Cheating at Motherhood

Posted on | May 17, 2017 | 2 Comments

Let me let you in on a little secret… parenting Baby C sort of feels a lot like cheating.

When J was a baby… I was a wreck. He never slept. He cried… constantly. I was so stressed out that I got shingles several weeks after returning to work. If I’m being honest, it’s probably best that there were seven years to gloss over all that before discussions of another baby or I would have said “No and no thank you again.”

Now, when I’m out with C, and people say things like “Oh you are so put together! I barely had time to wash my hair as a new mom!” I smile and wave it off like it was just some miracle occurrence that one particular day. But I have to admit that it’s not been all that hard to wash my hair.

Or eat.

Or sleep.

Or do any of the things that new moms struggle to do.

Because Baby C is… basically perfect. I mean, when it comes to baby things. But I don’t like to tell people that because no one wants to be the mom who is flouncing around bragging about how easy she has it.

Instead, I feel like I should apologize to other moms… maybe remind them that J was so tough or lie and say that I didn’t sleep at all last night. Because no one wants the answer to “How does he sleep?” to be “Like a damn angel, thanks. I am working on full sleep every night and I feel like a goddess.” No one wants to hear that. Moms want to commiserate. We want to be able to roll our eyes and say “whatever” to the people who tell us that their babies are perfect and “Cry it out” or “Ferber” or whatever method is out there is the magic tool that got them through parenthood unscathed and ready to try again. No one wants to be the mom everyone is rolling their eyes at; I don’t want to be the mom everyone is rolling their eyes at!

Except… maybe I’m okay with it… at least a little. If it means all this glorious sleep.

From the get go, C slept three plus hours at a time at night, gradually increasing to now when he sleeps 6 or 7 hours straight. He only cries when he’s tired or hungry and even then it’s short lived. He’s the happiest baby… all smiles and coos… and while 90% of me is thankful there is that 10% that feels like I’m genuinely cheating at motherhood.

Where are those sleepless nights?

Where are all the spit stained clothes?

Why did I have time to put on make up and straighten my hair?

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not asking for a re-do. This calm, sweet, easy baby is just what the doctor ordered for a frazzled, over-worked, “hurry up because it’s time for baseball/soccer/swimming/tennis/basketball/whatever and ever amen” Mom. But I keep thinking there’s like this giant, hovering “other shoe” somewhere out there that is biding it’s time before stomping forcefully on my head and sending me spiraling down into the world of “Why didn’t I keep my mouth shut?”

I feel a little bad, but I will say this… I’ve done nothing right with this baby. I haven’t followed any magic method unless you count “throw him in the car seat and go go go” as a method. I haven’t let him cry it out and he’s not sleeping in his nursery alone. I didn’t sleep train or put cereal in the bottle or whatever other tricks are out there that some moms swear by. I just got lucky. He just… came this way. And I’m thankful.

Even though it feels a little like cheating.

Introducing Baby C!

Posted on | May 10, 2017 | 6 Comments

I’d love to tell you the number of times I sat down to write and then walked away, but I just can’t recall. There were that many.

See… there’s a ton I want to say but there’s just never enough time. And if there is time, the words don’t feel right.

Here I am, 39, with a second baby I never thought I’d have, and he’s just this little ball of perfect that takes my breath away every time I look at him. But when I try to write about it, it feels silly and fluffy like a sustenance free puff of cotton candy or a whirl of dandelion seeds on the wind. I just can’t put into words what all of this means.

It’s not that it’s easy… it’s just that it’s such a sweetly unexpected surprise that I don’t mind the hard. I cherish the 4am feeding. I marvel at the diaper changes. I embrace the craziness that is getting two children and myself ready to face a day. So all that’s really left to explain is how we got here… how I went from “Dear God I’m so pregnant” to “Oh wow he’s amazing.”

If you read the last post, you know I had a scheduled C-section. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to have what happened last time… the fear, the panic, the “Put her out entirely because she’s trying to get up off the table.” But this time was different. Banks was there, and he was fully committed to keeping me panic-free… or at least as panic free as possible when you’re strapped to a table and people are slicing you open just below a thin blue curtain. It wasn’t easy… I opted for the spinal block instead of the epidural which was by far the best possible choice… but I still felt an awful lot like passing out for at least 79% of the procedure. Banks stayed beside me, holding my hand, telling me how great I was doing, and refraining from asking the doctors which of my internal organs was currently in their hands. I made it, though. All the way to the end. Fully awake and ready to meet my newest munchkin.

