Archive for the ‘Father’s Day’ Category
Every year, Father’s Day turns into more of a day of stress for me. I shouldn’t stress over it, but I stress over my hair is gray and I’m the mother of a 7 year old at 49, so stress is a constant companion. Leah Rose’s biological father is not in the picture, by his choice, and has not been involved since a few weeks after I found out I was pregnant.
In the beginning it was easy, I didn’t have to mention a father because she was too little to understand. When she started school at 3 years old, it was still easy. In Kindergarten, she started becoming more aware of who or what a father is because of classmates at school who did have fathers, but didn’t question it. This past school year, the awareness has steadily increased.
At first, I happened to mention that I had been married, first to Ted’s Daddy, and then to someone else. She then wanted to know if they were her Daddy. No. “So who is my Daddy?” is the next question. My mind goes numb. I think I muttered something like, well, he’s not around and I’m not sure where he is. Somehow I managed to squeak by on that one without making a commitment about anything.
Next, she learns that my mother was married, she had a husband, and he was my daddy, and he is her granddaddy. We have told her several times, and every time the amazement drama is more increased.
This past weekend, we went to the cemetery to replace the flowers on my Daddy’s grave. Of course, this lead to a series of questions about where is he and heaven, and on and on. Then the next question was where is my daddy? Again, my mind went numb, and I know Mama’s brain was shutting down too. She was driving and I was blindly staring out the window. I tapped my fingers on the arm rest and squinted my eyes, hoping the answer would be somewhere imprinted behind my eyelids. It wasn’t there, of course, and the question was repeated again. And my hope was dashed that she was so involved in her Nintendo game that she would forget she had asked the question.
When the question came again, my mouth popped open and closed. No sound came out. The air in the car was getting hotter and hotter and it was harder to breathe. I knew I was going to either burst out crying, or screaming, or pulling my hair out. The wheels were spinning, but the gears were sluggish and chugging slowly causing extreme and increasing pain in my heart and it took everything in me to keep from showing any emotion at all.
Finally, I took a breath and said something inane about a friend traveling to Texas and her mind refocused on a different topic.
It’s hard being the mother and the father. I have to back myself up when I try to discipline her. How does that work, you ask? It doesn’t. It’s impossible. I have friends that try to support and encourage and back me up when they see that I’m struggling. But honestly, that doesn’t always work either. I have been in two relationships where they have tried to step in and be a mentor or a role model for her, and that didn’t work out either.
Because I grew up living with both a mother and a father in a loving home, I don’t know how it feels to have something missing in your life. I am an only child, but I never missed having brothers and sisters. I’m stumped as to how to overcome this. She will be in the 2nd grade this Fall and will be 8 years old. I just don’t know how to explain it to her so that she will have an understanding and not be hurt. The time for hurt and tears should be later when she has the mental skills to fully process the information I have to give her. Oh by the way, he’s a liar, a cheat and a thief. How’s that for a resume for your biological father?
My thoughts turned to this topic after reading a post called Growing Up Without a Dad by Bear Haven Mama’s Tales. This mama grew up without her biological father in her life after the age of five, but she had a role model, her step-father, who was around and is now a grandfather to her children. Then, I read the post on Early Childhood News and Resources called Single Moms and Father’s Day. This mama lists ways she copes after she drops off her children at their father’s for the day. Leah Rose has no grandfathers and no role models to fill in. It’s disturbing and it breaks my heart.
So, this single mother/part-time dad is signing off with more questions than answers. A time of prayer on my knees is in order, asking forgiveness and a door to open to provide the answers that I need and the grace to come through it with dignity for both of us intact.