As many of my loyal readers have come to know, my daughters mean everything to me. And as a divorced dad, I’ve had to fight, and give up a lot, to spend precious time with them. I think many parents want more time with their kids—I’m not the only parent out there who has to juggle, or do whatever it takes. But I’m particularly thankful that in today’s age, “spending time” with my daughters isn’t limited to in-person time. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I get to spend very little actual time with my girls—which has been very tough for me.
Being able to watch them grow into beautiful, smart young women is a bittersweet pleasure. What dad doesn’t want to hold onto his little girls forever? As they grow more independent and reach out to begin their lives as adults in this world, there’s a certain amount of heartstring tugging that goes on. However, I’m very grateful for the moments I’ve been able to have with each of them, and also of the ways I can stay in touch and be involved in their lives.
Before the Internet, and social platforms, we had to rely on telephone calls and letters to stay in touch with our kids. Empty nesting really meant empty! But today there are so many opportunities to stay close to our children even as we’re letting them go. We can participate with them vicariously from afar via the simplest of interactions, including texts, seeing their social posts, and feeling a part of the interactions, even if we stay clear of comments as most of them prefer.
Sure, a lot of what you’re able to do also depends on the health of your relationship and your expectations, just as it does with any communication, but there are other ways to spend time. Just the act of thinking of my girls, holding them in my thoughts and remembering those special moments gives rise to feelings of love and gratitude. I think our internal “connection” with those we love has a lot more power than we think.
I guess the Thanksgiving lesson in this is the special “Return on Relationship” you get when you’re just grateful for the relationship. When you stop worrying about what you don’t have and what you weren’t able to do and just let go, wonderful feelings can fill your thoughts. You get to share more moments, both in-person and via other connections.
So take all the opportunities you can to make moments with your children when you can. Share memories. Be there when they want you to be there, but also be at peace with watching from afar. We have so many more opportunities to stay connected that we don’t have to smother our kids with “When are you coming home?” or “Why don’t you call?”
After all, pecan pie is all the sweeter because we don’t have it every day. When opportunities arise, be grateful and savor every one… and have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving, my favorite family holiday!