Snap-on Family | #MyFridayStory №56
I am the biological father of two children, a son of 26 and a 24-year-old daughter.
Becoming a father, twice, is two of my greatest experiences. And since each of their birth, I tried to enjoy and soak-up as much of every moment spent with them. Before I had kids of my own, I would hear parents wishing their kids were young again. They would reminisce about a time past. Like when their child was still only a little baby, or when she first started school, and so on. That made me decide that when I have children, I am going to try and be ‘present’ at every stage of their life.
That way I don’t have to wish it back because, ‘I lived it.’
Being a good dad to my children, came easy. My father showed me how to be an exemplary role-model to my children one day, through his own words and actions. Although I try, I have never come close to his example. But, knowing what a good father ‘looks like,’ gave me a head start. And although fatherhood starts off a little awkward, you learn as you go with much of it coming to you instinctively. It’s safe to say, you get better at it with time.
Coming from a loving home, with parents and siblings that care for one another, is a great privilege. The jumpstart growing up in such an environment provides, is immeasurable. Divorce or single-parenting wasn’t something we came across much growing up. But, by the time I was married with kids in the mid-90s, the divorce rate had skyrocketed. Children from divorced parents had to adjust to a new way of life. For one, they would live with one parent, while only seeing the other on odd occasions.
When I got divorced after 17 years of marriage, my children were thrust into the same turmoil. They would have a primary and a secondary residence, spending certain days of the week with me and other days with their mother. I got first-hand experience of how a divorce can rock the foundation of a child’s life. But I was determined not to let the divorce unsettle my children, as far as I could control it.
I met my ‘snap-on daughter’ shortly after I got divorced.
She had recently started high school. She was an only child, and her mom had been divorced for 10 years. Her mother had raised her on her own from when she was a toddler. Unfortunately, her mother and father were estranged and his involvement in her life was negligible. Fortunately, her mother had the love, courage and will, to stand in for his absence, with stellar results.
I am in awe of single mothers and how they manage to raise their children.
And as brave as her mother is, that’s what I see when I look at my ‘snap-on daughter.’ She never saw herself as being a victim of what was obviously not her choice. She chose rather to be the best she could be, at being herself. Her courage and determination to rise above her circumstances, is an inspiration.
As a ‘snap-on dad,’ I respect the role and consider it more than a title. In a world of broken homes, raising balanced children can be a challenge. Being a ‘snap-on parent,’ is an opportunity to bring love and caring where it may be lacking. Most of all, it is an opportunity to be generous.
As all ‘snap-on’ sons, daughters and parents already know, it isn’t DNA that makes us family, it’s love.
Have a great weekend!
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on July 26, 2020.