I’ve been going back and forth on whether I should write this article or not. On one hand, it’s a family matter and maybe should be kept that way. On the other hand, that’s what my column is all about: life. My life, specifically, and if just one person can identify with me or take some sort of lesson from these words then it’s worth it.
I don’t claim to be the expert in anything… unless we’re talking about Super Mario Kart. I am the champ! Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, Star Cup — it doesn’t matter, I can’t be beat!
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, important family matters. Not to say that Mario Kart isn’t important!
My amazing antique gaming skills aside, I think I’m a pretty good dad. Which is funny because I never wanted kids. My mom likes to tell me “I told you so” in reference to just how much I enjoy being a father. I can’t take all the credit for my dad skills, though. I had some great examples to follow.
I had the advantage as a kid to be raised by two great dads. My biological dad did and still does everything he can to guide me along this adventure we call life. My step-dad also taught me the importance of hard work and being a father. In fact, he is responsible for exactly two thirds of my parenting skills. You see, two of my three kids are my step-kids.
I don’t like to call them that because that’s not how I think of them. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. Like when the subject of their biological father, and his relationship with them, comes up.
Unfortunately, that relationship isn’t anywhere near what it should be. Sure, the selfish side of me kind of likes not having to share my kids. But in reality these kids are suffering because of it. It is amazingly difficult to witness the impact it has on them.
I enjoyed a rare phone conversation with my wife’s ex this week. “Enjoyed” actually may be the wrong word. “Suffered through” would be a little more accurate. I try to remain positive in every situation. And while I was cordial and optimistic in our conversation, I can’t help but to resent this guy. He has two amazing kids that he rarely sees. I mean like twice in the past four years rarely. I think he makes it worse by constantly promising them that he’s going to come around.
Sadly, this is an all-to-common occurrence with many kids. Being a father is so much more than just having a kid. It’s a constantly evolving role. I face new lessons, challenges and adventures with my kids every day. I cherish every moment of it. I feel bad for the guys who don’t have that opportunity.
Still, some of them have the opportunity and take it for granted. I will never understand that. It’s more than just giving the kid a gift card every birthday or calling on the holidays. It’s more than just paying child support. It’s being there. Being a part of the child’s life. Being available.
As I said, I’m no expert. And I’m far from the perfect dad. But I am confident that I have earned the title. I feel a great sense of pride for that. I still remember the day that Nos. 2 and 3 informed me that they had decided they wanted to call me “dad.” No one told them to. in fact, I told them to think it over and be sure they wanted to honor me with the moniker. I’m glad it worked out that way. It makes me extra proud to know I earned it.