This may sound like its coming from the angle of a single dad who doesn’t get to spend every day with his daughter…because it is. But even whole families with dads that can see their daughter(s) every day should pay attention too.
Be there at the benchmarks. At the important moments in your daughter’s life, make sure you are there. What constitutes a benchmark? Well, I’m sure it’s individualistic for most of us but I can bet these are true across the board: Birthdays, first day of school, first day at junior high or high school, first date, first dance, first prom, and so forth. Schedule and keep the appointments for these rites of passage.
If you’re like me and divorced with an ex that lives a sizable distance away, you might be thinking that some items on that list aren’t worth the drive. Think again. These are moments she’ll remember all her life, and you will have been a part of them with her. Letting work, money, or other priorities in your life come between you and the events that benchmark the passage of time in your own daughter’s life is about as brilliant as a two watt bulb.
Show up, man up, or as an acquaintance of mine likes to say “Dad Up”. If you’ve got any sense of awareness at all, you’ll realize that time is the most valuable asset you’ll ever have and you’ve got an eternal hole in your pocket that won’t let you hold on to it. So, when you have the opportunity – no matter how inconvenient it might be for whatever you feel is more important at the time – take every measure to be there for those moments. You’ll be doing more than being an “active father” and keeping a constant presence in her life, you’ll be making memories of your own.