Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Divorced Father's Day

Just like Happy Divorced Mother's Day, the irony of the day when you have kids and are divorced is that you are essentially the one helping your kid celebrate their other parent -- that person you divorced.

For starters, there's the logistics of the day. The weekend in which the holiday falls may not belong to the dad. The kids might be fairly with the mom this weekend. In divorced families all over the world today, the kids are being shuttled from the mom's house to the dad's possibly, bringing up one more fight about custody, unless your agreement anticipated this. Whenever the "who's got the kids this weekend?" issue must be raised -- it's no fun for anyone.

And no matter how well you get along with that person you divorced -- don't kid anyone, they are not your favorite person. You DID divorce them, right?

So you have a moral dilemma and you must take the high ground for your child's sake -- to help your kid give your ex the best day, the best gift, the best experience on that special day.

And frankly, sometimes you are really not in the mood. Like buying gifts for this delightful person, while grinding your teeth, knowing your ex is either late on your alimony or child support, or has been up to some other nasty shit on your behalf.

So you just grin and bear it and some how muddle your way through, always focusing on your kid's desire to have a good day with the other parent.

But it's rough. You'll be shopping and your kid will say enthusiastically , "Let's get Dad the ------------ (fill in the blank with Star Wars Trilogy on DVD or a $100 gift certificate or A New Corvette) and you're thinking ... "Yeah, get him some new DVD's to go WITH ALL THE OTHER ONES HE STOLE FROM ME, YES, LET'S IMPROVE HIS COLLECTION SINCE 90% OF THEM ARE ONES I PAID FOR, and $100 gift certificate, right to match the $15 GIFT CARD THE CHEAP BUTTHEAD GAVE ME FOR MOTHER'S DAY, or right, A NEW SPORTSCAR FOR HIM TO MATCH THE OTHER EXCELLENT SEDAN HE TOOK WHEN HE DUMPED THE CRAPPY STATIONWAGON ON ME IN THE DIVORCE SETTLEMENT" (all fictional here, not the actual details of my particular divorce, BTW).

Weirdly, you manage to resist the urge to do something really shitty to the old man ... again, because you know that making life better for your kid is all that matters. You also have to come to terms with the fact that the better relationship your kid has with both his parents, the better your kid will turn out.

These happy holidays aren't so happy or easy sometimes.