Last night was the first night with the girls at my place. I was so nervous and so hopeful that they would feel comfortable here. Especially Leta, because she’s old enough to establish memories of this time. I can’t recall a non-holiday or non-birthday time with the girls where I’ve wanted something to be so right for them.

It couldn’t have gone better. Leta was excited about everything. “You said it was smaller than the house, but it’s bigger than I expected!”

“Dad, thanks so much for my bed! I love it so much!”

Leta was gracious and considerate. It was wonderful. Straight up wonderful. All night I was on the verge of happy tears. That may have been due to the fact that I couldn’t sleep the night before, but it also may have been due to the fact that I want these girls in my life and this was the first night of a new stage in that life.

When we share time together, it’s challenging, exhausting and full of love and wonder. It’s also full of the usual tantrums, bad talking and typical kid behavior. But last night was wonderful.

As is the case with the Armstrongs, it had all the makings for a catastrophic evening:

  1. We got to the place late due to a carseat-related miscommunication. It wasn’t a huge deal, but yeah, tired kids.
  2. New noises. The house has radiant heat and my place has forced air. It’s noisy and because it’s cold at night, the furnace and blower turn on a lot. I’m sure the white noise helped once they settled, but it’s a new sound.
  3. The girls are sharing a room. They are both noisy sleepers. This was high on my WTF Parenting list, questioning if I should have at least given them a night or two where one of them slept with me.
  4. I bought Marlo a toddler bed. We resisted giving her an opportunity for free roam due to her nature, but it is time and so last night was her first night in a toddler bed.
  5. Leta pulled her own tooth out yesterday. (!!!!!!!!) The tooth fairy would have to find her here. As you might imagine, this was cause for a couple of trips to my room to discuss things.

The nightly ritual was slightly altered due to me forgetting books for story time and due to the shared bedroom situation. Marlo kept wanting to get out of bed and play with the plush toys that I bought for their room. She may have wanted to clean up, but I didn’t want to get into semantics with her. I just repeated that it was bed time and I sat on the floor by Marlo’s bed to make sure she was ok. Lots of hugs and soft talking. I told her a made up story and sang her nightly songs she always requests. She fussed a little when I got up to leave, but was pretty tired and fell asleep without further incident.

Leta was great. Except the full voice talking in the bedroom with her sister asleep. I had repeatedly reminded her about being quiet once we got in the room, but I’m sure she forgot due to all the new stimuli, safety concerns and tooth situation. Key words to use: “this is a safe place” and “I’m close to both of you. I’ll be next door if you need anything.”

Only two walk-ins from Leta, one when I was indisposed in the bathroom. She was clearly barely awake because I steered her right back to her bed and she didn’t protest too much. Marlo stayed put, even when she awoke due to aforementioned full voiced Leta. A quick hug and a quick good night and boom. Children nestled.

As it was a school night, that meant finishing homework and making sure all the necessary items for the school day were accounted for and ready.

The girls were up at 6:15, Marlo waking first and waking Leta up with her. Will need to train them about this. Yes, I know that is futility defined, but damn. They played mostly quietly (neighbors!) while I showered and dressed. Breakfast was great. Everything went better than I could have hoped. In retrospect, I’m very glad the girls got up when they did as it allowed me to shower and gave them some play time to ease into the day. Getting out the door was something else, especially with Marlo’s need to wander. We did it, only 10 minutes later than I had hoped. I haven’t dropped Leta off at school driving from this part of town, so I wasn’t sure how long the commute would be. Not long! Our timing was perfect.

Sweet. Wonderful time. I’m overjoyed at how well things went. Next stay? The pool! Yes, there is an indoor pool here. It was a major attraction. And the cheap-ish rent for a two bedroom, two bathroom condo in a prime location). When I showed Leta the pool she was excited, but that quickly turned into an incredulous, “Why didn’t we bring our swim suits?”

Which lead to Dayton Accord level talks about school nights, timing and a promise that next time, we’d have our suits and get in the pool.

It’s going to be ok.

I’m going to be ok.

I can do this.

* * *

Please do not discuss Heather or her site in the comments, thanks. I’ll delete them regardless of how long you’ve been a reader or how concerned you might be. Don’t take it personally, it’s just something that Heather deserves and I want to give her. I’m making every effort to be civil and courteous. I would ask you to do the same when visiting here.

