Part of being separated means that I don’t get to see my children every day. Before the new living arrangements we would only get to spend two weeknights and every alternate weekend together. Fortunately we now get more time together and things are moving forward. One of the things about not having the children live with me full time is the fact that they will be exposed to the influence of other people and this has been the case.
I have been very fortunate in that I believe in myself and my ability as a father to my children. I am secure in the new dynamic and certain that whatever may come along the children know me for who I am and they know that I will always be their Dad. No one can challenge me for the number one spot. There is a connection that I have with each of the children that comes from a lifetime of loving and dedicated investment in each of their lives. That will not be undone. I see the look in my children’s eyes when they see me and they know that I am their father and that no matter what I will love them and have their backs. The unspoken cues that we share that are so often overlooked by the people around us speak volumes.
I am also very fortunate in that my ex-wife has a good friend who has been around since I left the house and he has an amazing attitude and solid relationship with both kids. Over the past two years I have heard the stories of the exciting things that they sometimes do. My son in particular has developed a close and caring relationship with him. It is evident when I see him with my kids. I have a complete sense of relief knowing that he genuinely cares for my children and he invests time into their lives.
I often hear or read horror stories of how a significant other mistreats children that are not their own. In this I am exceptionally fortunate that both partners’ who have taken on the role of “step-parent”, whilst the bio parent is absent, show love and affection to the children.
I am not jealous, upset or threatened by another man’s influence in my children’s life. In fact, I am indebted to him. He keeps an eye on my children when I am not there, he steps into the shoes that I cannot fill. He treats me with respect in front of both children and he expects that the children treat their parents with respect when he is around. He has good manners, he leads an active life and he has plans for his future. He displays the traits that I am happy for my children to pick up on. No he is no angel, I am sure he has faults of his own (as we all do) whatever they may be, but when I see him I see a man that has chosen to take care of my children when he is with him. So to him I say thank you.
The bottom line is I am not jealous by the relationship my children share with him. I am by no means threatened by the relationship they have. I actively encourage them to open up to him and communicate with him. I do know for a fact that both children speak very fondly of him and have a good time with him. And for me that makes me happy. When my children are happy and free to express themselves then I am happy.
Last night Tania and I watched “The theory of everything.” In it Steven Hawkins is physically unavailable to play with his children. What struck me was that someone else came into that family’s life and fulfilled a role that he could never do. This other man carried the children on his shoulders, swung them around on the beach and provided the resources for the children to live as children should whilst Steven sat trapped in his wheelchair. It struck me that when my children are not with me; they have that guy in their lives providing the space and opportunities for them to just be happy kids doing kid things.
So to my children, Dad blesses you. Go out, express yourselves, love freely and have fun, fill your life with good people that care about you. Do not concern yourself about Dads feelings, I know that you will never betray me. If I do my job properly I will always have your hearts, and that responsibility rests on me not you. Dad is always here, consistent, caring and ready to walk side by side with you along this journey called life. Let’s make this journey the adventure that it was intended to be.