When Baby C was finally born, they held him up to the side, all red and angry, then whisked him away. I guess I should have known that something was off, but honestly I was just so happy to not have them pulling on my insides that I didn’t think twice when Banks left my side to join C in the back. After a few moments, my husband was back, taking my hand and assuring me that everything was fine but that C needed to go to the NICU for a bit. He made it all seem normal and hell, I was riding high on not being pregnant any more, so I just smiled and nodded.

Turns out, C had a little trouble breathing. Nothing serious, thank God, but enough that he had to spend his first night in the NICU. I was able to get to him around 5pm, only because I’d opted for the spinal block instead of the epidural, and was able to feel my legs and get them moving. We stayed a while, but couldn’t hold him and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, to sit in that wheelchair and let my husband roll me away from my baby. He’d been out of my body for nine-ish hours and I hadn’t even held him.  I’m in awe of the moms who suffer through that distance for months on end. We were lucky. The next morning he was able to come to our room and we were released home the following day.

Everything since that moment has been… well… motherhood.

It’s poop and spit up and worrying and making silly noises and in general just feeling like I’m riding a wave of exhaustion and hormones that is carrying me somewhere I never knew I needed to be.

So you see… I couldn’t really find the time to write.

Because I didn’t want to miss a moment.

And now, inexplicably, my little C is two months old, and I’m back at work and everything is rushing around and changing diapers and taking kids here and there. I’m so busy I can barely find time to eat a full meal. The house is a little messier, the clothes stay dirty longer, the laundry hardly ever gets folded before it’s all wrinkly. It’s a roller coaster. There’s so much that doesn’t get done… so many things that fall through the cracks. And most days I’m barely hanging on by the time I get my hands on my baby at 5:30 in the evening. But even though I’m crazed and tired and my boobs are sore and my stomach looks like a sewn up kangaroo pouch… I’m still deliriously happy.  And I get the feeling I’m going to stay that way for a while. 

Facing Fears

Posted on | February 27, 2017 | 4 Comments

I am officially more pregnant than I’ve ever been in my life.

J was born at 37 weeks and five days, and here I sit at 38 weeks… plump with little C and wondering if this is going to be my state of being until he cuts his way out at 16 and asks to borrow the car.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s safe and healthy. I just wouldn’t be too terribly disappointed if he decided he’s done baking and wants to arrive before next Monday’s scheduled C-section. I know that a lot of women prefer a scheduled birth; it’s certainly easier to plan around. But I just really didn’t want to have another C-section. The first one was almost too much for me to bear and I have this archaic notion that child birth just shouldn’t be… surgical.

I spent several weeks planning out my perfect birth. I made two “Labor Playlists” on Spotify… one with nice calming music and one with rap music, The Offspring, and Linkin Park… you know, just in case. I had it all prepared. I would go into labor. I would get to the hospital. I would graciously refuse the epidural and remember later that feeling everything means I get to feel my legs sooner and also not have a catheter. I would labor and then at the end of it all, I would have a baby boy and there would be minimal recovery time. I wouldn’t have to re-learn to sit up. I wouldn’t have to struggle to walk. I wouldn’t have to worry that the combination of sliced open abdominal muscles and a herniated disk in my back would mean that I would never fully recover to the point that I could run long distances again.

And I wish I could say that I’ve fully embraced the idea of this second C-section. I wish I could tell you that I’ve nodded and readjusted and smiled my way into realizing that a “healthy baby” is all that matters. Because, yes… that is surely what matters most.

But the truth is, I’m scared.

I’m frightened by the memory of the sheet so close to my face, the antiseptic smell of the operating room, the sounds and the tug and pull of my body being unwillingly ripped open by a knife. I am scared of remembering the feeling of helplessness as the epidural seemingly missed one spot and so the answer to every “Can you feel this now” was always a quiet and shaky “yes.”

Mostly, I’m scared that I’ll once again feel that inner control freak freak the eff out, attempt to rise up off the table with a defiant “Enough of this. I am done.” and then find myself waking up hours later in another room, while a different nurse fetches the baby that everyone has seen but me.

I want to be there for this baby.

I want to hold him in my arms the minute he arrives.

I want to calmly accept the surgery that will bring him into the world.

But I’m not quite there yet.



Posted on | February 20, 2017 | 3 Comments

The out of the blue reminder that there’s a tiny person in my uterus never ceases to take my breath away. Every roll and tumble, every hiccup, every karate kick to my rib cage. It’s like he reminds me every so often with a little kiss of understanding that yes, I am growing a person. Right here. In my body.

It’s a bit more than a miracle, isn’t it?

It’s absolutely astounding that my body can stretch and mold and eventually yield a little boy who will learn and grow and become a person all on his own.

