He arrived late last night, all eight pounds, eleven ounces. From my wife’s phone, I created a new text message with my favorite pic of our newborn son, and typed in my mother’s name. I wanted her to be the first to know. The text didn’t go out of course.
Our most joyful moments in life are those we want most to share with the ones we love, even when they are no longer here. However, there’s rarely a day I don’t think of my mom, and miss her. I’m not sad, but rather grateful to celebrate another beautiful and healthy baby boy, and know that my mother raised a man, who is raising four more.
We all wear many hats, and fill many roles, but those that I feel make up most of my identity is being a husband and father. More than anything, I want to honor and cherish my bride, be respected by her, while she feels loved by me. For my princess, and four princes; to be the one they forever look up to for guidance, unconditional love, and grace. I will fail, but only for a mile. Over the marathon of life, I will be the man I was destined to be. I have no choice.
I am incredibly blessed in welcoming Oliver Hart to our family. – dlh
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.
This past weekend, I spanked my son, which is one of only a few times over the course of his young life. It broke his heart, and mine even more. I lost sleep over it that night, woke up with it on my mind, and have thought about it many times since. I desperately wish I could have taken it back. He was over it a few minutes later, which adds to the many lessons I have learned being my son’s first time father. He didn’t hold a grudge, and later that night told me how much he loved me. He still smiles when I tell him he’s my hero; he is.
Like so many Dads, I only see my kids every other weekend, alternating holidays, and during the summer. I’m very sensitive to the time we have together being quality time, free of distractions, or worse, constant entertainment. We play outside, ride our bikes, go to the park, watch movies at home, and whatever else that allows us to engage as a family. However, I’m likely more lenient than I would be if the kids lived with us full time. I know how important discipline is, but don’t want our entire weekend to be full of timeouts, which wouldn’t be hard. We try to be as consistent as possible, but avoid spankings nearly altogether. I never want my children to be afraid of me. I was on the receiving end of a few spankings growing up, one of which still haunts me. I don’t harbor resentment, but wish I could have been there as an adult to protect the younger version of me. When I have spanked either of my kids, I’m reminded of how I felt at five years old.
Parenting is the most difficult responsibility I have experienced thus far, and the most rewarding. As my journey continues, I am hopeful that I become the man my son wants to be. Strong, meak, humble, loving, generous, and kind. I often feel as if none of those words describe me, but I’m thankful for a child’s grace.
I’m thankful to be part of a generation of fathers who desire to be more than bread winners, but instead, available, interested, engaged, and who most of all put family first. We are raising more than men; we are raising fathers.