By Sylvie Griffiths:
I look exactly like my father. Thanks to modern facial waxing, I do not have to suffer his facial hair, but otherwise, we could be twins. Now, as a parent myself, I understand how hilarious genetics can be. However, my father and my shared genetics have not ensured a perfect relationship throughout the years.
My father moved out of our home when my parents divorced when I was around 11 years old. He remarried and divorced. He remarried a third time, and we lost my beloved stepmother to cancer. He is currently remarried. As forked and branched off as my family tree appears, many of us have similar blended families. More of my children’s friend’s parents are divorced than married.
I have realized, recently, at the age of 40 that my father will not change. He is a flawed human, as we all are, and this has given me great insight into my personal life. I am on my second marriage, and my husband and I have separated and were working towards a divorce. We have stopped the divorce process, though, and I realized my dad, informed this decision.
My husband and I have been together for a decade, married for seven years, and have four children who live with us full time. The day he moved out was one of the hardest days of my life. As much as I complained to my dad about my husband’s shortcomings, my father never said a word. My dad is not known to spare people’s feelings. His silence during these discussions became more and more apparent with time. He listened to me intently.
My husband is not the father I had growing up. My husband feels conflicted about being away from his family when he must work to help financially support us. My husband surprises our kids a million different ways; he is a big kid himself. My husband chaperones field trips every year for all four kids. My father himself is just different, not bad, but different in how he approaches parenting. He is less emotional and more matter of fact. My dad taught me how to be sarcastic, and strong, and authentic.
In talking to my dad about my husband; the dad to our brood, I realized my husband never came up short regarding parenting. My husband is moving back into our home this weekend. The last month we have taken a lot of time to focus on us as a couple versus us who manage four children, four pets, three jobs, and one graduate school program. My husband and I are working on us; for the first time in years, we are making our relationship a priority. I am happy and positive about our future.
My father and husband are very different from parents. They are as different as men. I believe my dad stayed silent because he respects my husband as a dad himself. I do not often ask my father for help or advice; I get that stubborn stoicism from him as well. But I am so happy I talked to my dad about my marriage troubles. And regardless of what he said, or in this case didn’t say, I heard his advice loud and clear.
About Sylvie Griffiths:
Sylvie is a happily married mother of four who enjoys writing, people and chocolate.
She is an Evaluation Associate and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Healthcare-Adult Community Concentration, from the University of South Florida. She holds more than ten years of experience in performance assessment and behavioral health services and is currently enrolled as an MBA student at Springfield College, School of Professional and Continuing Studies.