I was seven years old and mum told me my dad was going to come over and take me out for the day on Saturday. It didn't happen very often (once to that date in the 2 1/2 years since they separated). On Saturday I got up very early, dressed carefully in my favourite ensemble, made breakfast and then parked myself out at the gate to wait. Apparently it was all of 6:30, mum warned me I'd be waiting for a long time.
At 8ish I came in to use the loo and took a cushion out to wait. Mum warned me that he wasn't supposed to arrive for another hour or so but I was determined.
At 10 I came back to get a book to read while I was waiting. Then another. By lunch time I was on to my third. Mum brought me a sandwich, I can still remember eating it and to this day I can't stand cheese and relish.
Well you can imagine how it progressed. There were some more toilet stops, another book, lots of 'what time is it?' and 'when will he be here?'.
Late in the afternoon, perhaps 4ish, I could hear mum yelling on the phone and after it went quiet she came out to tell me he couldn't make it after all. I refused to come back inside and sat there at the gate until it got dark and mum carried me in.
Naturally I blamed her for his no-show. As the absent parent he was still firmly on his pedestal and it must have been her fault for yelling at him.
Moral? If you promise your kid something make sure you fulfil it. Or, if your child is idolising a deadbeat absentee, take heart they will grow out of it.