My daughters are teenagers now; I will never, ever give up on being a part of their lives

I truly didn’t understand what life, the world, or anything meant until I had children and discovered how deeply I loved them from the moment I held them in my arms. The universe profoundly changed and I viewed everything in a different light. And that goes double if you have girls.

My daughters are teenagers now and although I face all of the usual challenges of being a divorced dad, I’ve always been there for them and will never, ever give up on being a part of their lives. Their mother is the custodial parent and therefore primary caregiver. I wanted more involvement, but wasn’t able to make that happen.

My worst moment as a parent came four years after my divorce when I found myself fighting to remain a part of my girl’s lives. Unfortunately, it was incredibly difficult to get a judge to pay attention or care. It ultimately took four months to get them back in my life on a regular basis, and four years to bring their Mom somewhat in line to allow continued unfettered access.

I try to stay connected to my girls, no matter what, and sometimes that means simply lurking around their social presence. My 16-year-old daughter is in Italy this summer and has been posting to Instagram. I “like” them regularly, but made the mistake of commenting the other day. I immediately received a text from her telling me that “Likes” are okay, but commenting, not so much. Instead of being upset, I’ve learned to adjust my expectations and was thrilled that she let me know how she felt.

Being a father transcends how we feel moment-to-moment. We have to remember that everything we do is being observed, recorded, and processed by our kids, and is important to their emotional development –– perhaps even more so for children of divorce. They’re always watching, and although they can’t truly understand and process it all now, our interactions are being stored for future analysis, and will affect the way they view the world, to say nothing of how they ultimately live in it.

When I see them married and have children of their own in the years to come, I know they will feel my deep love in their hearts.

Originally posted at Purple Clover

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