Friday, January 16, 2009

"...Because You're my Daddy"

Good morning again my friends. I wanted to write something this morning that maybe will extend a little hope. Yesterday I spoke of finding our hope and then throwing that lifeline to someone else. So today I feel the very strong urge to follow my own advice.
I know for me, probably the biggest fear I had in the years immediately following my divorce in December of 1999, was the fear of how this would effect my relationship with my daughter. Few of you know me so you don't have any reference point or insight into what type of father I am. You'll have to take my word on it when I tell you that my daughter is everything to me. I live my life with two things in mind: Does this please God? and How will this effect my daughter?
Well, my ex wife met the man she is married to now, about 3 years after we divorced.
I will avoid telling stories on anyone and simply say I don't care for this guy and he feels the same way. However, I will run the risk of being a tad unattractive and tell you also that he deserves the opinion I have of him and I do to a far lesser degree, deserve whatever he thinks of me. He is a type A guy, who deep down inside, can't stand the fact that she is his first wife but he is not her first husband. They had a child together and it eats at him that this is his firstborn but not hers. He is threatened by my presence, if not by comparisons, than by simply the fact that he hates being second at anything.
That said let me tell you my story and give a big vitamin dose of hope.
When my ex wife married her husband in May of 2004, the weekend after the wedding my daughter came to my house for her regular visit. At dinner that Friday night I asked her about the wedding, not because I had to know any details, but I wanted her to know that she could talk to me about anything she wanted to even if she thought it was painful for me. She was excited to be in a wedding and I knew that. She also didn't want her mom to marry this guy because, as all children do, she dreamed of us reconciling.
She told me about the wedding and about the trip to Florida etc. Then she told me her mom was "Changing her name to XXXX, but I'm not going to." I asked her what she meant and she said her mom had benevolently told her that if she also wanted to take the new husbands last name she could. (I do not need to add any comment here) I was deeply wounded but I hid it and asked my daughter if she wanted to change her name to her moms new name. She looked at me incredulous and said "No" rather forcefully. I told her it was okay and I'd understand, not wanting to put her in a place where she avoided a decision to spare the feelings of an adult. She said "No Daddy...mommy told me I can call #### anything I want, and if I want to call him "daddy" I can, but I told her no I am not calling him that I will call him by his name ####" I asked her if that would be confusing because she'd be living in two houses with two adult men. (Hoping of course she'd say no, but wanting to spare her the hardship) then she said the most amazing thing. I said to her plainly, "If you want to call him daddy or change your name it's okay" She looked almost hurt. She refused again and when I asked her reason she said "Because you're my daddy, not ####!) The way she said it was like "You should know this!" I had tears in my eyes and many more flowed that night after she went to bed. Because I am the Daddy! I will tell you men that from that very moment, my ex and her husband lost most of the power they'd had over me. Beneath all the acrimony we'd come to develop between us, was the underlying fear that they'd change her love for me and I wouldn't be the Daddy anymore. I was as wrong as a man can be. I had properly invested myself into my child and I had long established that I was the daddy. She didn't want or need a replacement and she wouldn't abide someone trying. She was quite happy with the daddy she had, thank you very much!
Men...be the dads you dreamed of being before the divorce. In fact be better! Don't let this thing strip you of your fatherhood because the fact is, your child sees you as the daddy. Not some man who married their mom. He might be a great guy. Thank God for that. But he isn't Daddy. I used to worry about the things my ex was saying to my daughter about me. She would ask me sometimes and I would simply respond by saying, "You know me...do you think I could do something like that? She would always answer "No". it's hard not to defend ourselves guys. But believe me when I tell you that you have less to defend against than you think. Be the dad your children need and then trust God to uphold righteousness and integrity. He promises to do that.
YOU are the Daddy!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Craig. I've been tormenting myself over what life may or may not be like if my wife and I divorce. This post gets me out of my head and into my heart, where God wants me. No matter what happens to the marriage, the relationship with my daughter doesn't have to change by default. Thanks for the inspiring words brother.

Randy

CraigD2599 said...

Glad to help Randy...but you KNOW I (along with hundreds of others) are praying for total restoration...that's the better path. I know you feel that way too. Take heart my friend...God has used men of far weaker constituion than you or I!
I love you man...you have greatness within.