I have written a lot about being the best dad I can be for my kids. I try to do the best I can because I know how important it is for their sake and their well being. I also do it because part of me feels I need to make up to them the childhood I took away when I left their mom. I know it can be argued they are better off now because I am happier and my ex-wife is happier than had we stayed together, but there is still a sense of indentured obligation toward my children.
Hand in hand with those feelings is the desire to make it up to Alex, my ex-wife. Even though I was an okay husband to her, I look back and see now all that I lacked in order to be a great husband. They say hindsight is 20/20, and I think I see clearly now who I need to be for her going forward.
Alex called me today not long after I got home from the gym. She was on her way home and had just received a call from the security company that monitors her house. The fire alarm went off and the fire department was dispatched. I could feel the anxiety in her voice, and she asked if I could drive over because it would still be several minutes before she would be home.
This is where the decision to move closer to my kids continues to pay off. I was more than happy to jump in my truck and drive the 5 miles to her place just to make sure everything was okay. By the time I got there, the fire fighters had already left, and thankfully there was nothing wrong with the house. The note on the door said the false alarm was most likely caused by lightning hitting the nearby area. I used my spare key (yes, I still keep one) to check inside and inspect the fire alarm itself. All clear.
As Alex pulled into the driveway, I could see the look of relief on her face. I think I even heard her sigh while she was still in the car. The nightmare playing in her head was over and she could now relax. I was happy that I could help out in the small way that I did. In my mind, it was the least I could do given what I did to her 2 years ago.
That got me to thinking about something I saw on TV recently. It was a man explaining to the talk show host how the best gift he could ever give his kids is to love their mother. I still love my ex-wife and care about her deeply. She is a friend and a peer, and I am blessed that she has chosen the civil and cordial road with regards to our continuing relationship. I was reminded that the best gift I could ever give my kids is to continue to love their mother as a friend and a person, and if I am ever going to be a great dad, it starts with being a great ex-husband.