At 20, when I became a mom, I had a very distinct picture in my mind of what a family should look like and what the mom/dad role should be. At 23, when I became a single mom, I had to let go of that picture. It took me a lot of years, though, to be okay with the new view of my life. It probably wasn't until pretty recently that I truly came to terms with the different roles people play in my children's lives and that it's "okay" for those roles to not fit in the proverbial boxes I had planned out for them. I was angry for so long at my ex husband for not playing the "dad" role the way I wanted him to or felt that he should. I realize now that at 21 years old he had a hard time figuring out exactly how to all of the sudden be responsible for other people's lives. He barely had his own life in control. When I remarried, I think the lines got blurred for him as to where exactly he fit in the picture anymore. After all, this wasn't how he'd imagined his life either! I think I spent years being upset about things not going how I thought they should instead of being thankful for the tremendous amount of love and support my children have been blessed with!! My husband is a rock. He came in to our lives and never treated my oldest two kids like anything less than his own. He brought stability to our lives and gave my kids the security of knowing he would be here no matter what. He also has given my oldest two the amazing blessing of knowing what it means to be chosen by someone. I've yet to meet a man I respect and admire more than my husband. He is big and quite threatening looking (which is nice in the feeling protected end of things) but when it comes to the people he loves, especially his girls, he's really a big softy. There's no one else in the world I'd rather my son take notes from on how to treat a woman. My ex-husband brings a breath of fresh air to my two oldest children's lives. He's funny, affectionate, and always fun to be around. My husband and ex-husband may very well be polar opposites as far as personality, but it means that the kids get the best of both worlds. I know my ex-husband and husband will never be best buds, but I have a lot if respect for them both when they swallow their pride and can do things like both be at birthday parties and both be referred to as "Dad," either taking on or giving up roles and duties according to what's best for their kids. Then there is my dad. Pa-Pa. I've always adored him and I've never once had to question his love for me. He's filled in the gaps for my kids over the years and there sure have been gaps on the way to where we are now. He guides in such a quiet way - in the way you can only guide without words. I know he keeps my family covered in prayer. His life is a legacy he's leaving for his kids and grandkids, although he's very humble about the role he's played. Both my parents are. But over the years I've come to realize how blessed I am to know truly unconditional love. And, my children know it, too. From every angle! For all the mistakes we make as parents, as humans really, if we can say we've shown our children what real love is and how to love others, then we've canceled out a lot of the bad. The failed marriages, the lost tempers, the things we look back on and wish we would have handled differently. Because "love covers a multitude of sins." Sometimes your love covers your own mistakes, and sometimes it is covering someone else's. God has a plan for each of us and to watch that plan play out in your children's lives is amazing, albeit painful at times. He has every detail planned out before we're even born, and we have to trust Him because He is the ultimate picture of what a father is: loving, consistent, corrective... Sometimes He has to give us more than one "Dad" in our lives to paint the right picture for us.