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Being a Believer

Being a Believer

My daughters went to their
first concert this month and I missed it. 
Last December, their dad and I decided it would be their gift from Santa
Claus.  He was Santa this past year and
in charge of making the purchase.  I knew
all along I would not be accompanying them. 
I felt the sting when the initial decision was made, but I knew I had 7
months to get over it.

I also had sufficient time
to figure out how I would participate in some small way for this momentous and
fun occasion.  We went shopping to pick
out “concert outfits.”  I saved a good
coupon and waited for the right sale day. 
It was just us girls.  I told them
they could try on whatever they wanted and I was going to be the most patient
version of myself I could possibly muster while sitting in the Justice dressing
room chair.

My girls’ shyness about it
was a thin overlay to their excitement. 
They each tried on two outfits and within a blessed half hour the
selection was made.  The concert landed
on “my weekend” so their dad and I switched our schedule around.  I made one request – to have them for an hour
before the concert to curl their hair and take pictures.  He readily agreed.

Hearing their excited
chatter and anticipation swelled my heart. 
I took this picture and a few moments later their dad drove off with
them to the concert.  I went inside and
wiped away tears.  I should have been
going.  It should have been a family

As parents, we anticipate
and delight in the “firsts” for our children. 
From the first words and steps, to the first days of school, the first
teeth coming out, the first time on a plane, the list goes on.  We, as parents, feel entitled to be there.

Upon divorce, this is not
always possible.  One parent may make it
to Disney before the other, one parent will get to play tooth fairy in the
night while the other gets the report later, and one parent will get to take
them to their first concert and the other will miss seeing them screaming their
little heads off.

As parents we also know that
these little heartbreaks are part of parenting. 
It comes with the territory.  As
much as we want to, we cannot be there for every moment of every day. As a
divorced parent, we may fall into an Eeyore-like gloominess bemoaning all that
we miss out on. Our failed marriage surfaces again.  Feelings of guilt, anger, and sadness come
flooding back.

The next morning when my
daughters arrived back at my house, they were ecstatic to have a captive
audience to report every last detail. 
They got to relive and relish the moment.  I loved watching their excited expressions
and hearing what they liked best.  Their
dad missed it.

All parents will miss
certain experiences in their children’s lives. 
But parents should remember that their experiences will not be complete
until shared with both.

Angela Dunne