The counseling went pretty much according to script. The counselors laid out a game plan that would dictate our course of treatment. As I said, there was no upside to me refusing to participate, and I found that there was a lot of good that would come of our sessions. One week, I would go alone. The next, I would go with the three kids. Then one kid at a time, then the family as a whole. The same would apply to her.
What I got out of it was this: being a "single dad" was a misnomer. There was no "single" effort on my part. I had a lot to learn about being a Dad all over again. Being solely responsible for the welfare of three kids really begged for a lot of help. I was making mistakes, and I was being taught that, while no one lives a life mistake-free, the best job I could do would be to make the best efforts not to repeat any of them.
It was great actually. I went in fully expecting to be completely crucified, hearing a long litany of things I did wrong. It truth, it wasn't the case at all. The kids were comfortable with the counselors, and they spoke freely. Much to my surprise the kids, young as they were, appreciated and understood the effort I was making. I had them over my place every Friday through Sunday, and six weeks during the year for my vacation time. I was doing my part, and I was fulfilling my desire to be 100% involved in their lives.
Sure, I got chastized for some of things I thought I was doing right, and given tips on how to improve things overall. While I'd always been a bit of a night owl, it didn't take much to work on that. I would go to bed earlier, get up earlier and make more of the time together.
I wasn't a bad dad. And now I had "professional" backing for that statement. It was a pleasant surprise for a lot of us.