Father’s Day

Yesterday I woke at 5 for some inexplicable reason, and went for a run.

Oh, I know why I woke early! I was excited.

The plan was to visit the children at 8.00am but I got there a bit earlier, with croissants for my children and ex-wife. They wereย  awake and I did breakfast duties so my ex-wife could sleep for longer.

I don’t have much of an idea about Father’s Day. For me, any time I spend with my children is special. As a child I grew up without a father, so my mum was both things to me, I guess. I just saw her as my mum, and a parent, and the father side of it wasn’t important as, he just wasn’t around. What was a dad? A father? That’s what other people had.

Perhaps I owe her a father’s day card. Or 40.

The children gave me with my present and card, we had breakfast and went to the playground. I was back in the SAHD-dle, so to speak and loving it. T was happy. He said that the house had him ‘in it, K****, and mummy and daddy’. He said he was glad I was back and said ‘Hooray’ and ‘Yay’ and asked me to stay. I told him I couldn’t stay as I lived somewhere else now.

The first Fathers Day that had any relevance to me was in 2008. Sunday June 15th to be exact. My wife suspected she was pregnant and did the test that morning. It came up positive within seconds. So that was that. She’d book a doctor’s appointment. The thing came up positive and, oh my god, oh my fucking god, we’re going to have our first baby together and be a family. Hopefully. ‘Happy Father’s Day’ she said to me.

We lunched and played ‘pretend sleeping’ on the living room rug. T said I could share his blanket and his pillow, a cushion. My big head alongside his small one. Then T would stand up and shout ‘WAKEY WAKEY RISE AND SHININGS!’ so, reader, there was no possibility of a nap that day. Not that I wanted one.

We left the house and got in the car. T was happy. He said that the car had him in it, K****, and mummy and daddy. He said he was glad I was sitting nicely in my car seat, and that I was a good boy.

Fuck. T still sees us a unit. A foursome. He’s happy when he exclaims this. Does he want this to be the way? It’s not any more. But does he feel happiest when it’s the four of us? Fuck. Does he?

We went to the local Open Farm Sunday as we’ve done for the previous two years. This year though the dynamic’s changed and it was two parents with their two children, not one family unit per se. To the rest of the world it probably looked like we were a family. My ex-wife and I didn’t talk to each other so, yes. A normal family.

That was a joke by the way.

The drive back from the farm was a tough as the day was coming to an end. I had a feeling of something leaving me. K was asleep in the back of the car and T was reading his little magazine. It had cartoons and stickers. I watched him, carefully looking at the pictures and taking it all in. I wondered ‘what must he be seeing? What must he be thinking? What must be going through his head?’ Fun things? Fun cartoons and pictures. It reminded me a bit of doing similar. But I did this to block out stuff. I know I did.

We approached my flat and the car slowed down. I got out and T’s expression changed from one of happiness with his cartoons to one of incredible sadness. He cried out ‘Don’t go Daddy. Don’t go. Please don’t go Daddy.’

I tried not to cry and told him I had to, that I’d see them both again on Wednesday evening. I closed the door and waited, waving them off, seeing my son crying in the back of the car as they drove away.

During the evening my head was filled with their noise. Their chatter, their squeals, their joy. My daughter saying her brother’s name, her giggles when she realised she made me laugh just by pulling a funny face. My son’s cries of ‘Don’t go Daddy. Please don’t go Daddy’

I thought of Fathers Day. How tough is must be for those who aren’t fortunate enough to see their children. Single parent mums who do the role of mum and dad. I thought of others. I thought that I’m lucky as I could spend time with them. I also spent three great years as a SAHD. Not many people get to do that. Not many are as fortunate as me.

My aunt suggested I approach is this way. If things are tough and the children get upset, then remind them that they have two special places to go. One with mummy and one with daddy. Both different. Both special. Not everyone has that.

It’ll get easier, I know. All this. But leaving them will never be easy.

But, all in all, we had a fun day. Not because it was Father’s Day, but because that’s how we roll.

Hope you all had a great day. What did you get up to? Let me know in the usual manner, by commenting me up big style.

Oh, and thanks for reading.


25 responses to “Father’s Day

  1. I am lucky – I have a first-rate father who, like you, was a SAHD. I also have a first-rate father-in-law. Sadly on Father’s Day we learned that both are seriously ill. But then, thinking about how life will ne day be without them in it made me feel even luckier that I was blessed with both in the first place. Hooray for dads!

  2. Moo had some quality daddy time, but then she always does, and regularly. It’s just another day. Nothing too special. Like you say, whenever you see T and K, it’ll be special. Maybe we place too much significance on these ‘days’ and therefore increase the pressure on ourselves.

    Glad you had a nice day ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Tears – again. Thanks for a great post.

    After my parents split up, my dad used to say that missing each other was good, it was a good kind of sad because it meant that we loved each other very much, and we had each other to miss. It didn’t make it easier, but I can see it now.

    Your children will probably always see you as a unit – because you are their unit, regardless of where the parts of that unit exist.

  4. My Dad saw us every other weekend growing up and it wasn’t until I birthed two new humans myself that I realised how hard his drive home must have been every other Sunday. He lived just over an hour away. That’s how long my commute is every day to work. I often spend the drive thinking about my boys, at home with their Nanny, and how far away that hour takes me.

