If divorce has taught me anything, it’s that a father can’t be all things to his children, and certainly not his sons. Even with the best of intentions, no man can possess every ingredient needed to nurture a boy into healthy manhood.
It’s been a tool of intimidation and means of control ever since divorce, custody, and visitation replaced love, honor, and commitment. It’s the dark fear of some and the angelic hope of others. Fantasized by many; dreaded by many more. It’s that day circled on nearly every divorced parent’s calendar when the law says kids can choose their custody.
In the spirit of reflection, expected this time of year, I typically look back on the most important events in my life over the last twelve months. And while this year’s list includes a new marriage, better job, and bigger house, what surpasses them all, in terms of its impact, is becoming a stepdad.
When it finally set in that I would become another marital statistic, albeit outlier – we were educated, from intact families, and financially comfortable, any one by itself putting us, demographically, ‘above’ divorce – one thing became very important. I would do whatever necessary to make my children feel at home in my new house as they would at her’s.
Age brings rolling avalanches of sentimentality. As the days in the rear view begin outnumbering those in the windshield, one starts feeling the draw of former things. For me this is most acute for anything to do with college. While some didn’t enjoy their college experience, though I don’t know a single one, for me it remains perhaps the most memorable four years of my life.