Several years ago while going through my divorce, and during my weekly brain purge with my shrink at the time, I was struggling with the possibility that I would never again see my kids every day, as divorce was imminent for their mother and I. I also remember feeling guilty that after more than a year had passed since my ex and I had separated that I had met a beautiful woman who had given me hope. As I was teeter-tottering with the emotion of it all, my counselour suggested that my new found love was God’s way of giving me a second chance, at being a husband, and an “everday daddy.” When those words came out of his mouth, I literally thought of hitting the guy, but I froze. I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, and I was full of both fear, and anger. I didn’t want to be an everyday daddy to some kid I’d never met, and I certainly wasn’t ready to accept the idea that this woman was sent by God, or anyone else for that matter, to be my life partner.
Well, it turns out, he was right, on both accounts. Not only did I fall in love with that strange woman, she quickly became my best friend, lover, and later my bride. And now, a few years later, but only a few short months from now, we’ll be bringing a baby boy into the world. My chance to be an everday daddy. Even as I write these words, my heart breaks for the child I do not yet know, and the children I miss everday I don’t see their sweet faces. A father’s heart torn, not for how I feel, but how my children may feel about this new addition to our family. Will this child close the loop, or create tension, possibly even jealousy. Both I think. Blended familes can be tough.
When my ex left, she took the kids and never returned, not to mention managed to keep our kids two hours from Houston. We’ve been to court a few times since then fighting over money and custody, but until the law changes, or she has a labotamy, the kids aren’t going anywhere. So, being closer to them, involves us moving, which has all sorts of implications. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t ponder the possibilities, but not unlike every other blended family, being close, doesn’t necessarily mean having access. Projections play clearly in my mind by marrying assumptions with experience.
So, here we are, five months pregnant. My wife is glowing, happy, and anxious about becoming the mother she deserves to be. For the past few years, she’s had all the responsibilities of being a mother, to children that only by marriage and the lessons they’ve taught her, belong to her. Yes, they are my children, she is my wife, but pressed together, we are a family. I’m working hard to accept some of the things I cannot change, and enjoy all the many gifts God has given me. My hope is that this child will bring our family even closer together. And I guess the reality is, that no matter if I am physically present or not, nothing will change the fact that everday, I am my children’s daddy.
I am an everday daddy!
Two and a half years ago, my divorce was final. After more than 12 hours of mediation, we had a settlement. Very simply, she got everything we had that wasn’t levered, the kids, and I got all the debt, and a 2 hour drive one way anytime I wanted to see my kids. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing, by buying her a house, not insisting on her and the kids coming back to Houston, etc. I was the one who had been unfaithful, so I “deserved” to be left with nothing but debt, and limited access to my kids, right? Since my divorce, I avoided bankruptcy, met an incredible woman, remarried, found peace, and in the process, discovered that I’m an incredible man, father, and friend. Most recently though, I decided to start fighting for my children.
Today, we are in court again. This makes the second time since we were divorced, and of course, over money and kids. It’s sad that two parents can’t compromise in order to avoid court intervention, but when two people truly believe that they are acting in the best interest of the child, it makes things quite difficult. I keep telling myself that to make it easier to process. It sucks.
Often, I want to sit down at my computer and write a blog that makes me look like a hero and my ex the villian, but honestly it would be a lie. I hurt her, she hurt me, we couldn’t reconcile, we got divorced, and now we have two incredible kids in the middle of what has always been a challenged relationship. Both of us are trying like hell to bring up our kids in a way that mitigates the deficiencies of our past and previous experiences. I constantly remind myself that the kids are alright.
So many times, children are the only victims of divorce, and with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, I say to you, all who will listen, my kids will not become victims. We will surround them with lots of love, respect, and SHOW them how to forgive, demonstrate grace, even when it is not reciprocated. Yes, I get angry, and frustrated, but when I see their sweet faces, full of innocence and curiousity, I want to be the man they need me to be.
For those of you from broken homes, I want to challenge you with a thought. The only difference between broken homes and blended homes is love, and remember, the kids are alright.