By Melissa Ford
It's almost Father's Day and I'm feeling a little nervous, thinking I should text the kids and remind them to call you. I'm worried they'll forget, now that they don't live with us. I don't want you to be forgotten; I want you to be celebrated!
Vacillating between reminding them or letting it go . . . I decide on the latter.
Do I really want to try to manage your relationships or theirs? I don't. But the crazy-scared part of me keeps thinking, What if they don't call? What if you don't receive a Happy Father's Day wish from our kids? What if you feel bad?
What if . . . ?????
Then I pulled it together, thinking about how much I love and appreciate you, reflecting back on funny interactions you had with the kids (remember Tijuana?) or brilliant parenting decisions you made or when you and I didn't know the very best parenting move to make, but we reached an agreement anyway (or I handed it off to you and said, You decide).
Then I knew that the most important thing for me to do on Father's Day wasn't to text, e-mail, tweet or call the kids, it was to express my heartfelt gratitude to YOU for all the love, sweat, tears, fun and humor you've brought to parenting!
I'm forever grateful to you that . . .
* when I wanted to make things easy for the kids if they struggled, you insisted that they meet their own challenges head-on. You told me that those struggles would shape them by developing their competency and independence; those struggles would empower them.
* when I was scared you wouldn't be kind to them when they made mistakes, often I would be in awe as I watched you stand by them, encouraging and supporting them especially when they made poor choices as teens. Instead you would say, We'll work through this together. It will be okay.
And it was okay.
* when I wanted to you to parent more like me, you surprised me by parenting more like you. And it was perfect - just what the kids needed and what I needed.
I became a better parent watching you . . .
* when I think of all the dads in the world doing their very best to love and guide their kids, I'm forever grateful that you are the man I picked to be my companion on this parenting journey.
Happy Father's Day, dear!
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