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The kids are with me for most of the Summer and I love it.  This year I’ll have them in two shifts.  They came right when school let out in May and will be here for 3 weeks.  We’re already in our last week of this first phase.  Then they’ll return to their Mom’s to go on a family vacation with her and it’s her turn to spend July 4 with them (as I had them last year).  Then, they’ll come back to me for about 4 weeks until just before school starts again in August.

I cherish this extended time alone with my kids and even though I fought tooth and nail to not have them move away I’m starting to recognize and appreciate some of the benefits of having them with me and being far from their mother. It allows me to be an actual father rather than just a fun uncle on weekends… but it’s still fun time.  I don’t have to do homework and such. I get to focus on the lessons and values I want to relay to them.  I still think regular weekday interaction would be better, but I have no control over that right now. So, I’m smelling the roses as they appear.

Here are the highlights of the beginning of our Summer so far:

  • My weekend trip with just 2 of my girls to San Francisco.  I love that their favorite part was when we saw a glass outside elevator a few blocks away from our 19th floor hotel room …and so we immediately went over to ride it at 10 pm at night and were treated to some gorgeous night-time views of the city!  We went back the next day to ride it again and see the view by daylight.
  • Hunting for the “Full House” house on this trip with my girls.
  • Getting an early Father’s Day gift and card that read,
    • “Dear Dad, You are the best Dad in the world.  Every time I go to your house I know I am going to have fun.  Thanks for flying me and [sister] out to San Francisco to see you. We were very happy.  I love you. You rule. Love Xxx”
  • Letting my 9 year think she really pushed me in the pool.
  • Being told,
    • “I love you. And I’m not just saying that. I’ve met my friends’ Dads and you are way better.”
  • Celebrating my 7 year old’s birthday and watching her genuine thrill at receiving a snow cone maker. She set it up in the entry-way and sells us each a snow cone daily.
  • Shopping with all 3 girls.  I had some money left over on a gift card and spontaneously turned into the girls section of a department store and they each got a new outfit and I spent the rest of the card on them. I loved how excited they were and how I was able to afford it…finally.
  • The kids have long wanted me to go on a game show…like Wipeout.  And I did!  Just this week.  It’s a new show and I’ll write more on this later when I can. The host, also a well-known host of a kids show even called the kids to say hi! It was a fun experience of mine that I got to share with them.
  • Spontaneous hugs.  Even better when it comes with an, “I love you Dad!”
  • Being able to leave the kids alone briefly for  an evening to attend a party with some new friends. The kids see that Dad is slowly getting a life and I love their independence and reliability.
  • Being at a place where I am truly happy that they will be going on a fun Summer trip with my ex’s extended family and having zero desire to be there too, and not feeling the slightest bit of jealousy that I’m not the one providing the experience for them.
  • Figuring out how to balance work with being a full-time Dad over the summer.  I had a day long business trip to make and a niece stepped up to help.  The kids loved seeing their cousin and I was able to concentrate on my job! I love my job and my kids.