  • americanrecluse

    Yes. Everyone is going to be okay. You’re a Dad, which is why it went so well. All that thought and care and worry turned into planning and preparation and success! Woo success!

    I love Leta’s professorial approach to the pool, and I love that Marlo is a wanderer. I was a wanderer too. I suppose I gave my mom a few heart attacks, but I was never lost – I knew exactly where I was!

  • Abby Fitch

    You can do this!!! Congratulations how wonderful!

  • Lorie G

    The girls will be ok.  They will have rough days and nights no matter what the living situation.  I am so glad the first night was not a bad one.  You are a wonderful father of two wonderful girls.  Congrats on the new place and YEA for a swimming pool.  Maybe you can somehow add swimming to the bed time routine.  Swimming always promises a solid nights sleep for my 8 year old.

  • Kiposevi

    You ARE doing this. 

    Sounds like a great night.  And yay for Marlo in the toddler bed!

  • Erin

    Hooray for a successful first night!  

  • Robin Dearing

    Just goes to show how good, rational people can make any situation work. I’m happy for your family.

  • Jodi_P

    You did it! And you will keep doing it! You are a great father. I love to hear you talk about your girls; it’s so real and sweet. And as a mom myself, I enjoying hearing things from the dad’s perspective. That’s awesome you have a swimming pool. They will LOVE that. Congratulations on the first successful night :-)

  • Caren Jew

    My heart breaking is breaking (in a good way) at how gracious Leta handled it.  I’m so happy for you guys! 

  • Dawn Catteau

    I’m so glad you had a good night with your daughters. They’re lucky girls to have two parents who love them and want them to be happy.

    You can do it, you are doing it and it will definitely be okay. As the theater owner said in Shakespeare in Love (paraphrased), it’ll all turn out well in the end. How do I know? I don’t know; it’s a mystery.

  • Carol

    You asked what brings people to your blog … my answer is this post. It’s the hope in your voice. 

    • Melissa Dunn

      I thought the same thing when I read this post.  You’re  an honest writer and a really good storyteller.  I love your photos and I agree with your politics, but your recent writing about where you are in life right now is authentic, real and it makes me want to come back to read more.

  • Denny Finnerin

    You CAN Do it. And it’s your only chance to do it. We’re only on this planet a short while, so even when things may seem shitty, recognize that it is a unique moment in time, the next moment will be better, and there is value in that shitty moment. Shitty as it may seem. Appreciate and Love the time with your daughters – they are your perfect creation.

  • Kristan

    This post made me smile all the way on the inside. You seem almost in awe of how well the night went — at how well YOU did at all these things — but I think if you asked any of us, you’d find no surprise at all. You’re a wonderful father, and that’s why when things come up — like Leta’s tooth, or the storytime books, or whatever — you can roll with it.

    I have a feeling, despite the difficult emotions of this transition, you’re going to treasure these memories.

  • monkeytots

    Yes, you definitely can do this Jon! There will definitely be kinks to iron out, but take it one step at a time. 

  • sarahdoow

    What a great – and beautifully ordinary – evening and morning. Well done to all of you. 

  • Lyn Belzer-Tonnessen

    So awesome. And I love the Dayton Accord level of the pool talks. However things work out, as so many have said before, you’ve got this handled.

  • Kim Heil

    Jon….even with the caveats that I don’t know you, and I don’t know your situation, I just have to say: you seem like a really, really, REALLY good person.  And a really x3 good father.  Have faith.  You not only CAN do it, you ARE doing it.

  • Doug

    Nice work, dad. Off to a great start.

  • Caroline Alexander

    And now I have happy tears….for all three of you. They will be the better for your effort. My Dad was a single/weekend parent and sure he did things different than Mom and usually lived in an apt. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was great. You’re great. sniff….

  • Ed Hawkins

    Jon, you are beginning to get past the fear and grief and see how wonderful life can be when negative energy is gone and you don’t have to be the whipping boy/enabler anymore.  Good for you and your girls.  I wish you had full custody.

  • Angeerah

    This made me so damn happy for you.  And as the mother of a toddler, I am in awe that Marlo stayed in her bed so well, especially in a new place.  Kudos. 

