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Father's Day

How to Celebrate Father’s Day When You’re Divorced

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Since our twins started playing baseball this season, I have made an effort to learn more about the sport. I have also made many errors at their games, like screaming, “Good hit, baby!” which is apparently quite embarrassing.

I‘ve also learned to not contradict the coach’s directives, like yelling, “Run!” when the batter hits a fly ball. And when members of the other team tease our children, again, I have learned that it is better to let the grown ups on the field handle the issues. I want so badly to support our kids and to protect them from pain that I guess I get carried away sometimes.

Besides, with my recent divorce, I cannot help feeling that our kids already have one major strike against them. I struggle with a constant pressure to compensate for their father who is not nearly as present in their lives as our kids would prefer. I am overwhelmed by work, the house, and juggling kid responsibilities all by myself.

READ: After Divorce, Learning It’s OK to Ask for Help

So I happily toss around a ball with them in our yard, but I am not one of the parents pitching during the games. I know my limitations. And while I think I am a great mom, I firmly believe our kids need their dad too, and not just for sports and physics and the areas where I fall flat, but for the major challenges that they will face as they mature. Call me old-fashioned, a relic of times long passed, but I think they need a male influence in their lives to teach them what I simply do not know.

As Father’s Day approaches, I am torn as to how I am supposed to acknowledge (or not) the holiday now that we are no longer married. The kids tell me they are working on gifts for him in school, and perhaps that is sufficient. If only there were a manual, a book I could refer to like the numerous baseball books I have borrowed from the library to help me learn the rules of the game. My hope is that the children will spend Father’s Day with their dad as they should—and as our written divorce agreement dictates. However, should he have a conflict or something comes up, I will do my best to help them honor the day, not for him, but for our children.

READ: Mayim Bialik: I’ve Come to Accept a Lot About Divorce, But I Don’t Want to Accept This

At work today I called a parent to discuss an issue regarding her child. Once resolved, I said I would happily relay the information to her ex-husband if she preferred not to have to speak with him. To my surprise, she responded that no, she has an amicable relationship with him and has no issue speaking directly with him. Amicable, oh how I despise that word! It seems that every divorced person I encounter these days has an amicable relationship with his or her former spouse.

Though my divorce is recent, I cannot imagine a time in my future when I will have an amicable relationship with my ex.

Yet, the call today has inspired me. Maybe we too will find peace someday, if for no other reason than to be able to enjoy watching our kids play baseball from the bleachers together. So for this Father’s Day, I will try to do what is right by my kids and help make the day special for their dad.

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