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Parenting

Two Dads, One Roof

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My oldest Son takes pride in announcing to everyone- his friends, the librarian, the person he met in the checkout line- that he has two Dads. Two of them. One here, and one in California. He is the Luckiest kid EVER because he has two dads. He wants to know if YOU have two Dads, and if not, he wants to know if that makes you sad…. Because you know, he has Two Dads.

This week, he had his Two Dads under one roof. His California Dad flew to Germany to stay with us, because really, that’s the only way we are going to be able to pull off “Dad Time” when we live half a world apart. This has been the hardest week of my life. Not because I dislike any of his Two Dads. Not because we fight, not because of any reason really…. Other than I have no idea how to do this “My Son has Two Dads” situation.

I was the first person I know to get divorced (not like that is hard when you get married at 18- you’re pretty much the first person to do everything) and I have felt like I am walking in the dark. Our divorce was about as civil as divorces get, and we have succeeded in being kind to one another despite our down moments. The kids, I think, have survived without too much long-term damage, and I don’t think they are any more likely to be laying on a couch in their 40’s blaming me for ruining their life than any other child. It doesn’t make me any less afraid that I will ruin them forever, but I don’t think it’s the whole divorce thing that would do them in. (More likely to make them hate me- my knack for ugly sweaters and dancing in public.)

Before this week started, I marched myself down to one of the wonderful marriage and family therapists we have hanging around post here, and plopped down in her chair. I wanted to know how to make this trip easier on the kids, and how to talk to them, and how to make everyone comfortable with this Two Dads, One Roof situation. I don’t want to see anyone hurt. I just want my kids to be happy. Isn’t that all any of us want?

Well, the counselor looked at me like I have two heads (because no one in their right mind does Two Dads, One Roof) and wished us lots of luck. She recommended lots of talking with the kids, and lots of space for me. Then she asked us to please come back and let her know how it went when the week is over…. Probably because she thought it would be a train wreck, and I would need some Xanax or something.

This week has been the hardest week of my life. This Other Dad is a good guy. The kids think the world of him. I would never want to change any part of the way my life turned out. I learned so much from my “Starter Marriage” as the Other Dad put it earlier today.

This week, I have had to look at my life under a magnifying glass. Something about Two Dads, One Roof made me completely crazy. I learned that I am a completely different person than I was before. I have different values, and wants and needs. So much has changed. The person I am now, wouldn’t like the person I was then very much. The person I am now is stronger, smarter, braver…. And dare I say much better than the person I was then.

My life has become something amazing. Somewhere in the last 5 years, after all the heartache, and stress, and sleepless nights, and years of school and more school (have you ever been enrolled in three colleges at once? I have!), and working, and more working…. And being broke, and more broke, and working and praying and crying and begging for things to just.work.out…. here I am.

This week, I was a bigger person. This week I was exactly the kind of Mother I want to be. This week, I put my kids first. This week, I helped make sure they can have a solid relationship with BOTH their Dads. This week was so hard. But this is the week I realized that things worked out.

I have a husband who loves me. I have three beautiful children. Two of those children have two dads…. And two extended families. They have more people who love them than they know what to do with. My kids have a family who is dead set on making sure our mistakes don’t ruin them for life.

I could not be more proud of myself, and my boy’s Two Dads.

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  • Thank you for being a great mother. You don’t know me and I don’t know you but it is easy to tell that you are putting your children first. They will remember this as they age even though they will probably never know how difficult this may have been for you.

    My son is adopted so he just has one dad. That is me. It is very troubling to think about how many kids don’t have a dad. Your kids have two men who want to be in their lives. They are doubly blessed all because of you.

    Keep smiling and enjoy the nice weather while you still have it. Germany can get tough in the winter.

  • Heather, you are an amazing person and an even better mother. Those boys are so lucky to have so many people who love them so much, especially a mother willing to give up her sanity to make sure they are happy. You may have been a different person when I met you so long ago in Denny’s, but you were great then & still are. The best thing we do as mothers is provide for our children, and you have always worked so hard to do that. You have my respect and admiration. Keep up the great work. Love you guys.
    ~Sam