  • anne cunningham


  • Lindsay

    Wait. Wait, wait, WAIT. Leta pulled out her own tooth? Damn, dude- I think this deserves a post on its own! She’s growing up, isn’t she? Le sigh… 

  • mom_in_amarillo

    I am smiling so big I’ve had three people ask me if I’ve read a funny joke online.  I’m so glad that everything is falling into place for you guys.  Congratulations Dad!  Now, a daily affirmation from me to you….Don’t underestimate your abilities!

      WTG …I’m damn proud. 

  • Tanja Gommers

    SOOOOO enormously well done! And thanks so much for sharing, it was very emotional to read, and of course you can do it, you rock! :)

  • napangel

    I am so glad it went well. Your excitement and relief really shine through in your writing. I was glued through the entire post.

  • Sarah R. Bloom

    Made me cry, happy and sad tears. Both.
    Way to go Leta! Way to go you!
    You totally got this.

  • Robyn Barnes

    So happy for you–all three of you.

  • Priscilla Hofmann

    you are such a rad dad.

  • Priscilla Hofmann

    also, they’re gonna love sharing a room so much they won’t want to go back to separate ones!

  • Dana Petersen

    Onward and upward 😀

  • Colleen Schmitt

    I didn’t get a chance to comment on your previous post to say that these personal stories of your are my favorite.  I was nervous/excited for you just reading this! I’m so happy for you guys that this went well.  Will they be spending 1/2 the time with you?

  • dca_80

    I’m so happy that everything turned out better than expected. You can TOTALLY do this. 

  • Lisa Ancona-Roach

    No doubt your daughters feel the overwhelming love that you have for them. That’s really all that matters–a lot of stuff can happen in a kid’s life, but if they know they are truly loved, they will be fine. It is very clear you are doing that.

  • wr3n

    Awesome! What’s the tooth fairy’s going rate these days? I’ve heard it went up significantly since I was a kid.

  • rsv218

    The room sharing may seem hard now, but they will thank you when they go to college!  You’re doing awesome and I agree with what others have said–I love hearing the hope in your voice.

  • Betty350

    I suspect you’ll want to throat punch me for saying this… but I’m a weensy bit envious of your newfound freedom. I love my husband and kids and everything we have, but we’ve been in the same loop for 12+ years and the idea of venturing into something new, defining myself as separate and different, is a little… intoxicating. Thank you for letting me live vicariously through you. Oh, and the mom in me can’t not tell you to make a 50/50 solution of alcohol and hydrogen peroxide and put a few drops in each ear canal after swimming. Ear infections have shaved years off my life.

  • Malita Jones

    Cracks me up that nights of ALL nights she pulled her tooth! So glad tooth fairies have such powerful gps system – this is so great – congrats!!!

  • Meredith Groenevelt

    When we moved from our big house into an apartment, our two youngest
    daughters (1 and 2) shared a room for the first time. Our 2 year old had
    her first toddler bed too. Except she wandered and we couldn’t get her
    to stay put. We finally solved this by installing a netted, crib tent
    over her toddler bed.

    So there you go. Unsolicited advice from a stranger for a problem you don’t have. You’re welcome.

    (Also, congrats on the successful night with your girls.)

  • whatagirl

    Not only can you do this, but you are doing this! And honestly, even if you aren’t blog publicly about all your new experiences, you might consider keeping a journal of your own. For years when I’ve hit a rough and confusing patch, I’ve discovered that writing it down so that I can go back later and reflect is not just therapeutic in the moment, but also helps future me put stuff in perspective.

  • Vaile Fujikawa

    You can totally do this; you are doing it! I’ve always thought you were a great dad, just from being a lurker and this is one of those posts that I finished reading with a sigh and a smile. Good job. 
    My baby, well 28 month old, recently switched to a toddler bed… it’s been really hard. Sounds like all things considered your girl did really well. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures with the kids!

  • Sajolie219

    This made my day. Life is full of new events. How great you are raising children that can, in spite of it all, approach it with aplomb. I’m sorry that you all have to go through this, but how awesome that you are going through this too. The things you learn about them, about yourself. Love is the answer, dad. Great job. 

  • Susan

    It’s good to be king. 

  • twomagicbeans

    Wow.  I just. Holy crap.  My husband and I are navigating this rocky terrain ourselves– maybe we are one or two steps behind your situation.  My husband suffers with depression and has, well, decided that he’d be happier without our marital stress after 12 years.  We have a 7 and 4 year old.  I routinely feel like I am going to die the most mundane moments of my daily routine.  Sitting at stop lights, packing lunches, loading the dishwasher.  Reading your family/ personal/ home life posts has helped me in ways I can’t EVEN begin to describe.  I’m sorry you and your whole family is going through this now, but thank you so much for sharing your hope and light for those of us still in the dark.  Thank you.

