The Civil(ity) War

By | Custody, Daddy, Daughter, Divorce, Fathers and Daughters, Parenting, Relationships, Teenager, Tips, Toddlers | 2 Comments

shutterstock_124904687-300x200There are two types of divorce – ugly and really, really ugly. (I should amend that statement since I have met one other person whose divorce was unbelievably amicable. But it didn’t involve children).

Truth be told, you haven’t learned the true meaning of compromise until you have dealt with a lawyer and the words “custody battle”.

Fostering a relationship between Grace and my ex is my job and one that I do not only because it is required of me but also for the fact that it’s in Grace’s best interest.  So I’ll stick to the high road.

Is it difficult? You have no idea. Does it take nearly every ounce of resolve at times to let certain actions wash over me and not let them affect who I am or what I do? Ask my stomach. It hates me sometimes.

But someday Grace will be old enough to discern for herself who her parents are as people and question their actions.  When that day comes I want her to be able to look at me with respect and approval. And some (other) day I’ll be “old enough” to be standing in front of an even bigger Judge and I’ll want the same look from Him.

So this is for you Dads out there who might have been handed the short, spiky end of the stick.

If you’re frustrated trying to be logical with those who have no use for logic, or if you’re dealing with someone who makes a living in the gray areas between right and wrong, or maybe it’s something as basic as not sharing a set of values or priorities. Whatever it is for you, hang in there.

What matters is to know, really know, who you are as a father and to be able to show that to your daughter in whatever capacity you are given – even if that capacity isn’t what you deserve.

Fight for your rights. Stand up for who you are as a father. Hang on with tooth and nail and spend every last dollar you’ll ever earn to defend your relationship with your daughter.

For some, the struggle to stay civil may last longer than the actual Civil War. So feel free to check back to this post when times get tough. You’re a good Dad. You love your daughter. Dad up and show her what it means to live with integrity.


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Never Too Late – A Daughter’s Story

By | Conversations, Daddy, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Growing Up, Guest Blog, Independence, Memories, Personality, Relationships, Teenager | One Comment
download (2)BY TERESA THOME

After all these years, I have decided I no longer need a Dad.  I need a friend.”

I wrote that, years ago, in a letter to my father. I was in my late twenties.  I had spent much of my life fighting with my Dad.  Too much.

While I knew I couldn’t repair the past, I could work to change the future.  I made a decision to write down everything I wanted to say to him, to be honest and clear, to put it on the table once and for all.

I did it for me.  What he did with the information would be his choice. 

I gathered all of my courage, asked him if he had some time to connect and I read him the letter. 

Some of my best childhood memories involved my Dad, but so did some of my worst.  It’s hard to articulate these difficult times without sounding trite.

My father teased me. 

He didn’t beat or abandon me.

He teased me.  Incessantly.   He would tease me about boys and my looks and whatever else was in the moment.  I would cry and beg him to leave me alone.  He wouldn’t stop.  I’d close my bedroom door and hide, and when I emerged, he’d start in all over again.  It was exhausting and painful. 

My father was also an “over-eater”, topping out at nearly 350 lbs.  Most of my tween years were spent hiding food from him and imploring, “If you loved me, you’d stop eating.  If you loved me, you’d stop trying to kill yourself.”  The more I shouted (and believe me, I was a skilled shouter) the less he heard and the less loved I felt. 

My father worked two jobs, restaurant and factory, for most of my formative years.  It’s hard to imagine that we even had time to fight. 

He did spend time with me and my siblings. He would take us to the zoo, museum or lake.  Together we would watch Lion’s football and listen to Tiger’s baseball.  He taught us to play poker. (I was rather proud, at age nine, to know the difference between a straight and a flush.) He bought us books.  Lots of books. 

By the time I reached my late twenties, I had done my therapy and started to grow spiritually. I was ready to get to know this man.  The man I had come to believe loved me all these years, just never knew how to express that love.  For my part, pleading for him to love me, usually came out as “I hate you” and “leave me alone”. 

