By Katie Smith

Father's Day is around the corner and I just wrote down a reminder to take my teens out so they could pick a few things out for their dad to celebrate his day.

I won't be there with them–their father and I separated over two years ago and this will be his third Father's day as a divorced father. But that is just a minor detail–the man I married so long ago, had three kids with, and the person I still parent very closely with, is now, and always will be their father.

He was present when I took the pregnancy tests–all fifty of them. He was as excited as I was when we found out the sex of each child. We made a tradition out of buying their first outfit followed by a greasy lunch. He went to every doctor's appointment. He helped with feeding and diapers and walked them around for hours on nights they couldn't sleep.

And on Father's day–regardless of how I feel about him–he deserves to be celebrated and it's my job to make sure my kids remember what this day is about. My three teens don't have their license or a job, so it's not very easy for them to go off for an afternoon to pick out a little something–that will be up to me.


And really, it's a very small gesture compared to everything he did for me throughout the years, and everything he's done for them and will continue to do as long as he's on this earth.

“The day is about your dad,” I’ll be reminding them, probably more than a few times. "We know, Mom, you've already told us a bunch of times," they’ll comment with an eye roll. But their snarky reactions won't stop me from mentioning it one more time as I drop them off on Sunday.

I take Father's Day as an opportunity to teach them to remember their life is as great as it is because of their dad. Teens can be self-centered and only think about themselves and what they are getting out of every experience–even the really good kids–and mine are no different.

It would be easy to drop them off as usual and hope for the best. I certainly could leave it all up to them and tell them to make him a homemade card or offer coupons to help out with yard work for an afternoon, but that just doesn't feel like enough to me.

This is a day for them to look outside of themselves and do something nice for their dad. That doesn't end with them saying, "Happy Father's Day" and throwing down a card and gift and going back to their lives.

They need to make the day special by spending time with him, putting down their phones, not fighting with each other or asking for things. I want them to know celebrating him for one day is only putting in a fraction of the effort he has put into them every single day.

He does a lot for them and deserves to be recognized. We might no longer be married, but he will always be their father and it's my job to make sure his children make him feel special on Father's Day.