It is hard for me to write about him. In so many ways now he is just someone I used to know. Strange that what seems like another lifetime ago, he was the person I used to know best. This week would have been our 18th wedding anniversary, but instead time let 8 years slip in between us after our divorce.
With this time hurts have healed and now, to me, he is simply “their dad.” He is the father to our daughters.
Without him, I no longer have to argue the point of making the bed in the morning, I can just leave it messy if I like. I can now chuckle that his strength was not gift giving – like the Christmas that arrived three months after the birth of our second daughter and he gave me skin-tight long johns as pajamas. And most importantly for both of us, we are free from clashing against each other as we grew older and away from our 25 year-old selves leaving gaps in our compatibility.
Today, for me, he is his best version of himself. Despite our damaged marriage, the tie that kept me working so hard to stay together was that he was a great dad. He was different with our girls. He was light, playful, and so proud to be a papa.
His best qualities came to the surface when cradling our girls. He always came up with the best April Fool’s day jokes to delight them, he always pitched in wholeheartedly with parenting, and never one day have I doubted that he loves them with every ounce of his being.
For me it made the custody decisions easier – it wasn’t about what transpired between the two of us – it was about him and our daughters. Our daughters need him and love him and that is what it was about.
It wasn’t about our disagreements about finances, or our introvert/extrovert personalities challenging us any longer. It was about how we were going to show up for our girls. I knew that for him, this would always bring out his best self.
I have missed seeing him with them. My heart has swelled many times when they tell me stories with laughter and love about something their dad did. I wish I could have been there.
I know that our divorce was necessary. I know that he and I are both happier, healthier versions of ourselves. I know that our daughters have benefited from having more authentic parents. I also know that now, I only see him at his best.
Happy Father’s Day.