While searching for good Father’s Day quotes and images, I repeatedly came across this one:
It invariably made me roll my eyes with the unquestioned assumption that the children’s mother is actually lovable to start with, and the unspoken but clearly implied attitude that the kids don’t in turn need to see their mother loving their father.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the quote actually does apply to Gary and his ex-wife and the children. Despite all the accusations, hateful name-calling, lies, and filth hurled at him and force-fed to the kids, Gary has never responded in-kind. Despite an arsenal full of truth that he could easily unleash, he never has. Maybe their situation has deteriorated, through no fault of his, far too much for him to show the kids that he loves their mother; but he is a good father who does not show them any hate for her, and it is horrifying how rare that is after a divorce. It is, lamentably, not a favor that is returned to him.
If the kids repeat something that is a straight-up lie, Gary will patiently explain to them that it is not true. But I have yet to hear him, out of the blue, bring up Crow, or put her down, or start ranting to the kids, filling their heads with feculence they absolutely do not need to hear.
We could tell the kids all kinds of things and not even have to lie. But why? We are pretty sure the kids are aware of much more than they let on. We are their escape from that insanity and upheaval. We keep it that way, for them.
If they want to talk about something, we are there. But most of the time, they want to laugh, play, smile, be free at our home…while they can, and before it’s time to go back.
The quote really should say, “The best thing a parent can do for his or her children is respect their relationship with the other parent”. Maybe tack on “…and shut the hell up with your jealous crap, and worry about yourself and your own endless problems and faults before bitching about the other person”, but I suppose that would make an exceptionally long quote that wouldn’t fit onto flowery and artist-y backgrounds.
I am proud of Gary and the way he keeps the kids at the top of his mind, top of his heart, always. It would be easy to retaliate, fire back after all the shit that has been said about him, but he knows that would do nothing but hurt the kids, so he doesn’t. The kids’ feelings and well-being are more important to him than a cheap shot at their expense.
It’s that simple. So why is it so rare?