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     I was a single mom for the first few years of oldest child's life. My son was my best friend, and he changed my life. I was both his mom and dad. After a few years, and against my better judgement, I married his father. We had middle child a few years into our marriage. It lasted ten years. I left for many reasons. In the end, I found my soulmate, and we have a beautiful family. 
     We live in a society where the courts attempt to force fathers to be to be in a child's life. My husband and I were awarded full custody of oldest and middle last month. This followed years of their bio father disappearing and having no contact with them. Before granting us custody, the court was still willing to give bio dad one last chance and allow visitation  if he attended parenting classes. Luckily, he never showed to plead his case. He has never paid support. He has no idea who the kiddo's friends are. He has never called on their birthdays. He has no idea what they look like. He has caused them so many tears because they felt abandoned. Yet, the courts thought it necessary to give him another chance to be a dad. He may be a biological father, but he is not a dad.

     Being a dad isn't about who was there at a child's conception. It is about who is there when a child has a nightmare. It is the person who teaches a child the value of hard work and family values. A dad is anyone who brings that sort of love into a child's life. 
     When bio dad dropped from the kiddo's lives, they both dealt with it differently. Oldest was very angry and turned inward. He never blamed himself, he knew his father was immature and it was his own doing. Middle child was another story. Since she is autistic, that came with its own issues. The upheaval in routine brought about an entire personality change. She began to blame herself for her dad hating her. It broke my heart daily. It went on for months. It was the husband who turned it around for the kiddos. It wan't overnight. There were many fights and tears, on both sides. The husband needed to prove to the kiddos that he wasn't going anywhere, no matter what. Eventually it happened, and here we are. 
     Happy Father's Day to all dads reading this, no matter the form you take. You influence our next generation and keep them on the right path. You do not understand how important your job is, and how appreciated you are by that little person. In today's world, children need to feel loved. You are doing a wonderful job. 
 


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