Posted on | June 17, 2013 | 6 Comments
Father’s Day can be tough when there’s no father around. J and I got up on Sunday morning and tried to pretend it was just any other day. About mid-way through a cartoon, he looked at me and said:
“Mason’s daddy lives in his house with him.”
“That’s a special treat for Mason,” he looked thoughtful for a moment. “I wish my daddy lived in my house.”
And so it begins, I thought, as I pulled him in for a hug.
“But then you wouldn’t live with me, buddy,” I smiled, tousling his hair.
“You could live with daddy. You could both live here.” He wasn’t letting it go this time, not as easily swayed as the times before.
“We tried that, bud, when you were little. It didn’t work out so well.”
“You could try again?” His face was hopeful, alight with ideas and thoughts and feelings I didn’t know how to respond to. I tried to explain to him that it wouldn’t work but he’s three and those words don’t mean much at three. So instead, I took advantage of his age and distracted him with a cheerful:
And we did. A day of fish and sharks and “sea creatures” that did flips and turns and let people ride on their backs was just what we needed. A day of fun and too much money siphoned out of my wallet, and smiles and so many giggles was exactly right. A day that ended with him throwing his arms around me and announcing that he had the best time with me was better than anything I could have imagined for Father’s Day, just two short years ago.
I can’t protect him from his reality. His dad will always live elsewhere, he will always have friends who have dads in their home.
But there’s something to be said for his reality, too. There’s something to be said for a mom and a dad who live apart, who know that they are best and better apart… best at loving their child, better at loving their child.
When I first got divorced, that reality didn’t seem possible. It didn’t seem possible that there would be a time when I would feel that all of this was for the best, that I was best and better without my husband, that J was best and better without his father in our home. When I first got divorced, going to the Georgia Aquarium with only my son on Father’s Day would have felt like slowly dying. It would have felt like drowning in the reality that I was alone, drowning in the thought of always being alone.
But yesterday, it felt like swimming … in all the right ways. It felt like flying solo but in the best and free-est sense of the word.
Yesterday I spent Father’s Day with my son at the Georgia Aquarium. Just the two of us.
And I am best and better for having done so.