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Fathers and Daughters: Divorce Affects Us Differently

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From the moment our divorce was in progress, I was missing the connection with my daughter. I knew I was going to lose the majority of her life as I was ushered out the door and into my single parenting life. We’ve both grieved about the loss. First, when she was 6 and 7, and now when she’s 17. We still miss having enough time together. AND, of course, she’s a teenager, she’s busy, she’s got her own agenda.

Daddy Are You Out There?

A month ago I was looking at a new Coldplay video called Daddy. It’s a lovely, and courageous song, by the man who brought us “conscious uncoupling” along with his soon-to-be-ex Ms. Paltrow. It’s a lovely animated video of a young girl in a boat. I don’t know anything about Chris Martin’s experience of the divorce, but the video shares some of the experiences we’ve both had at not being able to be there for our daughters. I was watching the video and then I was crying. You can find Coldplay’s Daddy HERE.

And as I was feeling into the story of the song came the lines

It’s okay
It’s okay
I’m okay

This song is from the perspective of the daughter. She’s telling the dad, “it’s okay.” And in the end, she’s the one reassuring the dad that “she is okay.”

My version of Daddy.

I knew after I watched the video that I had to go record my own version of this song. I had to own the experience of the song. I had to sing Chris’s words. I had to share the song with my daughter. I had to embrace the pain we both feel about the lost days with our family, and with our daughters.

I’ve put together a lyric video with some stills of my daughter during the early years of the divorce.

Sharing Our Pain With Others

Last weekend, my daughter came over to my house just as I was finishing the video. I had shared the song with her in it’s Coldplay animated form. But this time, she sat beside me on the couch, held hands with me, and watched the video.

And then she said, “Oh my god, my forehead is huge!”

We laughed for a full minute while the song played on the computer in my lap. We shared a moment of joy and a moment of our journey back towards each other.

I will probably never get enough time with my daughter. But as she matures, I am able to support her in a different way than her mom can. And I can give her the confidence to know what a healthy relationship looks like. Respect. Caring. Joy. We watched the end of the video, laughed a bit more, and then I made us dinner. It was a moment. And I look forward to stringing out many more moments with my daughter in our future together. (My son too, of course.)

By sharing my pain about the divorce, my struggles with depression, and my adventure to become the best dad I can be, I believe I am giving others a chance to feel some of their pain and loss through my story. By living through it, by persevering, and by continuing to live on the positive side of life, I am giving my kids an example for our to live their lives. Things don’t always work out. Plans will get derailed. Dreams will get crushed. And if we keep striving to do what’s right, if we continue to try and be nice and descent against the odds… We will thrive again. We will win, because our lives will stay focused on the good parts, building more good parts, while respecting and reflecting on the harder parts. That’s what I do. Tell my story, and then proceed on living the best life I can.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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The Bitch Media Review:
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