She appreciates the kind of father her ex was and…still is.
If our trajectory—because our son is almost 21—ends here, then I’d like to let you know some of the things I’m grateful for as we loosen ties and go our separate ways.
Thank you for all your long days of work, hoping you mattered when you got home.
For all those weekends I needed a break and you had to figure out what to do with him to build a connection.
Then for the weekends you had him alone and navigated screen time, meals, and somehow getting him ready for life. Other than building a connection through play, I didn’t and still don’t always get what you’re trying to do as a parent. I am admittedly different than you are with an entirely different (not better, not right) way of engaging our son.
Thank you for having our son on your mind and in your heart. I’ve heard you brag on him, are proud of him, and believe in him. Thank you for that. We may never know how it lands on him.
Thank you for the times you tried to figure out how to balance making the money and spending time. I’m betting it’s still hard. I know you tried, and I thank you for that.
Thanks for the way you showed up even when you wish your dad had shown up differently for you. I honor your struggle and your commitment to be there for our son.
For the times you let him go—to Los Angeles, for a gap year—for allowing him space to sort himself. I wish I could tell you the ways you built a strong connection by trusting him to return, even in those times where you must have felt like you weren’t there for him.
Maybe you can’t see it because you’re in it, but let me help you see what I see now:
You are a role model because you were there for scouts and sports, and to celebrate report card days. He continues to seek out spending time with you; that’s such a gift. You continue to lay a foundation for a future that’s courageous and intentional—and in engaging him—that I believe will pay off for years.
That’s all he (still) really needs.
With much gratitude and respect,
Your son’s mother.