Thanks for the Father’s Day gifts, guys. Patrick, it was funny the way you wrapped that bottle of hot sauce in newspaper. And Jennifer, I finally figured out how to make my iPhone display your eCard. Very thoughtful the way you personalized it for me with the Justin Bieber song.

So… there is never a good time to say what I have to say. But since it’s Father’s Day and you both feel obliged to stand here and listen to me for the next five minutes without rolling your eyes, I guess now is good enough.

I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure. But after weeks of non-stop combat around our house, I’m finally sure:

This is not working for me anymore. I need a divorce. So on Monday, I’m taking Mom and moving out.

It’s nobody’s fault. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame Mom. I blame the evil hormones that flooded your cute little bodies.

Don’t worry, you kids get to keep the house. But Mom and I can’t stand to be here anymore. The best thing is if you two live here without us.

This is sad for me because our life together started out so beautifully. First I met your mom, the cutest woman I ever did see. Then we got married. Soon you two were born–the two cutest little kids ever. For about 11 years, our little family was so super cute. We delighted in the same adorable routine every night. We splashed at bath time then snuggled up in pajamas to read Good Night Moon and Curious George. And after you two were asleep in bed, Mom and I enjoyed our own frolicking bedtime snuggles.

I wished it could last forever. But something changed.

It’s nobody’s fault. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame Mom. I blame the evil hormones that flooded your cute little bodies. Hormones that drove you two to puberty. And Mom to menopause.

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Somehow these hormones caused all the cuteness to vaporize. With puberty, you two became way more smelly and hairy. And with menopause, Mom became way less romantic, especially in the “hands-on” kind of way.

But here’s the thing: even though Mom no longer wants to have sex with me anymore, it’s not like she’s rejecting me personally. Mom doesn’t want to have sex with ANYBODY anymore.

It’s true: nowadays Mom can be moody and easily annoyed. But she still mostly resembles the person I married. It’s not like she’s turned into a spiteful, rebellious, foul-mouthed hellion who responds to an innocent question like “How was your day?” by screaming and stomping up the stairs.

Of course every father wants his kids to grow up–to mature and become more capable. Unfortunately, the way you are growing up is headed in a direction that makes me pretty uncomfortable.

Patrick, we used to be best buds, building Star Wars Lego guys and organizing your Pokémon cards. Now you hardly want to talk to me. What’s the deal with all the privacy? And what’s with all the Vaseline and Kleenex you are going through?

Jessica. You used to love twirling around the backyard in your flowing Cinderella dress. Now you lock yourself in the bathroom and dress up in mascara, eye glitter, short shorts, and that minuscule tube top. I don’t recognize which Disney character you’re pretending to be, but it sure as hell ain’t Snow White.

Change can be difficult. But I hope we can proceed with this divorce in a calm and respectful manner. I know you hate Mom quite a bit less than you hate me–mostly because Mom knows how to cook and I do not. So I suspect you will be tempted to think you can win a custody battle for Mom.

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I warn you: think again. You cannot win. During a mother custody trail, you will have to testify before a judge. I know from experience the kind of impression you will make under cross-examination.

When my lawyer presses you, Jennifer, about the time you took the bus to the mall with Cheryl but returned home in the Camaro of a guy who works at the mall tire place, you’re going to throw a glass and shout, “Jesus, whatever! Nothing happened.”

And when my lawyer asks you, Patrick, how a bottle of vodka in our liquor cabinet came to be 50% diluted by water, you’re going to shrug your shoulders, look down at your iPhone and grunt, “I dunno.”

Such defiant testimony is certain to turn any judge in the state against you.

Now, I don’t want this to go to trial. But if it has to, I am already way ahead. In addition to an aggressive mother custody lawyer, I’ve retained a private investigator who has already recorded what really goes on in your bedrooms when you claim to be doing homework.

So please, please, let’s not make this nasty. Sometimes difficult things happen with moms, dads, and their kids. Remember, I am still your father. And in the future when you really need me–for example after you’ve grown and given birth to adorable grandchildren between the ages of 4 and 10–I will be there for you. But for now, I can’t stand to be here with you.

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