The first few years after our divorce, I attempted to ignore Father’s Day as I dropped off the kids to spend the day with their dad. But as time has healed the pain of our failed marriage, I found myself wanting to acknowledge his continuing role in my life: the co-parent of our children.
I’ve decided to let go of things that disappoint me and celebra te what he means to the kids. They adore him and I believe that showing my appreciation boosts his confidence and shows our kids that they don’t have to fear they are “taking sides” by wholeheartedly and unreservedly loving their dad.
I am grateful that we are the kind of divorced parents who can peaceably go to parent-teacher night together, who can sit side by side at sports events, and who can talk without getting into the blame game.
Last year, I went through old pictures and made my ex a little photo album of our kids. He had very few baby photos because I seem to be the keeper of family history, so I knew it would be something he’d like. I felt I had reached a new place of acceptance that I could look at those photos without feeling angry, sad, wistful, or any other negative emotion. Instead, they reminded me that we had two beautiful babies who will always tie us together. We aren’t married anymore, but we will always be linked through our children, and maybe someday our grandchildren.
Now I can wish him Happy Father’s Day and mean it, and I can look for ways to let him know all year that I value his role in our children’s lives.
If you like reading about families, parenting, divorce and tough decisions, please check out my novel Giving Myself Away, available now.