Joy in the Moment

Joy in the Moment


The sound of other kids playing in the room seemed distant, as I attentively watched the beaming 3-year-old twin finding joy in the moment. A few minutes before, I had suggested to him that he could wear the colorful, dinosaur-print underwear, if he would like, but the little guy shook his head stating firmly, “No, I like these.” Holding his hands on his hips, he paraded around in his brand-new white underwear announcing proudly, “My daddy bought this for me.” <>Let me tell you, helping potty train twin boys is not an easy task. This is not my first set of twins either, but actually my third that I have taken care of in my home over the past 17 years. I have loved being a part of children’s lives and seeing firsthand their unique personalities blossom as they grow into successful young people. And unexpectedly along the way, I’ve learned a lot about myself too. For me, it has been healing to finally be able to put into words what I needed from those who were supposed to be my parents.

You know, it’s almost embarrassing to say that technically I’ve had four fathers, but I can only ever remember throughout my life a couple of gifts that were given to me by any father figure. My biological father was never a part of my life and the courts have tried to convince me that the man’s name listed on my original birth certificate (my birth’s mother’s husband at the time of my conception) was legally another absent father. And there was my first adoptive father-an alcoholic and then my stepdad that my adoptive mother married after her divorce. Life should never be this complicated and confusing for any person, much less a little girl. I can’t say that I truly had even one father step up to the plate and steadfastly call me his very own with his unconditional love.

I missed out on experiencing that joy in the moment. To all fathers, regardless if your daughters or sons are small or all grown up, I hope that my story will in some way touch your hearts. It’s never too late to share with your child a small, significant gift just from you that they can treasure always out of your genuine love for them. Truly, I believe it is a big thing when it comes from their daddy, like my precious little friend parading around proudly in his brand-new white underwear.

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  • Very well put and understated point. Fathers have a huge impact on kids of all ages and often times they drop the ball, or they are devalued in the picture. Keep preaching their impact…I think most Daddy’s need to hear how valuable they are.

  • I think the most important gift a father can give to his children is by being “present” in their lives – not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally. I know I have to make an effort to not think about work or other things going on in my life when I am around my twins.

  • Fred Campos says:


    touching and truly heart felt. You nailed the topic exactly. The role of fathers has so been underplayed in our society–but the impacts are huge! The correlations between fathers taking an active role in their children’s lives and between crime, sex, drugs, and overall success of their kids, is undisputable.

    Fathers: time is the greatest gift you can give your kids. Put down the paper, turn off the television and play a game and spend some time talking with your children.

    Moms: regardless of your marital situation, the kids need time with dad. If dad isn’t there, seek out a good fathering role model. Your kids will benefit from that relationship.

    Married Fathers: love your wives in front of your kids–it builds confidence and security in your children’s emotional development.

    JoAnne, keep telling us more, I look forward to reading it! Kids will remember gifts they receive from their fathers, but they also remember times their fathers spent doing activities with them.


  • Rhonda says:

    I am so proud of you for being able to put this into words. I too was primarily fatherless most of my life and then when I had a good one for few years he was a terrible husband. Go figure. Bravo. Keep the thoughts coming!

  • Mimi,, mother of this twin says:

    My husband is a super dad, through and through. He puts our boys first in all ways possible, and they adore him for it. That’s what made those underwear so important, not the object itself but the man behind them. Not to mention that tightey whiteys is what Daddy wears also! P.S. Secret is, those underwear were actually a gift from Grandma, but we’ll never tell.

  • Loved the description and emotion in this! Keep it up!

  • Helen says:

    Wow!!Amazing. As simple as it might be thought of, being a parent is one of the hardest things a human being can do. It is a big responsibility and someone who decides to take such a responsibility should understand the risks of not being up to it. I am sorry that you have not had a father who cared and called you his own but sometimes that also has a good side which is obvious and clear in the way you have grown to be.
    I also agree with the fact that kids, specially boys, look up to been loved by their dads a lot. I see that when my kids spend time with their dad. It means the world to them.
    Loved your style of writing. Simple though impact with thoughts. It touches the heart so deep and cleanses the soul.

  • This is very beautifully written and moving, JoAnne! Thank you for your openness and sharing to touch others’ hearts.

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  1. Well written! Thanks for sharing I really connected with this one. Peace and Love!
  2. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  3. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  4. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  5. I love you❤