Monday, April 25, 2011

For Brad

My little brother and I had a number of years when we just didn't get along. The whys of it are unimportant -- we both made some mistakes and let some things take more space in our minds than they deserved and it led to us growing apart.

Thankfully we found our way past that, in the midst of his very painful divorce a few years ago. We don't always agree, but he is my brother and I will be there for him if he needs me, no matter what. I know he feels the same way about me.

The last few years have been incredibly painful for him as he has watched his children, who live full time with him, deal with the aftermath of divorce and abandonment.

This post is dedicated to him and is for any parent who is dealing with divorce and/or custody issues. I don't pretend to know how hard this is; I've never experienced it from the inside. All I know is that what I have learned from him, simply by paying attention to the way he has handled things, is good stuff. I wish every parent (including me) could be as patient and selfless as he has been.

So, Brad, this one's for you. I respect and admire the way you've dealt with this situation that was not your choice, and I wish you nothing but happiness and peace all the days of your life. You have definitely earned it.

Promises from a dad to his children:

I will always love you, and I will tell you that as often as you need to hear it. Or more. I love you.

I will not share details of why my marriage to your mom broke up. That is grown-up business. It wasn't your fault. We both still love you. That is all you need to know.

I will not badmouth your mom in front of you, no matter how angry I am with her. She is still your mother, and as much as I disagree with her or dislike the things she does, I will not be disrespectful of her in your presence, nor will I allow anyone else to be.

I will never keep you from your mom. If she calls you and you are not at home, I will give you the message. If she sends mail, I will make sure you receive it.

I will never keep you away from your mom's extended family or friends. There can never be too many people who love you. If they want to be in your life, and they respect me and my rules, I will find a way for them to see you. If they don't make an effort to be in your life, it is their loss.

I will not lie for your mom or make excuses for her. I will not condemn her to you, but I will not be a party to the promises she makes and breaks repeatedly.

I will make sure you understand that you can love someone and still be angry with them. I will validate your feelings as best I can and try to help you through your anger. I will listen to you.

I will surround you with people who will love and support you. You will know my extended family. I will be active in your school, in religious life, in sports or activities, and you will have many people to turn to in times of trouble. If I marry again I will choose a spouse who joins me in supporting and loving you.

If I marry again, I will make you a part of the ceremony so that it is clear we are all making a commitment to each other to be a family.

I will do anything to keep you safe, make you feel loved, and help you grow up to be a happy, healthy person.

Brad and his kids are moving forward in their life and embarking on a new adventure soon. I wish them all the best, and I promise to be there for them, supporting, encouraging and celebrating. It has been a long, dark night.

Here comes the sun.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:52 PM

    What a wonderful post - you have such a wonderful way with words Dear Daughter! Your Dad and I join in the celebration of "here comes the sun" and wish your brother and his family all that is good in life!