Daddys and Divorce

Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there! And happy non-fathers day to those of you that have managed to take the proper precautions to prevent reproduction rather than abandoning an innocent and unplanned child.

I've said before my mom likes to get married so I have more dads than most. I have my biological dad, who is the greatest man I've ever known, and two step-dads who did an excellent job of directing, yet not infringing, which is a tough role for a step parent.

My parents divorced when I was five years old. They had been married seven years and together for a decade. Turns out my dad is a much better father than a husband, but hey, no complaints here. When I was young, in the 80s, divorce wasn't quite as common as it is these days. In my middle class, mid-western suburb I was the only 1st grader with "no dad." At least that's how the kids saw it. My mom had an even tougher time than me. The other PTO moms treated her like a leper. Like her divorce was contagious and may give their husbands ideas of greener pastures. If these same women had spent more time and energy on their own marriage, and less time gossiping of my mother's failed marriage then half of them probably would not have come crying to her over the next few years when their relationships hit the same fate. I digress.

For years my teachers and friends and friends' parents' would look at me with pity. I was the poor little girl with no dad that would end up on a pole someday. Little did they know I not only had a dad, I had the best dad. And instead of the pole I ended up on the bar. The state bar - pun!

See, I didn't see my dad every morning and every night. I saw my dad every weekend when I was young and every other weekend as I got older. Because I only saw my dad for a limited amount of time, this time was MY time. We played sports, went out to eat, saw movies, fishing, swimming, you name it, we did it. My dad taught me to ride a bike, drive a car, drive a stick shift, and how to balance a checkbook. We're still working on that one. When I was with my dad, it was dad and Disney time. No baseball or football (until he got me into it too, that sneaky dad) no girlfriends, or work stuff. It was all about me. My friends with live-at-home dads, they didn't get that. Little did they know - I felt sorry for them. Their dad's would leave for work without saying bye, come home late at night and go straight to the TV or bed. They never did the fun things I did with my dad. I assume their dad's didn't appreciate the time with the kids like mine did. I assume they thought the week night dinners and watching the game while the kids did homework was enough. Maybe it was enough, but I still think I got the better deal. This actually worked both way in that I got a lot of mother-daughter time as well, but we'll save that for another blog.

I deal with divorce on a daily basis. It's my profession and I love it. Many many people ask me how and why I can do this like it's the equivalent of dropping bombs on small enemy cities. It's not. I can do it because I know that while divorce can be an excruciating experience for a family, if handled amicably, it really can be the best possible outcome for everyone. My parents divorce was not easy for them, but they made sure it was easy on me.

The only real fault in my father is that he set my expectations extremely high. I do want children of my own someday and the man I choose to procreate with is going to be a great dad, just like mine. I won't settle for any man that is less of a man than my daddy. And daddy and his .44 Magnum won't either.