This might sound weird, but every year since I’ve been divorced, I get my ex a Father’s Day gift.
I put a surprising amount of thought it into it, all things considering. I want each gift to be special, meaningful and personal. We’ve done sock-of-the-month clubs, a hot-sauce-of-the-month club, exercise clothes, professional photo sessions and massage gift certificates.
You see, the gift isn’t from me, exactly. It’s from our kids.
My ex and I decided long ago that it was important to show our kids that we can be kind and thoughtful even if we aren’t together. And since our boys are little, they would have no possible way to show appreciation or thoughtfulness on their own. If they weren’t being taught, they wouldn’t even know where to begin.
We buy one another gifts for our birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I even get a gift “from my boys” on Valentine’s Day. I know that gifts aren’t everything. In fact, they are besides the point. The point is to enable our kids to be excited about special days. To have a way to recognize special people in their lives. The item and value of the gifts don’t matter nearly as much as the thought. And every gift comes with a homemade card, which is the best part of all.
This year, my boys get to be extra thoughtful on Father’s Day. They’ve made cards for their dad, their future step-dad, their grandfather and their uncles, all of whom are now dads. They’ve even taken the time to paint mugs for all the special guys in their lives. It’s taken weeks, if not months, to paint each one for this upcoming occasion.
I am proud of my boys and of us—their parents. It’s not easy raising kids amidst a divorce, but in spite of everything life has thrown their way, they are turning out to be pretty thoughtful. I hope this Father’s Day makes all the dads in their life happy.