|OP, as much as it is difficult to listen to our children hurting, the world they live in is going to hurt them and the reality of your childrens' lives is that at this time they do not have a dad. This has happened throughout history, particularly during eras with wars like Vietnam. People talk about the death toll of that war but how many fatherless children did that produce? There are also widowers raising children should they abolish Mother's Day when it is up to the child/parent to make those holidays valuable?|
Your job is to help your child deal with it, to remind your child that grandpa is uber kewl and a lot better than most people's dads. My dad is in his kids' lives but my children still consider me both their mother and father because he chooses only peripherally to be in their lives. Does your ex wish he was a different person?
This isn't about changing the holiday, it is about helping your children cope with the hand life has dealt them. You won't go into your specific situation so I'll assume possibly drugs and/or mental illness. It is not a lie to tell your children your daddy wishes that he was well so that he could spend time with you even if you know he is not actively thinking this way if he is using or if he needs meds and is not on them.
What you see as a bad thing may actually have been very good for your daughter. If she was sitting on those feelings or not trying to let you know about them because she didn't want you to feel badly, it is much better that she had this usetting experience and got them out rather than having them seep out here and there throughout the rest of her childhood and however many years of her adulthood she should choose not to deal with them. You cannot change the situation, you can change your response and help your daughter with hers.
What is wrong with the man?
Some parents are parents when it is convenient for them. I know a couple who married on Mother's Day, they spend their anniversaries out of town and their children are home alone. The pastor and his wife recently went to Israel, coincidentally when their son was confirmed and baptized when they were out of town.
Several years ago my daughter had an incident with her dad. I was upset that she was put through the events but when I told one of her teachers her reaction to it, she said, I know you want things to be "normal" for your child, but that kid isn't going to take shit off of anybody. She was quite right.
The world is not an easy place, as much as it pains us to see them hurt, it is beneficial to them to have you there to talk to and help them learn to make lemonade.