This morning, I lay in bed with Banks and giggled with every hiccup. My stomach shook and my ever-disappearing belly button puckered like a surprised gasp of “oh!” and we laughed harder at the absurdity of all of this. We’re approaching 40… both of us… and yet here we are, arms and skin wrapped tight around a new life that is all at the same ours and his own. I am 37 weeks today, far enough along that no one will mind if our little one shows up today or tomorrow, or any time before the scheduled arrival of March 6th. He’ll be here in no more than two weeks.

It’s crazy how life can change, isn’t it?

I am 39 years old.

I am expecting my second child… any day now.

My stomach is stretched as far as it can go, pressed firm against the outside world. I am exhausted and shell-shocked and delighted and, yes, scared, about all that life has in store for this unexpected next chapter. There are so many things I had forgotten about pregnancy… the little things… the bumps and bruises, the kicks and punches. The gas. Dear Lord the gas. I’m like a frat boy after three day old pizza and beer binge. There’s heartburn and waddling, and the feeling that a very large bowling ball is about to drop and roll straight out from my legs. There’s interrupted sleep, and so many trips to the restroom that my feet automatically head that way any time I stand up. But mostly, I’d forgotten this feeling of carrying around a secret… a little person known only to me. For now. Eventually I will share him with his father and brother and extended family. Eventually I will share him with the world. But for now? He is only mine.

It’s a bit more than a miracle, isn’t it?

Average Joy

Posted on | January 4, 2017 | 4 Comments

This morning, I dropped J off at tennis camp and set off towards work.

It was just another average sort of morning… I got up, I ate breakfast with Banks, I complained about how slow J was moving towards the inevitable task of putting on socks and shoes. (If you’re a parent of a boy, you can feel my pain on just how many times a morning I say the words “Socks and shoes.”). It was just an average sort of morning.

But as I pulled onto the highway to work, blasting a playlist from a few years back, I suddenly realized something I hadn’t felt in quite some time:

I felt… happy. Content. Possibly even delighted with my average little life.

I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a second little boy.

I’m married to the most frustrating, lovable, obnoxious, and wonderful man.

I have a 7 year old who, for the most part, is one hell of a human being.

And I’m deliriously happy with my average little life.

Do you know how wonderful that feels? Have you ever lived through a spell of life that’s so heartbreaking that you wonder if you’ll ever breathe normally again? Because that’s what divorce and single-parenting was for me. It was a heavy, dark cloud of confusion and fear and worry. It was waking up every day grateful but also so frightened of the hours that spread out before me. It was wondering if I was unlovable, wondering if I was broken, wondering if I was breaking my child with the weight of my wondering and worry.

And as I smiled my way through the drive to my office this morning, it occurred to me that there are a lot of men and women going through that same thing this morning. There are a lot of people who woke up wishing for an average sort of life… one with a partner who treats them as an equal, who loves them as an equal, who speaks to them as though they are wonderfully and prayerfully made.  So to those people… to those friends of mine who are hunkered down, weathering the aftershocks of a husband or wife who left, wondering if there’s life after the aching emptiness… I have to tell you… there is.

There is wonderful, glorious, beautiful life out there.

There is deliciously average life just waiting to be embraced with both arms… when you’re ready to stretch them wide again.

This morning I dropped J off at tennis camp and set off towards work.

And in the midst of my exhaustion and commute, I took one long lifetime of a moment to realize that I am so very happy. It is my hope for each of you that you find your own average little happiness just waiting to be owned in 2017.

Happy New Year!


Posted on | October 21, 2016 | 7 Comments

I ended my last post with just a sentence, nothing exciting, but some of you had questions. Did it mean something? Was there a hint of information behind that innocent little period? Was I trying to reveal a little piece of what’s been going on in my life… a life that has been unfolding in a real way rather than a written one?

The short answer is “no,” I wasn’t trying to reveal anything. I honestly just forgot that I was holding this piece of me from the blog, maybe hoping that by not putting it out there, everything would be fine. Perhaps feeling that if I didn’t mention it here then it wasn’t really real, you know? Even if everyone else knew. But the long answer is still very much “yes” with fireworks and that burst of hearts exploding on your screen.


At nearly 20 weeks, it feels almost real enough to say here, finally, that I am playing host to another little boy, a brother for J, a piece of our family we didn’t know was missing. But it’s only almost real; not fully real yet…at least  not for me. I still have that moment of panic every time I use the restroom, waiting to see red and examining the tissue in my hand for even the slightest of pink. I wonder more if he’s okay, if he’s functioning properly… all fingers and toes and valves and bones rightly put together in a way that makes a keep-able baby… not a lose-able one. I poke more for motion, pressing gently as if to quietly but urgently ask “are you still there?” maybe more than I should. But every appointment, every ultrasound is one held breath away from loss or hope … wondering if this is the moment when he disappears but praying it is instead the moment I settle into mothering another child, expecting another child.

