This is my seventh Father’s day. Yesterday driving along the lakes in Tellico, my two young boys next to me, it felt warm and home like. The inner dialogue, which I tried to silence couldn’t help but rattle off thoughts about love, and family – a narrative still fumbling and working hard to stick with me.

When my oldest son was born I remember promising myself I wouldn’t allow my family to split. Three years after its break up, I’m still very much asking the universe to guide me to myself without the foundations of my kids, and the idea of family, or what I assumed my experience would be like. And its ok…I’m not an unhappy person, quite the contrary, I’M ALIVE.

Not seeing my sons every morning is crushing. The little things, a mannerism, the soft smiles of innocence, the skipping, and tripping over invisible lines – I miss a lot of it. And it hurts. But it’s also an opportunity for my own life as an individual. Even when we have families and become parents deciding to take care of other humans, it doesn’t mean we give up on ourselves. We have to develop our own dreams and follow our paths to be good parents. Society will trap you into thinking what being a “good” parent means, but I’m looking to be there for my kids as a friend, and a father when they need that too. For me to do that I have to welcome them into my world by not subtracting from what makes it different. They want to know who we are as people.

The other day my oldest son said to me “its because you’re like a kid Dad, you’re like us” in response to my excitement over a character we were discussing or something. That made me so proud as a Father.

Being a parent is hard y’all. This isn’t a movie with an editing room. We mess up, we blow it big time, and in the aftermath we have a choice. The teaching moments come when we too make mistakes, and those are the chances for us to teach our children, to allow them the respect to be human by inviting them to our personalities so they can see being human has nothing to do with perfection, and everything to do with learning from being flawed.

For me, that’s what I’m enjoying – having the awareness to see our friendship beginning.

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