  • Kathy S.

    That’s so great. And even if there are hiccups down the road (which there are bound to be, what with kids — and dads — being human and all), you’ll have this to refer back to as proof that It Can Be Done.

  • Ed Hawkins

    Jon, now that you are beginning to get past the fear and grief there is a life.  Freed from negative energy and relieved of being the enabler, there is a future for you full of happiness.  Good for you and your girls.

    Let the countdown to post deletion begin.  :)

    • Lindsay Briggs

      If you anticipate it being deleted then why post it? He’s asked that you not write things that will make him or his wife feel bad. If you feel like you need to be negative then don’t come here. I think it’s pretty clear that Jon is trying to keep things positive as are most of the readers & commenters. Your opinion isn’t something that HAS to be shared. You’ve done this on several posts. I just don’t get it.

      • LAW

        You would have to be someone who has been through a in-patient treatment program (or family of someone who has) to underrstand what he is actuallyn saying to Jon.  I don’t think Ed is trying to be mean or rude on any level but you learn to look at the glass both ways and respond to each.

        Jon what can I say but you get five STARS for being able to pull this off on their first night with you!!  Crud if I change anything in my routine my dogs have a cow and I remember how my son and daughter were at this age.

        FYI – Did you know that girls learn math better when their fathers are very active in their lives?  I was really supprised when I read this myself.

      • Ed Hawkins

        Hi Lindsay.  Love ya!

  • Lara M.

    You are doing a wonderful job. Seriously. It *will* be okay.

  • Cindy

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but this just made my grinchy “I hate people today” heart grow three sizes. You ARE going to be ok. Absolutely. I’ll echo some of the earlier comments that this is excatly what brings me back to your blog. Thank you for sharing and for being so honest about your experiences.   

  • Misty Makeup Maven

    My favorite kind of post!! woohoo, WTG, daddy. :)

  • Misty Makeup Maven

    BTW, can you fix the mobile version of this site to where we can comment? I don’t have a Disqus account and that is the only sign in that is available on the mobile version. FYI :0)

    • Bluestalking

      You nailed this thang, dad. You totally nailed it.

  • Lindsay Briggs

    So, so love this. You are doing it right and doing it well. The fact that they have a room of their own (even if shared) is so huge. When my mom moved out she had a one bedroom apartment. My sisters and I had to alternate sharing the bed with her and with sharing a pull out couch. I never felt “at home” there — always a guest in “her” place. A place that wasn’t meant for kids, which was compounded by the fact that she was the one who moved out of our house. Lots of feelings of abandonment and that she was just going through the motions of mom. I hated going to her place. As long as Leta & Marlo feel like it is also their home, and that you absolutely want them to be there and in your life, everything will be ok. You will be ok.

  • Lindsay Briggs

    This comment didn’t post to the right place…so I erased it.

  • Katie Dunn

    You knocked this out of the park, Daddy-o.  And on a school night, to boot!  This is something to feel great about. 

  • ?o??????olqu??o?

    I think the girls sharing a room is a good thing in this new situation.

  • Lindsay Ong

    You are doing a GREAT job! 

  • Michele Cavalier

    Rooting for you…:)

  • LAW

    BTW we all might not be IKEA but if you consider getting a PO Box for your company I think there are many of us that may find things for you and your girls.  :)

  • jenniferdaddio

    : )

  • n stifter

    You are a good Daddy and a classy man. 

  • n stifter

    You are a good Daddy and a classy man. 

  • Emily Fenton Jacobson

    I still vividly remember the first night I spent in my Dad’s new apartment after my parents separated. New bed, new noises, sharing a room with a sibling–I remember the anxiety I had around all of that. But what stands out above everything else are the memories of my Dad petting my hair until I fell asleep, my Dad making us breakfast in the new apartment, my Dad making sure that we knew we were loved every minute–with us or not, at my Mom’s house or at his apartment. And now, reading this made me tear up. I’m going to go call my Dad and tell him I love him, but I first wanted to tell you that I don’t know you, but I think you are a great Dad. Leta and Marlo are lucky girls, and I bet that your love for them will be the thing they most remember when they’re grown. xo

  • Mari Caplan

    Jon, those girls are going to be ok. More than ok. They have two parents who love them deeply. Your joy and love for them is more than apparent. You are going to be ok too. They love you back. 
    I’ll second what another poster said, I love hearing the dad’s point of view. I like your writing style too. You are a funny dude.

