I always find this day a bit tough.
Just a bit of background: my children’s Dad chose to walk away from our marriage and our children, when they were 11 months and 2 and a quarter years old, to have a full time relationship with a woman 10 years younger than me.
I find myself at this time of year, despite all the forgiveness and the fact we co parent so well these days, still feeling very conflicted and searching for grace within me, for this special day.
He is still their father and always will be, but it’s hard not to think about the fact he chose to walk away from them and, of course, me. So I have to dig deep.
He’s coming over later to see them and they’ve made him cards and both chosen a little something for him. It’s so important that I allow them to appreciate their Dad, as they are half him and half me and they love him.
That little voice inside me sometimes whispers that it’s almost like playing ‘happy families’, that he gets to come over and be fun Daddy, whilst the rest of the time, I have to do the lion’s share on my own. But I always squash that voice down. The children want to celebrate their Dad and they should.
The continual process of forgiving him can be a daily, weekly and monthly effort, when things rise to the surface. These days, it is thankfully perhaps every few months that I need to revisit forgiving him for something again and letting go again.
At the time of writing this it’s now 3 years on and we’ve come to a place of stability; the children see him consistently and I ensure I always speak well of him. The path behind is long and pitted in places but I feel like I’ve come so, so far from those awful times in the beginning.
As young girls, we look forward to settling down and meeting our prince; we envision being swept off our feet, having children and having this wonderful father for them. That dream is firmly burst on divorce and as mums we feel so guilty at times for the situation our children are in.
The grace needed to build a new co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband can be immense at times and my faith certainly helps me a lot but I know I am blessed to have two great children and that my ex-husband and I are amicable now.
Some children will spend today with their Dad at his house, which can be very difficult for the Mum, especially in the early days. Waving your children off to spend time with their Dad can be very, very hard, as it is so different from before and so different to how Father’s Day used to be celebrated. It’s such a strong reminder that things will never be the same again.
There are also many dads out there today who are in a similar situation and for them it can be far more painful. Their wives may have left them and they may not get to even see their children today. Perhaps they live in another country and won’t even get a card or gift.
Perhaps your children won’t see their Dad at all today, due to you leaving an abusive marriage, and that can also be incredibly difficult, as you grapple with the fact that they have no loving father in their life.
I do believe going through separation and divorce makes you a better person and you can come out of it a richer and stronger person for it. Father’s Day is just one day a year but it will always be bitter-sweet for many of us divorcées.
Whatever your situation today, try and spend it with people who love you and your children; perhaps other loving male role models, or your own dear Father. And most importantly, treat yourself. We’re all heroes. *Digs deep and signs off*
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