Because as much as I long to, I honestly I don’t feel “expectant”.

I feel anxious and worried, terrified and alarmed, and constantly prepared for only the worst of things.

The thing is, no one can really prepare you for what it feels like to carry a child after you mis-carry one. No one can explain to you the reluctance to purchase baby items, the desire to forget you are carrying a child in case you carry him wrong… again. We haven’t picked out names. Our “nursery” is just a collection of boxes that haven’t made their way to the attic from when Banks moved in a year ago. And though I feel I am doing this child a great disservice for not talking to him more, not getting to know the life inside me, I am reluctant to let myself love in the grand, big way that a mother loves a child. So on top of the fear, I worry that I am also scarring him for life with my anxiety and my forced nonchalance that comes with desperately holding on to the pieces of myself so I don’t grow too attached… just in case…

So yes, I am having a baby, though I stop short at saying I am expecting.

I am, I suppose, only secretly hopeful and anxiously yearning for a far off moment when I am able to hold a second child in my arms.


Posted on | October 17, 2016 | 1 Comment

There are times in your life that you want to forget; times when you made terrible mistakes; times when terrible things happened to you or to people you love. There are times that when you think of them,  you cringe and wonder how that part of your life existed in any form, ever.

For a lot of people, many of those times came around high school. And me? Well, like most people, there were so many things I thought I should have done differently then. There were people I hurt and people who hurt me… times that I thought my whole world would blossom or shatter over what he or she said about or did to me. Because when you’re 15 through 18, the world is that building and those people. You honestly and fully believe that your universe can and will be destroyed by one bad outfit choice or one awful hair cut.

When graduation came around, I was genuinely excited to move forward and away from the people who had known me through my awkward teen years. I was ready to leave the memory of that tall, gangling, moody girl behind and embrace some magical new me that would  automatically spring into existence with her entry into “University.” For the most part, I made the decision to leave her… and have left her in my past… along with all the people who knew her.

But this past weekend, my husband, son, and I drove the long and winding road back to those high school years, presenting as requested by invitation in Greensboro, North Carolina, for my twentieth high school reunion.

Twenty. Years. (Let’s just not go there yet, okay? I’m not ready for that reality check.)

I’d love to tell you that I was confident and sparkly and ready to remember, but the truth is, I was terrified. Excited, yes… but also terrified. I am not the girl who graduated in 1996 in many, many ways… but in many ways I still am. And these were the people who knew that better than anyone. These were the people who held the memory of her in their heads, lying in wait to attack the me I am now and to remind me that I’m nothing if not awkward. And gangling. And moody.

I brought two dresses with me, figuring one of them would match the cryptic “dressy casual” attire listed on the invitation but on the night of the reunion, neither seemed right. I wanted to buy new shoes. And a new purse. Something expensive. Or something that at least looked expensive and lawyerly. Because I needed to look expensive and lawyerly so everyone would remember that I’m not 18 year old me any more… I’m now successful lawyer me, thank you very much.

In the end, I wore what I had.

With great trepidation, I let my husband convince me to exit the car and wander down the parking lot to the white sign with red and white balloons. It was going to be bad. What if no one talked to me? What if no one REMEMBERED me? A couple ahead of me turned and my head swam with memories: the roar of a basketball crowd, taped up gymnasiums and the squeak of tennis shoes against hardwood. A familiar smile lit up her face and before I knew it, I was wrapped in the first of a million hugs and just. like. that. I was only the best of me at eighteen all over again. No angst, no moodiness, no desperate quest to find myself… I was just me. Wrapped in the arms of a world of people who knew me when I didn’t even know myself.

That was how the night went… hug after hug, reminder after reminder that these people have changed and stayed the same, too. And the things I remembered about them grew blurred and faded like an old reel movie that skips a frame or two. The bad fell away and before me stood group of men and women who remembered when my face was less lined, my body less curved. They remembered the best of me: the moments I was kind, the moments I was helpful, the times I did something right and none of the times I let them or myself down.

This wasn’t a high school reunion… it was a rebirth of youth. A sweet, velvet-soft reminder that though we may not know ourselves at 18, those around us do. They know us and twenty years later they remind us that even when we thought we were floundering, we were still showing others pieces of our best selves to come. No one is a finished product at 18… hell, I’m still changing at 38… but this weekend, I was handed a rose-colored reminder of the “me in training” that I was… and she was more and better than I ever believed her to be.

