“An Open Letter To People Who Co-parent:
But, first a little story.
At pickup from preschool, my 3-year-old daughter’s teacher said to me,
‘Next week we are working on F-A-T-H-E-R-S (yes, she spelled it out) day projects. What do you want me to do with Jillian during that time?’
My face must have looked as unprepared as I felt for this exact moment. Because, the teacher quickly responded with, ‘Does she have a grandpop or an uncle or someone else special?’ I asked her who she wanted to make a present for. She picked my brother.
The plus side of being abandoned while still in utero is the child doesn’t know any different. She is almost 4 now. She is loved beyond words. There have been no real questions or mentions of ‘dad.’ The concept of a father is (very sadly) not part of her world. The choice for life to be this way was neither mine nor hers.
The downside of being abandoned, period, is you grow up and eventually realize you’re missing something.
I hate June. I hate Father’s Day. And, I hate Donuts with Dad. Oh, while were at it, Daddy/Daughter dances, too.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Probably too long, actually. I didn’t really know how to say this. I didn’t have the ‘right’ words.
I (think) I do now. So, here we go.
Sometimes marriages end. Sometimes relationships end. Sometimes it was a friends with benefit situation or a one night stand. It doesn’t really matter how you ended up in the co-parenting world.
In the end, I promise you, the only thing that matters is the co-parenting part.
If you co-parent with someone who cares about their child.
They call or text you or your kid ‘just because’ to check in or to talk to the child.
They know what school the kid goes to, what grade they’re in. They know when the first day of school is. Or, they know the date of graduation.
They show up to concerts, conferences, special events, sporting games.
They pay child support. Because they know it took two to make a child and the burden of financially supporting a child should never unfairly fall on just one parent.
They spend time with their kid. They WANT to spend time with their kid.
If you co-parent with someone who tries, actually tries. Even if you feel their trying isn’t enough.
THANK THEM. Today.
THANK THEM, again, tomorrow.
THANK THEM. Often.
I understand there is going to be (a potentially very large group of people) who are going to say, ‘But that is their job or their responsibility’ or ‘I am not thanking someone for doing what they’re supposed to do.’
Those people aren’t wrong.
But, unfortunately, people too often don’t do ‘what they should.’ Too often parents (of both genders) abandon their parenting job and responsibility.
If you can have a civil conversation with your child’s other parent.
If you can count on that person to do what they say they will.
If you can attend the same birthday party.
If they show up at Donuts for Dad or Muffins for Mom.
Please, realize how lucky and blessed you, and your child, is.
Please don’t take it for granted.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jacqueline Waxman. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Jaqueline here:
‘His 2-year-old sister hit him. ‘I don’t know how you do it, you’re so strong.’ If it was a husband, I’d be told to pack up and leave.’: Mom of autistic child says ‘most days are hard, not just quarantine days’
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