That got me thinking about something. What if we took that same trip this coming weekend – after my daughter already left? It certainly wouldn’t be the same. Then I wondered about other families like ours – those that have a child who’s a member of 2 households – and particularly when the households are in different states. How do you include the kids in your family activities when they’re often away with their other parent?
Over the past several years since the divorce, quite a number of life changes have occurred for our daughter: my ex-relocated to her home state with her; then our daughter came to live with me; then I got remarried; then our son was born. But these are significant changes and she had to adjust to each of them.
Through it all, I’ve done my best to ensure that with all the changes taking place around her, my daughter would always feel loved and very much a part of each of her households. So as much as possible, I try to plan special activities around her schedule. Special family getaways like the one last weekend are timed so that she can be a part of them.
I recall times when she would say, “All my cousins have their mom and dad at home; why do I have to go back and forth between two homes?” What’s a dad to say in response to that? Well, here we are years later and her perspective has changed so much. She appreciates the collective efforts by her mom and me to make her life as smooth and carefree as possible. Interestingly, last weekend while we were on our trip she said, “I’m the luckiest girl alive! I have 2 homes where everybody loves me. I’m here now having the time of my life and I’m going to my mom next week to have more fun.” What a difference in perspective!
Kids are a joy and a wonder. And those of us who have the privilege of being parents are fortunate. When our marriages and other relationships don’t quite work out, let’s remember that our role as parents is the role of a lifetime – nothing can undo that. Let’s do our best to assure them of our unchanging love – both by our words and deeds. By including them in our activities, that lets them feel valued and appreciated. And that’s what parenthood is all about.
The Upbeat Dad
About the Author
Rodrick Walters is a professional speaker and the founder of The Upbeat Dad, an organization whose mission is to advocate the positive effect that fathers can have on children’s lives. His daily blog is read by thousands of individuals from all over the world. Readers of the blog are fathers, mothers and children who support the view that kids are better off when both parents are involved in their lives. Rodrick went through a bitter divorce in 2001, during which he saw first-hand the impact on his then 3 year old daughter. He has since given motivational talks to parents and children about the impact of divorce on families. He remarried in 2009 and is the father of a newborn son. His daughter, who is now 12, lives with his new family. Rodrick is a native of Jamaica. He and his family reside in Miami, Florida. Visit his blog at: http://www.theupbeatdad.com