal who your kids hang out with, I urge you to change that belief and don’t budge. My daughter is a great kid, her mom and her Grandma’s are to thank for that, they have done a great job, and when I get home I will do my best not to impede her growth. I understand that they have been doing just fine without me, and I will find my place, even if that place isn’t dad at first. I will put my ego aside and in time I will earn my title back.
I also hope that my return home doesn’t change the way you look at my daughter. I understand that you may feel uneasy about my presence, and I understand because my actions have warranted that reaction, all that I ask is you give me ONE chance.
I have used my time of incarceration to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It has been a journey, one I don’t recommend, but never the less one I had to go through it in order to get where I am today.
What have I learned about myself? I am an addict and if drugs ever come back into my life, I will be going back to prison.
What have I overcome? Insecurities and lots of them as I didn’t think I was worthy of much…love and professional success, being two of them.
What am I still working on? Self-image, because there are still things about myself that I don’t like, but one day I pray that changes.
There are actually some perks to experiencing what I have been through, and that is my daughter will not be able to get much past me, nor will her friends. I know the signs, I know the behaviors, and where certain paths lead because I have been down all of them.
If you don’t know who I am, you will soon find out, because I will be at all of her games and activities. I may be reserved at first but before long I will come out of that shell, and you will either find me entertaining or obnoxious. I love sports and I look forward to sharing my lack of athleticism and knowledge about the game of basketball with her, but I intend to use enthusiasm to overcome those obstacles. If Melrose decides to give hockey or golf a chance then I can bring much more to the table, but that will be up to her.
If you want to come and introduce yourself, then I would be happy to meet you. If you don’t, then I hope that you will one day change and give me that chance.
Also, you might not know what to say to me and I understand because these situations are difficult and awkward. Just say what you’re feeling, even if those feelings are painful.
Thank for listening and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all more.