A single dad sent us a note this morning, which we are happy to share for Father’s Day:
I’m glad this website exists, and I want to thank you for running it. I can’t say I check it every day, but sometimes, when life imposes its will, it’s helpful to remember the good that surrounds us. I wanted to share a little story (mine, in fact!) that might resonate with some of your readers. Feel free to share or ignore it, but if it can help just one person, then that’s worth something, right?
I’m a single guy in my mid-30s. Dad to a four year-old boy. Got divorced a few years ago. Before that, I had it all: owned my own business, made great money, lived in a great place (it was home for me), had family around, ran around with an awesome crew of buddies, etc. Life was good.
Then, I got divorced. My ex is from a different part of the country, so as part of our settlement, we agreed to sell the business and relocate to her home (separately, of course). In a flash, all that I used to know was gone. I don’t work for myself anymore. I couldn’t blow off steam with my pals. Instead of riding my bike to work — along a beautiful river as my backdrop, no less — I now slog through a brutal, hours-long commute Monday through Friday. Worst of all, and for reasons that are incidental to the main point, I don’t see my son nearly as much as I used to.
I totally upended the fantastic life I lived, all to be with my boy … and for what?, I thought. I barely even see him now.
As bad as it sounds, I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just quit. Or run away, leave the country and everything. Anything but the present seemed like a better option than what my reality had become. I talked to other dads with similar circumstances. They got it. Some of them told me that I should leave. “You can always have summers with your boy,” they’d say. Some of them had left themselves, and gone on to put their careers, lives, etc. first.
There have been more dark times than I can count, or care to admit. At one point, not even that long ago, I could feel myself nearing a decision point: I was ready to opt out.
But I never did. I knew my boy needed me too much. Whether it’s how to follow through with his wrist when he shoots a basketball, the importance of hunkering down in school, how to treat people, you name it. I knew he needed his dad, and that I would always be there for him, no matter what.
So, what happened? What was the shift?
Well … against all odds — or so it seemed — I met someone. (We’ll call her “Angel,” because that’s really what she is.) Unbeknownst to her, and without her ever pressing me, she opened my eyes. Though she never said so, she showed me that I needed to get over myself. It wasn’t an immediate, epiphanous thing, but it happened. As obvious as it all seems to me now, I needed someone else — her — to recalibrate my head space. I’ve never been much of a fatalistic, “the universe is predestined” kind of guy, but I do think her entrance into my life, particularly the timing of it as I battled my lowest of lows, was a coincidence too hard to ignore.
I know divorce can be brutal. It can kick your a** and beat you down to your breaking point. But you can’t let it. To all you dads out out there who feel like I did … hang in there. Your kids need you too much. They may not know what you’re going through, what you’ve sacrificed, but they will someday, and they will love you that much more because of it. It will get better. Your “Angel” will come, too, in whatever form that is.
Happy Father’s Day.