Posted by Len Ramirez, Total Teen Dad | Posted in Total Teen Dad | Posted on 21-11-2010
Tags: growing up, Halloween, holidays, joy, separation
During Halloween week this year, I learned something about the process of growing up. No, I’m not talking about my children. I’m talking about me.
Halloween was fast approaching and my youngest daughter is at the age where I knew she would want to spend the holiday with her friends. I had gone through this with my two older children, but she is my last so I knew this would be a bit different.
As a single Dad, you split your time and you have a lot less time than a full time father to do the unique holidays for various reasons such as they don’t fall on the calendar date you spend with the children.
It’s always been difficult for me to give up time with the kids because the time I spend with them is already cut in half. I have tried to be real about the fact that they would grow up and would need to spend more time with their friends than they would with me. So, when they needed to attend dances, sports, choir, or an excursion with friends, I’ve said okay nearly every time.
This year, she had a field hockey tournament the day before, carved pumpkins with her siblings at her mom’s house, and had a friend she typically trick or treats with.
This year, I decided to take a proactive approach to the way I was feeling pretty terminal about the whole holiday. So, instead of focusing on the fact that I wasn’t going to spend Halloween with her, I focused on what ‘I’ was going to do to have a good time.
And so that weekend, I finished making my Halloween costume and attended not one, but two Halloween parties with someone special. And it wasn’t just good, it turned out great!
I didn’t worry about whether my daughter was having a good time or not – she always does. I very much enjoyed myself and really let go for the first time in years.
I realized after that weekend, that it’s not the fact that I didn’t get to share the holiday with her, but rather the fact that I was realizing she was growing up. Things were different now and there wouldn’t be a ‘next year’.
And that’s one of life’s biggest lessons, isn’t it? That we can never go back. That we should always enjoy every moment right now. That there is happiness after they grow up. And that there is even a time that when separation becomes joy.