  • PandoraHasABox

    It’s going to be okay.

  • Carol Syvertsen Grzybowski

    Jon, Your writing allowed me to feel like I was right there.  I’m so proud of Leta – she is growing up and it’s hard to believe!  Carol

  • Theresa Boisseau

    I LOVE that phrase, “happy cry” and I do it often around my daughter because I am in such awe of her.  I am so happy it went so well for you on the first night.  One piece of advice:  I leave the fan running on my forced air furnace all night so that the noise of it turning off and on doesn’t disturb my sleep or my daughter’s sleep.  BEST OF LUCK!!!

  • jessicamccoy

    I love this and hate it at the same time.  This is such a hard time.

    I’m so glad the first night with the girls went well, and while there were snafus, there was also fun and love.  That’s really all that matters.

  • chris_mcd

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Please keep sharing.

  • ShesSleepingSoundly

    Jon:  Thanks for blogging.  This was so wonderful to read and I think it is great that you are writing regularly.  It’s so enjoyable to read your musings; please keep it up.  I’m so happy that your first night with your girls, in the new digs, turned out well.  Cheers!  xx

  • Dreux

    It’s amazing to see the human capacity for growth and success when pushed into challenges. Look back and you see TWO hurdles cleared, toddler bed and a first night (on a school night!).
    It’s almost like you subconsciously (maybe) pushed yourself a little harder, or maybe it was just logistics, I’m just saying.

    Of course you can do this, and it will be okay. Thank you for posting, there are many out there rooting for you, and like a poster yesterday commented, growth is an interesting read.

  • Dreux

    I forgot all about the tooth! Incredible smoothness! The power of preparation and positive attitude!

  • Amy

    Right on brother.

  • Carygirl72

    Yes you can!

  • Mariam

    You have two wonderful daughters and when it comes down to it, all that really matters is that they adore their Daddy. This post was moving and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.

  • islay girl

    I’m sure I’m only echoing what everyone else has said, but well done. Your thoughtfulness and preparation exemplify how committed you are to putting them first. I’ve been through this, and while it’s never easy, you’re clearly in a good space to be doing it in the best way possible. Continuing to send good thoughts. 

  • Val

    It sounds like Leta will have wonderful memories of her first sleepovers in the new place. I was about her age and my little sister 5 when we had our first sleep-over at my dad’s new apartment and getting to share a room with her was actually a great comfort, a familiar voice in a strange place. I think it’s terrific that your girls get to be roommates, I’m sure there will be lots of happy sisterly giggling and conspiratorial whispering ahead :)

  • Neeroc

    Fantastic news, not that I would have expected anything different. You will rock this gig.

  • Suzyto

    Awesome post! I love the honesty and hearing about daily life from a male perspective.
    Keep going!

  • Kara McGee

    Love that you are taking the high road.  It’s not easy, but your gonna get through it.  One foot in front of the other… brother.  

  • AbolishIgnorance

    Crap – that made my eyes water before I even got to where you mentioned happy tears. I’m so glad for this result. Honestly, I am.

  • Ken

    What a happy and hopeful post, Jon! LOVE it! Of course, you will all be fine, though I do know a little bit about Leta and her worries… This was a wonderful post to read — made me smile and re-read it. As always, wishing you the best.

    And as a friend of mine says, “Well, I really don’t want to give away the ending, but I can tell you that it all works out.”

    Terrific job, Jon! Wishing you many more great times together!

  • Kate Lavin

    I don’t know you, but I am so happy for you. The girls are really lucky to have you as their dad.

  • Amy Strada

    Wow, you are such a great father. Seriously. I have two little ones and bedtime is literally a struggle every night! I love your positive, nurturing approach and how loving you are with your girls. And in the midst of so much upheaval and personal soul-searching. I’m impressed with your ability to put it all aside with your children, be in the moment with them and create this new context for them with so much heart and love. I’m not surprised that it was such a good night – you did a lot of work to make it comfortable and ‘home’ for them. All of that is hard to do, and it’s admirable – you’re an inspiration!

