Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen

A Letter To My Ex On Father’s Day: I Can Appreciate The Dad You Are

Dear Ex-Husband,

You are the best father I know. When I fell in love with you, I knew you were the person I wanted to have a family with, build a home with, and raise children with. 9 years later, we are still raising our children together — but we are raising them in different homes.

I never imagined this for us. But the one thing I did imagine was having you parenting by my side, and that's just what we are doing. I am forever grateful for the fact that, even after we got divorced, we are following through with our goals for how we wanted to parent, and we are doing it together.

This Father's Day, I hope you appreciate how much we love you. Actually, I hope that every day, you feel the love that our children have for you. So I wanted to let you know that even though we are no longer together, I can appreciate the dad you are.

Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen

When I look at our children's faces, I see you. I see you in their confidence. I see you in how they approach problems and find solutions. I see you in their inquisitiveness, their wit, and their love of potty humor. When we first separated, it was hard to hear and see you in everything our children said and did. But now, it no longer hurts. Instead, it makes me proud. I'm proud that you are the other parent supporting our babies as they grow up, and I'm extremely lucky that I don't have to do it alone.

Even though we are divorced, I'm constantly learning from you.

For the last two Father's Days, you've had to share this holiday with a new addition to our family: my partner. You've handled this with kindness and grace. Last Mother's Day, I didn't do the same. I was adamant that it was my holiday with my kids, not a holiday for the kids to celebrate with your partner. I'm sorry about that. I should've been more generous. See, even though we are divorced, I'm constantly learning from you. I'm learning about humility and kindness, and I'm relieved that when I forget those things, you act them out, so the kids can see it, learn from it, become it. Thank you for extending love to the people I've brought into my life and into our children's lives. Thank you for sharing holidays, birthdays, and other family traditions.

Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen

If someone told me that 10 years after we met, that we'd one day be divorced with two kids, I would have been devastated. But even though our marriage didn't work out, our friendship was and is my favorite part of our 11-year relationship. You were my first real best friend. You showed up and continue to show up when I need help or just a shoulder to lean on. I've learned what it means to love your friends by watching you love me, in marriage and after marriage. The vows you gave me are vows you've continued to act on, despite the fact that we live in separate homes and have separate lives. You showed me that love doesn't stop, even if relationships shift and change, that love can still exist. Thank you.

Thank you for offering to take the kids on days that are mine, and not yours, just so I can nap or get work done. Thank you for always surprising them with me at school pickups. Thank you for never turning down a family dance party. Thank you for being willing to always put our children first, no matter what.

Thank you for speaking so highly of me to our children when I'm not in the room. You choose to focus on my strengths, as opposed to my flaws. It's so cute when the kids come back to my house and tell me stories you've told them about me: when we dated, when we were first married. Thank you for laying a beautiful foundation of love and respect, so when our children look at us, that's what they see.

Courtesy of Margaret Jacobsen

I knew you were going to be a magical father before we even knew we were going to have kids. But one of my favorite memories of you is lying on the bed with you while I was pregnant, and you singing different Beatles songs to my belly. I just remember thinking, "Yes, this is the person I will raise brilliant children with." It gives me chills when the kids put on their own Beatles records and dance around singing the same songs you used to sing to them before they were born.

Thank you for offering to take the kids on days that are mine, and not yours, just so I can nap or get work done. Thank you for always surprising them with me at school pickups. Thank you for never turning down a family dance party. Thank you for being willing to always put our children first, no matter what.

We are lucky to know you, to have you in our family. I'm so excited to celebrate you this weekend, and hopefully I will remember to celebrate you more than once a year. Because you deserve it.