Today is the first day since we started our visitation agreement that we’ve had to cancel on the little guy.  Hubby’s sick, and the little guy tends to pick up sick like pocket change.  It’s also the first time I’ve seen him fight and cry because he didn’t want to leave.  It’s the first time Hubby has seen him fight and cry because he wanted his daddy.  It was heartbreaking, but it was a decision that had to be made.  It took me a while to convince him that his son will not hate him for making him go home, and I can tell it bothers him still.  We’ve fought really hard for what time we do have, and deep inside it’s still not enough for Hubby, but it’s a start.

We knew there would be struggles when we started this visitation pattern.  We figured the little guy would cry for his mom and his toys, and he did.  We figured it would take some time to adjust to a new house with new rules and an entirely new environment, and it did.  Some of that anxiety still hasn’t worn off, and it will take a lot more work to make this routine, but we’re taking it one weekend at a time.

We don’t have the little guy overnight yet, and maybe that’s part of the problem.  As soon as he starts getting comfortable and relaxed it’s time to leave.  I’m hoping that as this arrangement evolves I can do as well as my father did rolling with the punches.

Today reminded me of when I was seven or eight.  I was too sick to leave home for Christmas, and I was devastated.  I was a little more equipped to understand that the little guy is at four, but I was still highly upset.  My dad came over and brought my presents, and we had dinner together, but there was one thing he hadn’t brought.  That was the year my dad had bought me my own bed.  After years of sleeping on a fold out futon, I finally had my own bed at his house.  He had picked it out just for me and set it up for me to find on Christmas.  Of course, I didn’t know that.  I was just upset that there was this special present my dad had failed to bring with him.  I moped for days until I was finally able to go see it, and I finally understood why that particular present hadn’t made the trip on Christmas Day.  I felt a little foolish for having been upset, but I was seven.  I wasn’t going to admit it.

I wasn’t much older than the little guy is now when I started visiting my dad and his parents.  It was a huge adjustment being away from my home, my room, and my mom.  I’d pack as many toys and dolls as I could and lug them to my dad’s house for the weekend and try my best to set up my room there to my liking.  I know for a fact I was difficult at times, and as I grew it got more routine, but there were always new challenges.  There were always weekends I wanted to spend with my friends or rules I wanted to bend.

When my mom passed away I felt that same uprooted feeling as I lost the home I knew for good.  It was an extremely rough transition for both of us.  I had to learn a new life and a new way of doing things, and my dad acquired a teenager full-time.  We had clashes because there were parts of each other we didn’t know very well.  We also had a lot of good memories, and it got me through some of the roughest years of my life.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was leave my father and move to Philadelphia.  I know he hated the idea, but he never told me I couldn’t.  He never told me I shouldn’t.  He let me live my life, just as he always has.

I know it bothered my dad at times, but he never showed it to me.  He never gave up on me, and I never felt like he wanted to see me any less.  He was always there on the other side when I stepped out of a bad attitude  as a teenager or off of a plane as an adult and back into a daughter he recognized.  He’s always supported me in all my decisions and lifestyle choices whether or not he agrees or understands, and he’s always the first one to remind me I can always come home.

When I look at how upset Hubby gets when he can’t see the little guy or when he feels he’s letting him down, I see how much he wants to be a good father.  Part of that means knowing how to make the hard decisions and sacrifices.  I know he wanted to see the little guy today just as much as the little guy wanted to see him.  I know how much it hurt to see his son cry and not be able to hold him to make it all better.  Today I saw my husband be a father. He told me later he wants his son to see him as strong.  To me, he was.  To the little guy, he always will be.   More fathers should be this way, no matter what the situation.  I’m really glad mine was.

I love you , Dad.

Go now, love your father, whoever that may be for you.