I became a single parent about ten years ago. Aaron chose to move to MN when our kids were 1 and 3. And it was awful. For many years I was bitter, and angry at him for leaving. There were things that came up that he should have been around for- first days of kindergarten, first basketball games, first last days of school. There are so many things he missed. Over time I learned that that was an “Aaron thing” ….that while he missed those things, I didn’t. I really had a lot of soul searching to do to learn that what really mattered was that someone was there for the kids. And though it was usually me- that was alright.
Aaron and I spent a number of years in turmoil. On again off again despising each other. We were awful to each other more times than not. I remember feeling a certain way on Father’s Day each year— feeling that I should claim the day as my own, because afterall, I was the one doing it all, right? And so I did….for many years. I owned it proudly- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day- MINE. Because I was the single parent, doing it all. Every. Single. Day.
Flash forward to the past few years. Aaron and I have had our moments, for sure. But when I went through my divorce a couple years ago- AARON was the one who showed up. He was the one who came to our house to handle things when I was a hot-mess-express. He was the one who told me it’d be okay. He was the one who took the kids outside to distract them from the mess that was their mom. Aaron showed up when I wasn’t able to carry on during the incredibly dark days of my divorce.
This if the first year that I’ve felt this aching guilt of the years that I claimed Father’s Day as my own. My kids have always had their daddy. And I’ve always had a partner to co-parent with. Oftentimes I let my pride direct my words and my choices when it came to Aaron. And for that I am regretful.
Today I truly celebrate the man who is alongside me raising these kids. Today I celebrate the man I call when my tween acts like I’m the worst human on the planet. Today I celebrate the man I text when I’m at my wit’s end with my whiny ten-year old son. I celebrate the only man who fully knows the love, frustration, happiness, despair, and reward of parenting OUR Lilly and OUR Anderson. I celebrate the man who contributed to the cute hairline of my ten year old boy, and the squinty eyes of our twelve-year-old daughter. The man who knows when Mama needs a break from both of these gems, and can fly across the country to stay with them so I can take a vacation without them. I celebrate the man who whole-heartedly tries his damnedest to keep the peace- even when I’m the most incredibly difficult person to co-parent with. He.Keeps.Trying.
So today, as a single parent, raising kids with a man who lives clear across the country, I am saying- HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the daddy’s who don’t see their babies every single day. My heart goes out to you- because it’s not easy, I am certain. And while single moms across the country should be celebrated for all they do, today is not the day. Today is the day to celebrate the man who is there when he can be- and who loves his kids beyond measure. The man who mama’s can text or call any time of the day to cry for sanity. The man who desperately wants to be there for his kids every single day, but knows the reality of what that life looks like- and knows better than to come running back. To the guy who is confident in his choices, and trusts that his parenting-partner is confident in their lifestyle choices as well.
Ya’ll, this isn’t easy. This situation doesn’t necessarily fit the mold. It doesn’t always make sense. And Aaron and I being friends definitely seems odd to most, but at the end of the day- we do it for our kids— so that they have a daddy to celebrate on Father’s Day, and a Mom to celebrate on Mother’s Day. We do it for our kids. And so today, do not celebrate ME or what I do for our kids on the daily… rather, celebrate a man who I get to co-parent my amazing kids with.
Happy Father’s Day, Aaron. You are an incredible blessing in our lives, and I am forever thankful that God chose YOU to be the daddy to our beautiful children.