Divorce changes all the holidays. Even Father’s Day. And because Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, many of you are probably dealing with feelings of guilt and sadness about what has been lost in your children’s lives. One important thing to remember, however, as one of the contributors to the MDRcommunity said a couple of years back, “It’s not your responsibility to “fix” Father’s Day for your wasband. You’ve probably done that long enough.
How many of us always made sure Father’s Day was good for our husbands when we were still married … encouraging children to do things to make their father understand how important he is. That’s not your responsibility now, especially since your children are older. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for divorced mothers with young children to help their children express wishes to their father, but once your children are older, as many of ours are, that is their decision and their responsibility.
You need to be detached from that as much as possible. It’s hard, but it’s not your job to fix things that your wasband has brought on himself. Let him figure it out. Often our wasband’s accuse us of turning the children against him when it’s his own actions that have alienated his children.
Don’t fret if your children want to spend time with their Dad. Let them know that you are okay whatever they decide and however they decide to celebrate or not. Your children are struggling with figuring out all sorts of new issues, so make that process as easy as you can for them.
Sunday, concentrate on your own father … honor Your Dad, if he’s still alive. The picture on this blog is of my dad and one of my sons from 1998 I think. A few years back, just before my father died, I went to my hometown on Father’s Day weekend and spent several days with my Dad helping him celebrate. I got close to his face (he had macular degeneration) and I looked him in the eyes and told him directly just how important he had been in my life. Do the same for your father either in a letter or a phone call or if you can, face-to-face.
If you’re a God-follower, spend time with God, a father who will never fail you … or your children.
Here’s a poem I wrote at the beginning of my divorce journey. It’s in my Radical Recovery book under a section of poems in the back of the book. I think it’s appropriate.
Geese flying, honking overhead
Delicious chees ravioli, leftover from last night
Two owls talking to each other in their own morse code
Birds chattering everywhere.
Perfect, breathless, 65 degree evening on the deck.
The sun shining sideways through leaves … life-full green.
A spring evening of perfection, listening to the game, having a glass of wine.
Our youngest at a friends. Our dog at my feet.
A perfect evening ….. except
my husband loves another woman.
A woman who says her husband doesn’t understand and takes her children to counseling because they’re having trouble in school and they aren’t sleeping very well.
For three years, my husband has methodically, knowingly, callously destroyed our life.
I’m incredibly, inexpressibly sad.
But I’ve go to face the truth.
I’ve got to make my heart face the reality that he wants to share his live with someone else … and all my rage and tears won’t change that. And thirty-three years of loving and living together won’t change that.
I’ve got to give up trying to make him understand everything he’s losing.
I’ve got to give up trying to make him see everything he’s destroying.
For one thing … our grown up children can’t bear to see the anguish and the humiliation any longer.
It makes them sad and angry …
and they wonder if they ever really knew their father at all.
You can’t fix Father’s Day for your wasband or for your children. Your job this weekend is to take responsibility for finding good things to do for yourself, and if you have them with you, for your children as well. Go see your own Dad. You all will get through this. Keep doing the right things day after day, week after week, year after year and you will reap the rewards that are promised. Your children will be blessed as well! Here’s and idea if you can’t be with your own dad …. go to a local nursing home and ask if you can visit with some resident who doesn’t get many visitors. Take your kids with you if you have them. Just figure out someway to make this a good day.