  • Naomi Senkbeil

    I’m sure it’s a repeated comment but it is great seeing your view of the world. Your posts, from music and the tech world to your inner voice, are honest. Sounds simple and moronic but I like it.

  • sachita

    Wow, so nice things turned out well, seems girls almost took it as an adventure.

  • Janice Miller

    Very , very cool. And the tooth fairy…she really is amazing , isn’t she?

  • misterprecedent

    Jon, you are a class act, and deserve the BEST!  Your daughters already have it with you as their dad!  I read the other blog for years, but Blurbomat is my new favorite!  Keep up the great parenting and writing!  :-)

  • Jane

    Great start! It’s so hard to get kids to sleep in a new setting; you did an awesome job!

  • chernevik

    “I’m going to be ok.”
    Always been up to you.
    “I can do this.”
    Never been in doubt.

  • Kristen Pratt Machado

    I’m so thrilled that it went well for you but this seems so final. I was thinking maybe this was just a trial separation? All marriages have tough spots. 

    • chernevik

      What I’d say, if I were Jon: Who knows what tomorrow may bring?  But we live today.

  • Lilly O’Handley

    My hubby has raised his son since Marlo’s age as a “divorced dad.” Every time I see him excel as a father, I fall more in love with him! Congrats on this hurdle. Hubby says each one gets easier to clear! You are an awesome father, Jon!

  • Naomi Shadix

    Aaaaaand the internet collectively exhales with you. Although none of us doubted you for a moment, it must still be such a relief to now *know* that it will be ok, that you will be ok, that you can do this. :)

  • Alison

    I love reading all the positive comments of support for you and I must jump into those waters myself.  Way to go!  I’m happy for you, and happy for your daughters. I had an amazing father and know well how powerful a good father’s love is on a girl’s life. Well done, sir, well done.

  • david fitzgerald

    Kids need stability and constant love in their lives and for this reason I hope you will fight for primary custody to provide the best environment for your girls. Good luck with everything!

  • Tania Ganguly

    I used to come to your website to read your political posts. I hovered away a few times as I am not much into the techie photography stuff. But I am back again reading on a regular basis and I totally love it. You just put together a wonderful post with such a vulnerable and honest tone. Be a part of the girls’ lives. Even when you feel it’s tough and you cannot put a single foot forward- remember that we are all rooting for you. You CAN DO IT because you ALREADY HAVE.
    best wishes from motown all the way to SLC.

  • Molly Guthrey

    Some evenings, as a single mom, I like to take all three of my kids — ages 3, 8 and 9 — to the Y for a “bath.” First, they swim and tire themselves out in a healthy way). Afterward, we hit the locker rooms for the showers and sauna. On the drive home, we pick up takeout. Back home, we eat and watch some TV and then I tuck them into their beds, exhausted and very clean!

  • jude

    I keep saying  it… you’ve got this, Jon. You’ve so got this.
    Glad it went well. Tiring them out at the pool should guarantee good sleeps all round.

  • tracey gessner

    You sound like a really great dad. :)

  • Sharon Owen

    YAY for YOU and the girls. It will get easier and things will have their own rythym at your house. “Been-there-doing-that”.

  • Beth Rich George

    One of the best memories ever of my father is from the first night in his apartment.  He didn’t yet have beds for all three of us, so he piled us up in his king sized bed with him.  The memory is after we all went to sleep, waking up in the night to see him in the bedside chair, watching us sleep.
    He didn’t ask for what happened to our family, but he loved us all, even my mother, with a fierceness and dedication that still stuns me to this day.  Your posts remind me of him daily.  You didn’t ask for it, but you are loving them all and making the best of it.  I promise you that your children will remember for the rest of their lives. 

  • Am_Be_R

    Yay! You asked a while back what readers would like to see more of here. This. Lots more of this. I wish more fathers would write/talk about their relationships with their daughters like this. You’re a great dad.

  • becto

    This is amazing to hear. I loved reading this. 

  • KarenK

    Thank you for this post.  You can do this.  We can ALL do this. 