    I found being a full time stay at home Mummy hard, I don’t think I was all that good at it – certainly not as good as you were at being a SAHD – and I feel guilty about that when I drive an hour away. But I can’t even begin to grasp how hard it would be to be like my Dad and not be able to drive back 8 hours later, to have to wait another 13 nights before he could collect us again.

    We never understood it – we were so young when life became that life that we didn’t know any different. We spoke on the phone on Thursday nights and every other Friday we bounced around madly by the windows watching out for his car – I remember the day he finally told me I was too big for him to let me cling on to his leg the whole walk to the car (I would stand on his foot and he would pretend he was a pirate and I was his wooden leg) and that I was too big to sit on his knee.

    I ignored that last bit – 28 and I still talk to him on Thursdays and sit on his knee when he visits. I bloody love my Daddy.

    Your children won’t remember crying. They’ll remember being madly excited when you arrive, and they’ll remember all the things you do, and pretending to sleep on the floor, and all the crafting skills you passed down. They will remember laughing, and pulling silly faces, and phone calls, and knowing that no matter what was happening you will come when they need you.

    You’re a fabulous Daddy. Almost as fabulous as mine x

    • Thanks for your story, and thanks, as always for a wonderful comment.
      I’ll be the same me when the kids are in their 20’s. Silly and, always and endlessly, their loving father.

  5. You’d think being a lawyer that advises people about divorce and family breakdown I’d be used to stories about people’s children getting upset when one parent goes. But as a parent myself a tiny bit of my heart breaks every time I hear it. Sadly life is often one big compromise between what we want to do and what we have to do: the utopia and the reality.

    I know from professional experience that it does get easier. I also know many, many children who happily spend time at each parent’s house and thrive. The initial adjustment period is always the hardest for everyone.

    Remember that you’re their Dad. No one can ever change that. Big love. X

    • They are. A working farm opens its doors and you can have a mooch around. We made a scarecrow in a hoody, as ASBO Scarecrow. T chose the clothes. I was so excited.
      Interesting to see among the clothes was a perfectly decent pair of Hobbs trousers.

  6. Another heart wrenching post but taking the positives out of anything sounds like you had a fantastic day with the kids, building more great memories together

  7. I was two and a half when my parents split up. I used to see my dad every fortnightly weekend. I have no idea how he felt when they split up. I have learnt so much over the years and if anything happened where me and my fiancรฉ didn’t get on, I am going to make sure that he still has as much involvement with our daughter as possible and how much he wants. Hopefully that won’t happen. I was lucky that I had a lovely step dad too. Didn’t help my dad much though ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Have no idea where that came from but I shall leave it in my comment! :S

    You are a good dad. I think you are fantastic with your children. Lots of hugs. I hope it gets easier for all of you.

  8. I thought about my own father who died last November, told my two kids who are able, to contact their father, and wished Happy Father’s Day to my brother, who was surprised, delighted and amused. Glad you had a good day ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Nicely said as always. Love that you and your children’s mother can spend a day together. I commend you for that.
    Sending good thoughts.

  10. I have a lump in my throat reading this, I grew up not particularly wanting to see my father, more to do with his wife at the time than him. Luckily I’m in something of an oddity these days………a very happy marriage. My hubby got to spend the day doing whatever he wanted, no nagging!! (very hard on me) and our middle child made him cakes, I hope your explanation of 2 special places makes things easier for you and your children x

  11. Started feeling sad when I first read this, but seeing what an amazing take on it you’ve had should be inspirational for any single moms or dads (or those that are together, like us). Great writing!

  12. OMG, just in floods of tears here. Your so strong to have not crumbled when he said all those things to you. I think your aunt is right they have safe places with both you and your ex. Two places filled with love

  13. When me & my partner split recently there was an immediate difference in the children. G wasn’t sure how to feel as Martin’s not her Dad, LB couldn’t say anything as he’s only 19 months but he stopped kissing everyone and only have cuddles rarely. BB was unsettled but as he’s only 7 months you couldn’t tell much else.

    One day I took the children to visit him and while the others were watching TV LB came to us, have us a funny look then kissed Martin. Then me. He carried on kissing each of us in turns then pulled us in for a big group hug. People who say break ups don’t affect babies don’t pay enough attention.

    I’m a serial lurker so don’t comment much, but I’ve read a few of your posts and have really felt for you. Thanks for doing what you do ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I’m not sure that saying goodbye will get any easier, but you just have to rationalise it as you have done don’t you? Otherwise it’ll send you truly insane and no one needs that.
    My fathers day started when I was handed a crying baby at 5am ๐Ÿ™‚ We then had a chaos of a morning trying to just survive, but somehow managed to get control in the afternoon and even managed to rustle up a roast dinner. Pretty good Fathers day I reckon.

  15. Pingback: A day in the life of Mummypinkwellies | mummypinkwellies·

  16. Such a heartfelt post. It sounds like you have an excellent strategy for managing your feelings and your children sound all the better for it. My Father’s Day was spent at home with a teething child and a wife barely able to keep her eyes open. But it all came together rather nicely in the end. My 12 year old daughter doesn’t speak to me much so that haunted me that day. Excellent post sir. Made me go all wobbly.

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