Shortly before I became officially divorced last November, I recall hearing the term “Disneyland Dad”. The term immediately stuck in my head for a variety of reasons. I learned today my daughter will head to Disneyland for the first time in April. My ex-wife informed me of the news today and this has been in the works since last fall. I suppose now that it’s officially going to happen, I’m rather sad.
I can hardly recall the first time and only time I went to Disneyland when I was a child. My mom talks about it over and over as if I have fond memories of the event. It happened in 1975 when I was a ripe two years old. So you can see why I’d love to be there when my four and a half year old daughter experiences Disneyland for the first time.
It’s one of those firsts a parent doesn’t want to miss, but it’s the sad realization of divorce. I would do anything to be there and see her reactions to each princess she encounters while wandering the Anaheim grounds. Unfortunately it most likely won’t happen.
Each Friday I have lunch with my daughter. Today I wanted so badly to break the news to her about her magical first trip to Disneyland. I couldn’t. I bit my tongue and said nothing. She did give me a nice big hug when I arrived today. She looked in my eyes and said “dad, I miss you” and that tore a tiny hole in my fragile heart. It’s hard enough that I don’t get to see her more than a 3-4 days a week, but to hear her say she misses me is rough. It’s not like I’m gone or a deadbeat dad, we split custody 50/50.
This is the part of divorce with a child in the mix that’s utterly gut-wrenching. This post is a bit raw, but it’s how I felt earlier today and decided I needed an outlet for my feelings.