  • Amy Jacobs

    Bravo Jon. I hope to hell…rather wish…that all father’s thought this much about how well their kids will adjust to things such as this…and to how to handle the obvious issues that arise with small kids. And an ABSOLUTE high five on getting Marlo into that toddler bed and both kids sleeping through the night at the new place. That is just effin’ rock star there dad!!!!! It will be okay, for sure. I know all of us who are parents can totally empathize with everything you just wrote about. You have every reason to be happy about how it went.

  • Amy Jacobs

    P.S. How did the tooth fairy go!? I read comments above and realized you didn’t tell us how you pulled it off with both girls in the same room. It’s getting harder over here to pull the sneaky stuff and I’d be hard pressed with both mine in the same room! They only ever sleep in the same room when we are on vacation and we always have a couple of roughish nights. If you threw tooth fairy in the mix I’d have to down a whiskey shot probably ; ). 

  • Beverly Dixon

    As a single parent that I was, and now a very happy grandmother, I feel so many feelings for you and the girls. It was so touching, and I love hearing all your feelings as you begin a new life with the girls. The first night went great, and I am sure there will be many more. They are your first concern and that was clearly evident!!!

  • Katie Jackson


    My father was a single dad and your post brought back memories of him setting up the house for me when I moved in with him at age 10. His apartment was totally empty when he first got it, except for the bed my mom left him. I can still remember each weekend going out with him and getting a little bit more to make the house a home. We had a few hiccups in the beginning, too, but he really softened the whole blow of our series of “events”. A commenter above mentioned the girls feeling your love and I can say I agree. You have just earned a new fan today.

    The best of luck to you, Leta, and Marlo. I’m certain happy times are ahead for you all.

  • Tracy Sandberg

    Real life is a teachable moment.  You are showing your girls how to deal with a not-so-ideal situation by forging ahead and embracing the positive and CHOOSING happiness (it’s not always automatic, is it?)  When they are adults and need to navigate their own paths through the inevitable challenges that go with being a grown-up, they will have a firm foundation from which to begin, because of how you live your life with them and for them; one foot in front of the other – put your head up and smile! 


  • applyliberally

    regarding ad tags, i just saw one for the arthritis foundation when i came to your site.  it said: moving is the best medicine. ha HA!  yes.
    your post is very touching …

  • Jackie Hall

    I’m so happy that everything went so well. Kids are good like that.  You sound like an awesome dad and know just what your baby girls need to hear when concerns are raised.  Great job dad!

  • suhud

    This makes my heart happy. 

    As an aside, have you watched Louie?  Divorced dad with 2 girls + hilarity.  Your post reminded me a bit of the sentiment I felt from the last episode of the 1st season.  I got a little verklempt. 

  • Krista Merlino

    As the Mom of two girls less than a year apart who share a room, you did GREAT!! We have worked on the quiet voices and the waking up earlier than the other and it really doesn’t take that much time for them to learn the routine. They will love being together in a room. Now, when we go on vacation and the girls have the option of sleeping apart they choose to share a room.

    You can totally do this!!

  • Trina Romanchuk

    So happy to hear your first night with the girls was a success!  I know you are going through some major changes, and that is what you should write about here.  Think of it as online therapy I suppose.  LOL

  • kate rau

    Oooh I remember those first nights in a new place with my daughter after my separation, right when she was about Leta’s age. It’s amazing how gracious and optimistic and how…adaptable they are, even when they’re sensitive girls like Leta and my kiddo.  

    Now we’re 5 years after the divorce; we are on a week on, week off schedule which helps so much with the routine.  At first it was “Where am I sleeping tonight?” and she was living out of a suitcase.  You and Heather will figure out what works best for the girls and things will fall into place.  I hope for you what my ex and I have come to: we are dear friends and great co-parents; we do some holidays and always her birthdays together, and occasionally my husband, my ex, our daughter and I go out to dinner together. She loves when we are all together, and often, at the age of 11 and almost as tall as me, requests a “Group hug!” with her in the middle of her dad and I, a “love sandwich”.  Those are the best times and I feel so proud and blessed.  I really do hope you guys get there, one way or another.   

  • kate rau

    PS.  You’re doing it well and with love and compassion.  You’re doing it!! 

  • Ed Hawkins

    Jon, that’s great, everything is great, it’s all going to be all right, everyone is great, I love everything and everyone.  Hopefully this one which has no tether to reality will not be deleted.

  • Leigh Fox

    You not only can do it- you are!

