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I’m blessed. I say it as often as I am reminded of my situation, and thankfully that’s often. I have three incredible kids and a truly decent relationship with my ex-husband, their father. It is heartbreaking when I witness yet another child suffering in a divorce gone wrong. The reasons for a divorce, unless it involves abuse or addiction, are almost irrelevant. A mother is still a mother even if she was a total bitch to you. A father is still a father even if he’s an asshole. When a couple decides that being married is more harmful to the children and themselves than staying together, it’s important for them to maintain the ultimate goal, which is to love your children and treat them with kindness and respect. Don’t promise your child that you will come to watch his team play in the semi-finals and then not show up. Don’t promise your innocent kid that you will take her to Disney World only to end up having “something come up.” Kids are incredible in their relentless hope of not being disappointed, even when it happens so often, but every time they are disappointed a little piece goes dark and before you know it, that light of hope that used to shine in your direction whenever they would see you will be long gone. You make the promises because who doesn’t want to see their child get excited or tell you how happy they are, but the truth is, the hurt of you not showing up or not following through is far worse than if you had just been honest from the start. Sometimes you just can’t make an event or a special occasion, don’t mislead your child about it, be truthful. A kid can handle you saying “Honey, I just don’t know if I can make it to your school concert (for example,) and I know that must be upsetting for you and I am sorry. I hope you take lots of pictures and tell me all about it as soon as it’s over. I love you, even though I can’t be there.” That’s not so bad! Yes, it sucks, but it’s way better than the let down of a promise unfulfilled. So to you divorced parents who may recognize themselves in this message, you may not always have a chance to make it right, to make it better, to make it up to your children, but they will always be your children, don’t they deserve you wanting to make it count the first time? And to you single parents who are doing it right and making the effort of just being honest and up front with you children, I applaud you and look forward to watching your children continue to shine that beautiful light of hope. I’m now going to go hug my boys and bask in their light and say thanks to their Dad who does show up whenever he can, and if ever he can’t, he gives it to them straight and they love him more for it.

Stay well.