They say hindsight is 20/20. Never before has that saying reigned true for me than when I became a married woman and a mother. My husband and I promise her the world and do everything in our power to make sure she gets it.
Because she's ours, she deserves it.
And then I think of my father.
My father loves his children, let's lead with that. He led our house with a firm sternness that stems form a place of the genuine intent on raising us right. I respect him and would never allow anyone to speak poorly of him in my presence.
But, and there's always a but, Garrett Riley was a selfish man. His passions came before the needs of the family, which is how we found ourselves void of electricity because he just had to make one more bet. It's why we had to sacrifice our weeknights and Saturdays in an unsolicited job promoting a bar that was on its last leg.
Just like us.
It's the reason promises to Disney World and after school skating parties were answered with a locked bedroom door.
I wish I could say that I was being childish, that all kids want things to go their way.
But let's fast forward to my first summer home from college when my father demanded rent money to stay in my old bedroom after he and mom split. When he told her we didn't want our cherished porcelain doll collection, but it was him who dumped them in a dusty mold ridden attic.
The summer of sophomore year when he told me to take a year off from college because he made no plans to help me pay tuition.
And when I married the love of my life, he complained about having to pay for the reception dinner, the smallest expense of the entire wedding experience.
Truthfully, my husband has played the role of hero in my life since we met, a role Dad (never Daddy) chose not to make a priority in filling.
I love my father, and everything we've been through has helped mold me into who I am today.
So I will not make promises to my children that I can't keep. I will honor their childhood and invest in their dreams along side my own. I will make them a priority over my career and as long as they are in my care, I will not require money in exchange for shelter while they still depend on me.
Best of all, I will help my husband in his constant pursit of being our daughter's knight in shinning armor until she finally meets her prince charming.
And I can proudly say that my father taught me that.