I’ve had quite a few years to reflect on the effect divorce has had on my daughter. The first year was the hardest, but Madalyn seemed to be quite resilient. Her mother was consistently taking an active role in her life. However, over time, things started going downhill very quickly. My ex-wife became very unstable and began missing her scheduled visitation times, she changed residences over half a dozen times in two years, and she talked of moving to California with a man she barely knew.
The lack of routine and the thought of possibly losing my daughter to another state terrified me, so I decided to get a lawyer. It wasn’t long before I was granted primary custody. I believed it then, and I still believe that I was acting in the best interest of our child, and if I could provide her the stable, loving home she required, then it was my duty to do so.
It has been 8 years since the initial split with my ex-wife and even though it has been a bumpy ride at times our daughter is very well adjusted. Does she have her moments? Yes. Will she require counseling in her adult years? Yes. But I could not be more pleased with the young lady she is turning out to be.
I can’t take all the credit for the success because frankly I was far from the perfect parent and Madalyn loves to remind me from time to time of my mistakes. I honestly think that a major part of Madalyn’s success was the stability I was able to provide, not to mention the added stability and love of her stepmom.
I was as consistent as I could be in Madalyn’s life and I honestly think she knows I will always be there for her. I taught her to ride a bike, picked lice from her hair when daycare had an outbreak, bathed her in oatmeal when she had chickenpox, lost countless hours of sleep when she got the Croup every year for four years and was always there to pick her up when she fell. I am so glad I was there for her during all these times – I wouldn’t exchange them for anything.
If you are going through a divorce and you have children, please don’t get caught up in the hate. Let go of the selfishness and always having to be right. Your child has needs, and the more you are focused on you, the more their needs will be neglected. Both parents should take an active, responsible roll in the child’s life, but if that isn’t possible, please do what you can to be the parent that does – it will pay off in the end, at least it is for me.