It has been a conscious decision in what I discuss with my daughters as to the divorce process that we are all going through. Pretty much, my rule has and always will be, let children be children and deal with childhood things. So other than when I announced to my daughters that their mom and dad were going to get divorced, I have intentionally not involved them in anything else. Occasionally there have been questions, but I have always answered them, “it’s a grown up problem and the grown ups need to deal with it.”
The only other time that I had any discussion with them was when I decided I was going to be relocating. For reasons that I will not discuss here, any more than I did with my daughters, I simply informed them that I would be moving far away. It turned out that they were quite excited with the prospect of having two homes, one in the cold north, and one in the warm south.
Regardless of custody arrangements and locations, there was going to be time for both of us to be without our children. And communication was and still is going to be critical. Any time that the girls have been with me, I have made it a point every day, that our daughters communicated with their mother either by phone or video. And the same goes for when the girls are with their mother and communicating with me. I make sure that I talk to them in one form or another each and every day.
Currently however, it has been quite a while since we have actually been able to be with each other. And it has not been easy for any of us. Not to mention my oldest is heading into “tween” years, and if there is one thing I have learned from other single parents, there is soon going to come a time when my oldest will soon not have “time to talk”.
But the other night, I finally had no choice but to have a talk with them, as my oldest was expressing a little frustration with having to stop with what she was doing just to talk to me. And so I told her why it was important to me.
“When Daddy was a little boy, as you know, my parents were divorced too. And my mom took care of me and my sister. And we did not live with our dad either. My dad actually lived near us too, but he made a choice, and for a reason that I will never know, only that he was sorry, he rarely saw us. Visits were rare, and he almost never called us. And this was a choice he made. I hardly saw him. I hardly got to know him. He hardly got to know me. He could only ever visit or call. But he did not.”
“But I have something my dad did not have, technology. That is why I do everything I can, every day to call you using Facetime or Tango. So that when I cannot actually be there with you every day, I can at least see you both, and both of you can see me. This way you will never forget me, or think that I have forgotten you. I know this is hard on both of you, and it was hard on me when I was a child too. And because I know how it made me feel, not only missing my dad, and thinking he had forgotten me or did not care, I promise you I will never let that happen between us.”
“That is why every day I will call you and see you. I will never sleep without hearing your voice, or seeing your faces. I love you so much, and I miss you too much. So until we can be together again, this is why our time on Facetime is so important.”
And then, as if knowing we needed to lighten up the conversation, my youngest, as she always does, broke in with her comedic relief. “Daddy, quick question. How does a goat keep its hooves warm in the winter? With kidd gloves.