As I read him the letter, he sat in his chocolate brown Lazy-boy wearing his standard uniform – a stained white T-shirt and worn out blue Dockers.  (This memory is forever etched in my mind.) While I read, he cried.

I was grateful for his tears.  I knew he was hearing me. 

He waited until I finished before he spoke.  He said softly, “I had no idea.”  I believed him.

“I’m sorry,” he added.  I believed that, too. 

We talked and talked and when the time was right, he challenged me.  “There were times I tried to reach out to you.  You shut me down.”  He was right.

I said, “I’m sorry.”  He believed me.

That day marked the beginning of a new relationship with my father.  We were both adults now.  We both had made mistakes and we were both willing to forgive those mistakes.

For several years following that incredible day, he would occasionally ask me, “How are you doing?  Are you sitting on anything?  Anything you want to say to me?”  It was mostly, “Nope.  All good!”

On one or two occasions, I did say, “Yes.  Let’s talk some more.”  Each time, I was met with an absolute willingness to connect and a safe environment in which to share my thoughts.   

It was remarkable that I happened to get the Dad that wanted to be a better person; that wanted to be a better father. And asking him to change required that I be willing to change. 

I believe that we are not alone – that there are many fathers and daughters who want a better relationship, but don’t know where to begin.  I say, just begin somewhere.   I am forever grateful that I had the courage to ask for change. I am even more grateful that I had a father who agreed that this was a relationship worth fighting for.

In my twenties, I asked my Dad to be a friend.  As it turns out, by asking for a friend, I got the Dad I always wanted. 

When he passed in June of 2012, I felt a profound love that I still hold in my heart today.  I look forward to sharing more about my pops in the upcoming blogs.  I know there is great wisdom, joy and more than a few laughs to come from looking at the life of this simple, beautiful, devout, dutiful, wounded, funny, tubby, loving man.

Teresa L. Thome is co-founder and Managing Partner of Fubble Entertainment. She co-writes and co-produces the Emmy® award winning web series

She and her partner are Executive Producers for LaughFest’s signature event having creatively produced shows with Betty White, Alan Zweibel, Martin Short, Kevin Nealon and Wayne Brady. Teresa also served as Executive Director for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for more than ten years. She has directed more than 20 theatrical productions in and around West Michigan.

She resides in Grand Rapids, MI with her husband, Fred Stella and two cats, Pickles and Simha. You can read more about Teresa here.

Teresa L. Thome ® 2013 All Rights Reserved
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Teresa L. Thome, and this blog’s owner, is strictly prohibited.

Put Down The “Flowbee” And Slowly Back Away

By | Activities, Beauty, Daddy, Dates, Dates With Dad, Daughter, Fathers and Daughters, Shopping, Teenager, Toddlers | 2 Comments

If there’s one thing single dads (especially those of young girls) have to learn quickly, it’s how to style their daughter’s hair.

Shopping for clothes? Easy. A basic sense of style and a day at the mall or community garage sale can set you up for an entire season or two.

Feeding her? Simple. Men, at least a lot of the men I know, are already pretty proficient in the kitchen and can avoid the Happy Meals by preparing simple dishes with actual nutritional value.

But when it comes to styling her hair, some men run away in “shear” terror. (See what I did there?)

Personally, I love it. But I may come from a background that isn’t common.

My mother had her beautician’s license and even though she didn’t do it as a profession, the smell of someone on the receiving end of a perm wasn’t a rare odor in our house. I learned how to work with those perm rods before I was 10.

I had three older sisters so the tangled web of hair dryers, clips, scrunchies, flat irons, and the rest aren’t foreign to me.

My ex-wife is a hair stylist so once again the terminology and techniques were ever present.

So when it comes to grabbing a brush or comb and putting Grace’s hair up in a quick ponytail, pigtails, or even a braid, I’ve got it covered. More than that, I look forward to doing it (even if getting her to sit still has become more of a challenge).

