Today is Valentine’s Day, and I am filled with warmth, love, and gratitude for the man you are.
You have always tried to do the right thing even when it cost you dearly. You even treated me with respect and love after the divorce.
You made enormous sacrifices to give the people you love what was best for them. Not just our son, but even me, even after you no longer owed me anything. Those actions speak so highly of you.
Thank you for not using our child as a weapon. You never tried to manipulate me through our son, nor send barbed messages through him, and you’ve certainly never tried to get revenge via him.
You always encouraged him to love his mother and treat her with respect, as indeed, I have tried to do regarding his father. I made it a point never to criticize you (a few years ago our son asked why we got divorced; he honestly did not know), and as near as I can tell you have done the same.
When our son was young, I would send my sweet, tender boy to live with you for the summer — and six or eight weeks later, you sent back the same tender boy. He did not come home filled with resentment or asking for special toys because you paid child support. He did not come back treating me with disrespect or refusing to obey. We didn’t even have a tough time adjusting to my house rules as opposed to yours. I know that you, my ex-husband, get the credit for that.
Our son is not filled with resentment because you were not filled with resentment, or if you were, you kept it from him. Thank you.
You were and remain a wonderful father. The letters you wrote when he was little are such treasures, especially the colored pencil drawings that depicted what you wrote about before he could read. You have been a wonderful example in his life of doing the right thing. Of taking care of your family even at the cost of your own dreams. Of being responsible and showing up: for your relationships, for your job, for your family.
As a result, our son is now a fine, young man. I hope that you are half as proud of him as I am. When he was born, we talked about our goals for him. Do you remember? We wanted him to never question how much he was loved. We wanted him to be happy. And we wanted him to have integrity. Everything else — financial success, intelligence, marriage with children — everything else was negotiable.
I believe he has those things. I know he has integrity. He has had to make some tough choices, but he’s made them with grace and honor and wisdom. He chooses right. And as a result, he appears to also have some of the perks: financial success, respect from co-workers, a lovely partner who appears to adore him, etc.
In short, he is a good man. I am very proud to be the mother of a man who is just like his father (and maybe a tiny bit like his mother also, but only in the good ways).