Susan and Angela are pleased to welcome their fellow attorney, Philip Katz, as Guest Blogger to give a Father’s Day perspective on the resilience of children and what matters most.
He never came. I sat on the front steps waiting for him, kicking stones and examining my fingernails for what seemed like an eternity. My mother implored me to come inside, but I refused. Finally, as the sun disappeared into the distance, I retreated inside. He hadn’t come. Again. From age two to adulthood, I may have spent a year of time with my father, collectively.
Today I am a married father of two beautiful children that are the greatest blessing of my life. I am also a career divorce lawyer. As a child of divorce, do I feel pity for my past? Did I have wounds that could not be healed? Luckily – the answer to both of these questions is no.
Sure, I had issues to work through, and they were not easy. For a long time, the lack of a father’s role in my life seemed like a hole in the fiber of my being that I attempted to fill but could not no matter how I tried. It weighed me down. I had fears of abandonment, anger, sadness. But, one day I realized that this seeming detriment was an opportunity – an opportunity to decide who I wanted to be as a person, and to intentionally become that person. To some degree, this was simply a matter of a shift in my perspective and the intentional decision to change.
If you are going through a divorce, you may worry that your children will be scarred by the process; that your reduced parenting time with them will irrevocably change them for the worse. Yet, children are far more resilient than you might expect. In the midst of divorce, I see my clients struggle, grappling with these worries about their children and their own feelings from a changing role in the lives of their children. In the past, divorce impacted fathers’ roles in their children’s lives more than that of mothers. With the change in family structure over the last 20 years, this trend is quickly changing. The fact is, parenting for both parties changes. Regardless of the impact, you can be intentional going forward.
Growing up, I had the unconditional love and support of my mother, sisters, aunt, and grandparents. Each of these individual’s support and love made a difference in my life, which I didn’t fully realize until many years later as an adult.
This Father’s Day, instead of focusing on your changed role as a divorcing parent, I urge you to make the most out of your new role – make each moment special. It may sound cliché, but the fact is that each moment with your loved ones, no matter how small, is precious and carries an impact greater than you know.