If men want to fully embrace parenthood and take part in the equalizing of the roles of a caregiver, they’ll need to put aside any machismo keeping them from styling their daughter’s hair. Don’t worry guys. You can still love football and beer all the while knowing how to pull off a decent French braid.

Daddy Daughter Time is hosting an event in August at Cheeky Strut salon in downtown Grand Rapids to help you out.

Full details are coming to the site and our Facebook Page very soon. We hope you can join us!

In the meantime, check out this alternative method of getting the perfect ponytail. It includes power tools to help ease you into the idea.

P.S. This product could save your sanity.




Dates With Dad: Daddy’s Little Girl

By | Activities, Boys & Dating, Conversations, Daddy, Dates, Dates With Dad, Daughter, Development, Fathers and Daughters, Growing Up, Guest Blog, Independence, Memories, Parenting, Personality, Quality Time, Relationships, Shopping, Teenager | 2 Comments

<Guest blog from Maggie Kennedy.>


Daddy’s Little Girl – that’s exactly what I was.  I had my Dad wrapped around my finger as a child and I am pretty sure my brother would still say I do.

The bond I share with my Dad is one that has grown over time.  Now, looking back, I can see my Dad really took the time to build this relationship with his daughter.

Since I can remember, my Dad and I have been doing things together, just the two of us.  When I was really little my Dad would let me clip my barrettes in his hair and would let me fake shave him (without a razor of course!).  Once I got older my Dad and I went to our first Daddy-Daughter dance on Valentine’s Day.  It was my first real date! I got all dressed up, he bought me a corsage and we went to dinner before the big dance.  We danced the night away with all of my friends and their handsomely dressed Dads in the local high school gym.

As I hit middle school I found it was not “cool” to go to a Daddy-Daughter dance anymore.  So, although it was Valentine’s Day and his birthday, my Dad still took me out on fabulous dates.  We went to my very first fondue restaurant and my Dad even set up a tea party before dinner, just for me.  We did many different dates over the years including Japanese Hibachi and dinner on an actual train.

I always looked forward to our dates, but once I was in high school and had my first boyfriend I quickly dumped my Dad on Valentine’s Day.  As a 15-year-old with my first boyfriend I was ecstatic to be going on my Valentine’s Day date, not thinking twice about my Dad.  As I write this now, 10 years later, it breaks my heart to know I dumped the one man who will forever have my heart.

Moving away to college opened my eyes to not only the love I knew I had for my parents, but the friendships I had built with them.  I missed them even more being 100 miles away.  When I would come home on weekends my Dad took me on the one date he knew I couldn’t say no to… shopping.  On Sunday mornings we would go to Meijer to stock me up on groceries.  I doubt it was the ideal Sunday morning activity for my Dad, but we both knew it was time we enjoyed being with each other.

As an adult, I feel it is my time to plan the dates for my Dad.  Every year I invite him to relish in his dream of owning an RV by taking him to the Grand Rapids RV show.  Our most recent dates included indoor and outdoor shooting ranges which surprisingly I think I enjoyed as much, if not more, than my Dad.

As my Dad hit senior citizens status this year, I decided it was time to go on the ultimate date.  I asked my Dad to go to Europe with me, just us.  No boyfriend, no brother, no mom, just the two of us.  We will be touring England and Ireland in September.  It is easy to say that the same young girl, who could break her Dad with one glance of those big hazel eyes and bottom quivering lip, is now wrapped around her Dad’s finger.

As I often tell my Dad, “A son is a son until he finds a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for life.”  Not to take away from the father-son relationship he has (which I am sure is a strong bond over swearing, scratching and female body talk), but I know that I will be my Daddy’s little girl forever.


Maggie and her Dad.

Maggie and her Dad.

Maggie Kennedy, born and raised in Brighton, MI, graduated from Grand Valley State University and currently serves as a Public Relations Associate for Wondergem Consulting Inc. She is the proud mom of a beautiful (extra-large) Bernese Mountain Dog.





For more information on “Dating Your Daughter” and ideas for special Daddy / Daughter Dates, check out our MAY Feature!