  • Robyn Lewney

    So so so proud of you and happy for you!  What an amazing dad you are.  And I think this is officially my favourite blog. :)  I love your honesty and sweetness.

  • Jennifer McKeown

    This girl just posted her first comment here and clearly has no clue what she’s doing. Please be kind :)

  • Jennifer McKeown

     Hooray! You (and your girls) are so Full Of Awesome that I can hardly stand it. Please know that there’s a whole lotta Internet out here cheering for you.

    P.S., if there was a pool and no one told me about it, I’d be giving the stink eye too.

  • mrskittenhead

    oh gosh. This made me cry. I don’t know you but I want to give you a hug and tell you that things can only get better. best wishes from somewhere near Cambridge, UK. 

  • Morgan

    Ok, I am full on crying at my desk.  Thanks for that?  

    Anyway, that was beautiful.  You are doing a great job and your exuberance and love for your girls shines in this.  I am amazed.

  • Tosha Eden Newark

    oh gosh. This made me cry and also made me want to give you a big hug. Things can only get better. Dads rock. 

    best wishes from the UK.

  • Carrie Marshall

    I am grateful to be alive in this age where we have hands-on dads. Aren’t our kids lucky?

  • Tamara Grigg

    One step at a time. You can do this. :)

  • Tamara Grigg

    One step at a time. You’ve got this. :)

  • mab1c

    Jon, your transparently honest writing is exquisite.  Thank you for inviting us into your world.  You’ve SO got this!!!!

  • Jamie Toadvine

    Love it! Thanks for sharing Jon.. The girls sound so happy.  Looking back, sharing a room with my sister when we were kids was a huge highlight in my life. 

  • Barbara Sirois Doyle

    Never commented before, but I have to agree with everyone here that you are an incredible father. Those girls don’t need anything more than what you are giving them–nurturing, presence, security and unconditional love. Letting them know that, despite anything you are going through as adults, both you and their mother are remaining the same involved, caring parents you have always been is so vital in their development. Good on ya, brotha.  You’re going to be just fine.

  • flashherk

    Sounds like it worked out great.  Good job!

  • Jennifer Cafferty

    What a wonderful post. It’s raw. This situation (that’s not the right word) is new for you and the girls. It’s new. It’s scary. And it also sounds like you are excited. I’m so glad the first night over was a success….hopefully YOU got some sleep, too!

  • Karen Douet

    It did my heart good to read this.  Happy for y’all and glad you’re settling into the new way of being.  Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Cassandra Marie

    I would be a completely different person if I would have had a father half as wonderful as you.

    Lovely post Jon.

  • Ivoire

    Been reading here for years, this is the first comment I’ve ever made. 
    WAY. TO. GO.

    Yeah, you can do it, and you”ll be great at it. Good job, Dad.

  • CairoMama

    Jon – haven’t read your blog in a while but I am back now and not going anywhere. It’s good to hear your “voice” again. Although my heart is aching for you, you are doing a great job!

  • Jen

    Great job on your first night.  I loved hearing about it and look forward to hearing more about your adventures with your kiddos.

  • Kristin Kaminski

    THis brought tears to my eyes. I’m 40 now, and when my dad moved out when I was 3, I remember visiting his apartment. And there was no bedroom for my brother and I. He had a 2 bedroom, but the second bedroom was his “office”…and I remember thinking “I won’t be able to sleep over here…there’s no place for me”

    SO when you quoted Leta loving her bed, I can tell you that SHE DOES. And more, she loves that she has a place in your life. You’re a GREAT dad. 

  • Helen Taylor

    As a newly divorced mother to a toddler, reading your blog gives me so much hope and compassion for my exhusband and our daughter. Thank you.

  • Marcie McNeill Seery

    You’re a great Dad and your girls are blessed to have you.

  • discuselr

    Congrats on a successful first night, Jon! Love reading about your love for your girls and all the details you thought-of ahead of time for them (stuffies! toddler bed!) They are lucky to have you, wherever that may be. Oh, and we girl-readers need some pics of your space!

  • Dorothee Klein

    To me, those moments when our children surprise us with their capacity for warmth, humanity and love are the absolute high lights of parents. And I really enjoy your honest no-frills style of writing. It seems to me that you are on a good path, finding your voice and asserting yourself.

  • liz gentry

    omg, a pool in the same building! My little kid mind would have melted from joy at that prospect. You’re going to have so much fun with that.

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