There are few times where I have been envious of my married friends. I have been there, done that.
Twice. I am not in any hurry to do that again.
I think I have done rather well as a single father. In fact, I have no doubt that I am a much better father as a single parent than I ever was when I was married.
As a single father, I never walk on egg shells worried that I will upset or disappoint their mother, never worry about someone correcting my parental skills, never have my children see me argue with their mother like we did all too often when we were together, nor have they asked what I said or did to their mom when they see me in the morning sleeping on the couch.
I am certainly not a perfect parent. I have and will again get upset with my girls. When I do get upset, I tend to yell and there is no confusion that Dad is mad. However, after a few minutes, my girls and I are right back to our normal routine of being goofy together and having a good time.
They adore me and I them. I can’t even begin to describe how thankful and fortunate I am to have them in my life. I also can’t imagine that any of us could be any happier than we are now.
However, this afternoon while grabbing some groceries with my girls in tow, I saw something that made me wonder if my girls are being cheated by their mother and I no longer together.
Walking down an aisle in the store, a family of four crossed our path and I stopped and watched them interact with each other.
The father was pushing a cart with a toddler girl facing him firmly fastened in the seat. The two were cooing and cawing with each other with big grins on their faces. Nothing could distract the two of them as they were obviously having fun making funny noises and faces.
A few feet in front of the two, the mother was pointing out canned vegetables to her son who looked to be the same age as my kindergarten-age daughter. She was telling him the importance of eating healthy and he was asking questions about various kinds of vegetables.
After he picked out a couples cans, the mother grabbed them, turned around, and walked back to her husband and younger daughter at the cart. She placed them inside and then kissed both husband and daughter. She then gave them the sweetest, kindest smile as she walked back to the front with her son.
Seeing this, I could not help but wonder if my girls would ever know what a normal, healthy, loving relationship between two adults is about. I grew up with divorced parents and never saw either of them in a good relationship in the eight years that I went back and forth between the two.
I have to believe that has had a big effect on my own inability to make a marriage work. The last thing I want is my girls later in life to struggle over and over again in relationships like their parents.
Continuing to watch them, Savannah brought me back to my own family.
“Dad? What are you doing?”
“Why are you just standing there looking at them?”
“Sorry babe. I was just watching them. They look happy together.”
“Yep. But, not as happy we will be when get home and get in the pool. We are always happy when you go swimming with us.”
She grabbed my hand and we headed back to Shelby, Alani and our own cart of food that we would be cooking later with their older sister Kern. May not be the ideal family, but it is our family.
Savannah was right. When we do things like swim together, we are happy.
And, I don’t need to be married to their mother to do that.