As a highlydedicatedivorceddad, nothing hurts more than not being with my kids on their birthdays. Today is the day that we celebrate the birthday of my son, who came into this world twelve years ago, ironically on Father’s Day. Rather than bitch and moan about the obvious void felt on this symbolic day, I’ll pull a switcheroo and make this entry all positive, listing different reasons I can be still be thankful:
1) I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned as a father to my children. Sometimes I realize that, among other things, parenting has taught me patience; my children mature and develop on their own timeline, regardless of what I want and if I choose to push.
2) I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to be firmly planted in my children’s lives. This weekend was spent celebrating with my son, making memories with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and, of course, dad. Sure I am not seeing him today, but there are so many days that I am fully present in my children’s lives, perhaps even more than many fathers in traditional families.
3) I’m thankful that i have been able to witness my son’s development from a baby to a mere child to a budding young man. I’m excited to see what the future holds and will continue to be there throughout- not as a helicopter parent, pulling your strings, nor as a laissez-faire parent, merely allowing you to roam freely. Maybe I’ll find that perfect balance as a pillow Pop, always allowing you to run freely but being there when you need to rest your weary mind and body.
4) I’m thankful for your health. Nothing sucks more than having sick kids. I’ll take the flu or a broken bone or a stomach ache over seeing you suffer. I know that pain is a part of life and that it will inevitably happen, but that doesn’t need I want to wish it upon you. Your health is a blessing that is often ignored.
5) Yes, I am thankful for your mother. We may have our differences and have chosen to walk on separate paths, but I will always appreciate her commitment to you and hope that she honors my steadfast desire to be in your life.
6) I’m thankful for our little talks. Never did I think that the birds and the bees chat would be precipitated by the news that you had stumbled upon porn on the Internet (at mom’s) when you were around 10 years old, but that’s how it went down. After all, it’s 2015! And let’s face it, not only did we get to talk about the easy stuff (physical reproduction) but we got to fast-forward to the ever so juicy topic of the objectification of women, misogyny, and unrealistic portrayal of life in film. Pretty sure we’ll have to cover that talk again!
7) I’m thankful that I can still see you fall asleep at the end of many days, even if it’s not as often as I would want. You’re pretty darn cute when asleep and it will always remind me of all those times I put you to sleep, on my chest as an infant.
8) I’m thankful that you are still attached to me; even as you grow older the bonds that were built will always stay strong. Sure, you may be a tough city kid with a surly persona, at times, but you still tell me you love me often and rest your head on my shoulder in public places. Real men aren’t afraid to show affection.
9) I’m thankful for your sense of humor, even if it borders on just plain old being annoying sometimes. You’re funny and you make me laugh. I need that joy in my life and you bring it to me frequently.
10) I’m thankful that you accept me for who I am. Even though just a young man, your maturity often amazes me. I don’t know if it is the situation that you have been placed in that has made you mature beyond your years but, at times when I needed it most, you showed compassion and understanding that many adults lack. I’m so proud of your kindness.
11) I’m thankful for the way that you are becoming your own person. You are not mom, you are not dad, you are yourself. Keep on finding your individuality and pride. You define who you are and you control your future.
12) I’m thankful that there will always be days on the calendar- lots of them!- when I know that I will see you. We may not see each other today, but there will be other days. Still, we texted and you called and that means the world to me. With each passing year, you show that you view where I live not as some place to visit but your home.
I could go on and on but now is where I’ll stop. If this highlydedicateddivorceddad ever chooses to come out of the shadows then you, dear reader, would know there is a method to my madness.
Happy birthday, son, I thank you for being you!