“A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.” ~Author Unknown
by Tina Ann Forkner
My daughter came home this week. Sadly, in the times that we live in I know I don’t need to explain to you what it means when I say she has been away all Summer. There aren’t any Summer camps for little kids that last more than a week or two.
As I wipe her tears, my heart aches for how much she misses her dad, but rejoices that she is home. I was a Daddy’s girl too. I still am. I encourage the relationship with my daughter and her dad because I think it is so important. Every child deserves to know they are loved by both parents.
In our home, we draw a clear line between the children’s sense of family and our past failings. I also have two step-sons and we simultaneously teach all three of our children that they are completely normal kids, but that divorce isn’t. We don’t believe in it, yet we are. We don’t even really need to tell them that divorce is a bad thing. They know it better than we do. They feel it every day. Going back and forth to visit their parents is never going to feel right, but that doesn’t mean they can’t feel loved by both parents.
I’m just glad my daughter is home. I love homecomings in our house. Of course, I know that while she is also enjoying this homecoming, another part of her is already looking forward to a future homecoming at her other home. This cycle will continue for the rest of her life.
To make things easier, we like to teach our children about the extra blessings God gives them as a result of their situation. It’s not their fault that they have two houses, so why wouldn’t God allow them some silver linings to soften the harsh realities of it all?
One of those silver linings is that there is always a homecoming to look forward to. Sometimes there is a cake to say welcome home, or a balloon, or special lunch dates at favorite restaurants. Santa always comes twice and after being gone for awhile, it’s not very hard to convince a parent to take you to the park or read you a story, and there is always the promise of a hug waiting.
We are always making up for lost time at our house. God has shown me the importance of time through all of this crazy sending kids back and forth. We can’t get time back, but we can strive to make up for it.
I do understand that spending time with children is not just for divorced and blended families. I’m not really saying anything new, but as a parent in my situation, the importance of spending time with my daughter has been multiplied. I like to think I would have known the importance of spending enough time with her had I never divorced, but the truth is, I don’t really know. All I do know is that I am reminded every Summer and every holiday of how important time is to our children.
I am not usually one to give advice on this blog, but since I’m feeling very sentimental today, let me offer a bit of wisdom that I learned the hard way. If you are a parent, spend time with your children now. If you are a grandparent, an aunt, uncle, or other family member, pitch in. Don’t assume that because they are living a “normal” life they are getting enough of your attention. Don’t assume that you are getting enough of theirs.
I think grownups should treat every day like it is a homecoming with their children. Buy a cake, make some popcorn, and just celebrate time together.