If it was all about me, I wouldn’t let my daughters go with their Dad to see the fireworks on the Fourth of July. In fact, if it was all about me, I would have gave up a long time ago. I wouldn’t have fought for their relationship in the parking lot of Babies R’ US on Christmas Day. I wouldn’t have begged and pleaded that having a constant relationship with his kids was important, that down the road, he was only asking for depression, anxiety, unhealthy self image, eating disorders and abusive relationships because the first man in their life says “no thank you” like it was a third slice of pizza.
So when he asked to have them at the Fireworks this year, as my insides and selfish thoughts were saying, “how dare you”, I also had to remember that it’s been five years since he has asked that. “I’ll think about it,” I said, and I did. I thought how I would feel sad and that it wouldn’t be the same…that our family goes in five and not 3. But, then I remembered being a little girl myself. There were plenty of times that I wanted to see the Fireworks with my Dad, but couldn’t. Maybe it was because I was scared to hurt my mom’s feelings, or maybe it was simply because of time constraints or proximity, but I wanted those moments. I wanted to be with my Dad, so why would I take that away from my kids.
…So I asked them…I never ask them, but they are 9 and 6, surely they can decide what they want just by asking their hearts. I told them I would not be mad, that he would not be mad and to simply decide to do what they want to. “Why can’t we all just go together,” they both asked separately. “Oh honey,” I say, “in a perfect world, I wish that could happen for you, but you are truly blessed to have many groups of people that love you, and you get to experience them separately.”
My oldest daughter replies, “Well, Mommy, since I always go with you, is it Ok if I decide to go with my Dad?” A little heartbroken inside, I understand and simply say, “of course, its OK.” And I say it with a smile, making sure that she understands (they understand) that I do not expect them to choose, or to pick one over the other. Because they do not know why I have made the decisions in the past that I have, they just know that he is their Dad and that they love him…and it if it was all about me, than I would have not given them the opportunity to pick him over me…