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Putting my child first

Today I’m just in the mood to reminisce and ramble for a moment.

Noah is about to turn five. Not to sound cliché, but these five years have really flown by. From the very beginning, I have done everything I could to put my child first, to never mess up as a parent, and to always keep everything in my own life in perfect order so as to give him the best advantage possible.

Ummm… yeah, right.

As it turns out, keeping my own life in perfect order hasn’t been something I’ve been very good at. One divorce later, I really questioned that. Two divorces later, there was nothing left to question. Perfect order became a fantasy to me. A holy grail of sorts.

Never messing up as a parent, that also wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Sure, since the day he was born I proudly exclaimed that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t secretly think I was that perfect parent. Then I yelled at him once for almost no reason. Then I tried to spank him once even though I swore I never would. Then I learned that sometimes I couldn’t give him the time he should be getting from dad. Yep, as it turned out, being a perfect parent wasn’t something I was very good at either.

But putting my child first… that is something I have come close to perfection with. I haven’t been perfect with it, but rarely a decision has been made in the last half decade in which my son’s little face didn’t immediately flash in my mind first, and I wasn’t able to base the entirety of my decision on what was best for him. And yes, that includes the divorces.

This isn’t to say that sometimes I didn’t make wrong calls. In fact, there were times when I would do something that I thought was putting my kid first when in all reality, it was probably the worst thing I could have done for him in the long run. Oh yes, I’ve learned some heavy lessons along the way.

But at the end of the day, I look at everything my kid has been through, I look at the champion he has become in spite of the challenges, and I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, I did a lot more of it right than I did wrong. Maybe, just maybe, a broken dad makes for a stronger dad, which in turn makes for a stronger son who will be able to survive the times life breaks him in the future.

Five years.

Kind of scary that as quick as that went, it will go again and he’ll be blowing out ten big ones on top of his birthday cake.

I wonder if I’ll be able to look back then the way I can look back now and know that I did my damndest. I wonder if I’ll be able to say, “look at all the ways this kid is stronger because of decisions that I made.” I wonder if I’ll be able to look at him then like I can look at him now and honestly think, I put my child first, every single time.

Oh, I’ll make plenty of bad calls. Every parent will because there’s no way they can see the future to know if their calls are good or not. Let’s just hope the majority of ‘em are good ones.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

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