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Distance.

Distance.

C and I have been together for five years. We’ve been through everything together, both good and bad. For the last two weeks, she has been with her mom in Florida. Sure, it’s given me a chance to work like a dog and try and make some extra money, but I’ve missed my girl. It’s the longest period of time we’ve been apart since she was born, but sometimes, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Now we as parents, particularly single parents, always worry about our kids. Whether they are with friends, at school or at the other parent’s house, we always worry. It’s especially true when it’s a child of the opposite gender. You know, the whole “daddy’s girl” or “mama’s boy” thing. Sure, it’s a stereotype, but here’s the reality about stereotypes…they’re based in truth.

Kids need distance though. Whether we want to admit it or not, kids need distance as they get older. We’re here to teach, not coddle. It’s a hard balance and most parents never learn it. Sorry to burst a bubble or two, but there are a lot of soft people in this world. It’s OK to be soft when needed, but you can’t be tough or soft all the time. Life is about balance.

So that distance is good with kids. Having C gone for two weeks was hard, but it was good. And mostly, it was good for me. We forget that as we work to teach our kids, they teach us so much more. It’s the student becoming the master.

More than anything, what kids teach you is what they want to learn the most. It’s the cycle of parenthood. She wants to know how to survive on her own, so she needs to know how to get along with a little distance. It’s hard on me, but if I want her to understand how to handle the hard things, I have to do the hard things first.

There are going to be a lot of lessons she’s going to want to teach me. She may not always ask, but she’s always teaching me the direction she wants to go. These two weeks have gone by faster than I thought but have been far too long. We’re going to keep teaching each other day after day. Let the lessons begin.

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