Olivia the Lionheart :: A Dad’s Perspective on Finding Inspiration

The dream: get married, build a healthy family, have the white picket-fence house, and live happily ever after. That’s how it works out, right? Not all of the time.

I’m a single dad with a two-year-old daughter and have been divorced for over a year now. There are good days and bad days, but the one thing I have learned out of everything is that it was all worth it. The moment I see my little girl’s smile or the way her eyes light up when she sees me makes me never regret a single moment.

Olivia the Lionheart | Houston Moms Blog

My daughter arrived three weeks earlier than her due date. As my daughter’s mother had a C-section, I was the first person to hold her and perform skin-to-skin. I immediately felt a connection and was overcome with joy and an unconditional love that I had never felt before.

Our lives took a turn at her four-month checkup when the doctor heard a heart murmur, and we discovered that she had pulmonary stenosis. At the tender age of just 5 1/2 months, my daughter had to have open-heart surgery. It was the hardest thing that I have ever been through. Not being able to help your own child when she is in agony kills you inside. Throughout this ordeal, my daughter was diagnosed with Williams syndrome. Williams syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 children and is sometimes called the “cocktail party syndrome.” Children with Williams syndrome develop more slowly, can have heart issues, and are very extroverted. In hindsight, this explained a lot about the personality traits my daughter was displaying from day one.

Unfortunately, my wife and I were not able to maintain a strong relationship, and we parted ways. The thought of not being able to see my daughter every single day began to eat away at me. It took a lot of soul searching both internally and externally on how best to move forward and right the ship. The answer was in front of me the whole time – it was my precious little girl. My daughter didn’t care about anything else besides seeing my face. Her eyes told me that she loved me more than anything in the world just like the moment I held her in my arms for the first time. It was time to get over internal stuff and just focus on her.

Olivia the Lionheart | Houston Moms Blog

This also meant it was time to become a single dad. I did not know where to start. I became an “Amazon Mom.”  I overpacked for everything {and still do}. I basically pack a survival kit every time we leave the house.

  • Diapers – check!
  • Change of clothes – check!
  • Bows, combs, and rubber bands – check!
  • Food – check! 

The list goes on and on. I cannot understand how some mothers simply carry just a small little bag?! I pack all of the above just for the weekly visits. You should see my baby “survival kit” for the weekends!

Having a little girl is different. I try to incorporate the staples like tea parties and playing with dolls along with going outside and kicking the ball around and rolling around on the floor and rough housing. If anyone can teach me how to do her hair, I will be indebted to you for life! Regardless of the challenges I have to face, in the end I just let her be herself and love watching her grow into the person she will become.

Olivia the Lionheart | Houston Moms Blog

Overall, post-surgery she is doing great. My daughter is developing quickly and is just like every other two-year-old.  She is now in the tantrum stage to where she will look up to make sure you’re looking. My daughter has the ability to win over a room the moment she walks in. Her personality, smile, and her overall enjoyment in life are contagious.

I try to not dwell on the fact that I cannot see my daughter every day.  I always make sure I remain in contact with my her when I am not with her through emails and/or phone calls. I let her know that I’m here and I always will be for her. I enjoy talking to her and telling her about the stuff we have and will do together.  I have taken countless photos of the precious times we spend together for my daughter to look at when she grows up.

Divorces aren’t easy. Having a child with medical issues is never easy. It’s very simple to give up and keep asking why, but if you look deep into your little one’s eyes and see the love they have for you none of that other stuff matters. My ex-wife and I decided to put our little girl first and co-parent with a positive and loving attitude.

Some people have to wait years before they find their role model, motivation, and inspiration. I found mine in my little girl.

Olivia the Lionheart | Houston Moms Blog

 Every story ends with a happy ending, but you just have open your eyes to see it.

Jimmy BioAbout Jimmy P.

Jimmy was born and raised in Houston, TX. He went to high school in Sugar Land and Texas A&M University for college. He currently works in the consulting industry.  He plans to help out as much as possible within the Williams Syndrome Association to help further educate himself and others on the syndrome. He will always be committed to his daughter and making her feel as loved and happy as possible.


  1. Jimmy, so glad you see the strength and love in your daughter. We enjoyed meeting her and hope to see you all soon. Best Wishes, Tes


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