So I’m glad I made the journey back, even though my legs are still aching and the tiredness from the weekend has seeped in and over my Monday like a heavy black cloud screaming “YOU’RE SO OLD NOW”into my ears. I find I’m suddenly proud to have been the girl I was at 18, all awkward and strange, because she was and is a part of the woman I am today. It may have taken twenty years, but today I am embracing that girl with her too-poofy hair and penchants for wide-legged pants. So I owe you thanks, class of 1996 for not only remembering me twenty years later, but for reminding me that who I am is and always will be tied up in who I was.

Also? Let’s do this again soon. When I can drink, too.


Making More of Myself

Posted on | August 25, 2016 | 2 Comments

If we’re being honest, I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make sure I’m not depriving my son of anything. Inordinate. And I’m not sure if it’s because I work outside the home, or because I was a single mom, or because his biological father is not a current part of his life… whatever the reason, I spend a lot of my time outside the office trying to provide memories and experiences and handfuls of magic.

And for the most part, I thought I was doing a pretty darn good job. I mean, he seems well-adjusted and happy… so how bad could I be doing? But then the other night, as I was putting him to bed, I realized I’d neglected one really important aspect of raising my son.

We were talking about his birthday dinner and he asked if I’d ever had one of the “Happy Birthday” chocolate signs that came on his brownie. I told him I’d had a “Congratulations” one when I went to the same restaurant for a bridal shower and he looked confused.

“I don’t remember that,” he said, and I smiled.

“Well that’s because you weren’t there, kiddo. It was just me and some of my girl friends.”

He thought for a moment and then shook his head.

“No. You don’t go anywhere without me or Daddo.”

At first I wanted to laugh because it was sort of funny that he thought that… and then I wanted to cry. Because somehow my son has reached seven years old and he doesn’t think I have a life outside of him and Banks. Somehow, I’d neglected to show him that I am a woman outside of being a mother and wife… that I am worthy of dinners with friends or pedicures alone. I have, instead, placed him in a world where Banks goes and does those things but I do not… I stay home out of some sense of responsibility or duty or some other nonsense. I have created a life for him where my only identity is as his mother or Banks’ wife.

And that, my friends, is SO not okay.

Because if my son doesn’t see me as a person… if he doesn’t see the primary woman in his life as more than just a housekeeper/attorney/wife/mother/cook/etc… then how will he view the women around him as he gets older? If they have vibrant social lives, will he frown at them? Will he think their place is in the home? Will he wonder why they aren’t busy tending their children, because his mother was always home… too tired after a long day of work to tend to herself?

I can’t have that.

It’s hard enough to be a woman in today’s society without making the mistake of raising yet another boy to believe that a woman’s place is in the home… tending the hearth, baking the cookies. I owe it to the future girlfriends, wives, co-workers of my son and those around him to get out of the house, to go dancing, to stay out past … gasp… nine o’clock.

I know we’re tired. I get it. I’m exhausted after a work week. And most of the time, I just want to curl up with a good book and ignore the world outside my home for a while.

But if going out on the town once a month does nothing more than gives my son the expectation that women… even and especially wives and mothers… need time out of the house without their children and spouse?

Then it’s time and effort well spent.


Loving the Moments

Posted on | August 22, 2016 | 2 Comments

6381_542327070484_5757269_nI’ve stopped and started this post so many times that it feels silly to start again. The truth is, my words are stopped up; choked into the space between my heart and throat and filling me with the strangest feeling of fullness. Because, well, I am full today. Yet I can’t seem to find the words to express just how overwhelmingly good or maybe… dare I say it… great… that today is.

Because, you see, today is my son’s seventh birthday.


My lucky number since I was born. The number I tucked onto soccer jerseys. The number I write not once but three times, every time I write my birthday. My lucky number.

And J? Well, he’s my lucky number, too, isn’t he. The piece of me I never knew was missing. The wide-eyed, startling truth of a boy who made me a parent and re-makes me into a Mom every single day of the year.

It’s hard to believe that seven years ago I didn’t know this amazing person who shares space in my heart and head. It’s hard to imagine what the landscape of my life would look like without sharing his lopsided, over-eager, tender-hearted vision of the world. He is everything I ever wanted to be and so much of who I already am and I couldn’t love him one small smudge on the clear glass of his space in my heart more than I already do.

I have several friends and acquaintances who are just starting out on the adventure that is parenthood and more often than I used to, I have to choke back the “enjoy it while it lasts” that inevitably comes to the back of my tongue when they talk about babies or toddlers or pre-schoolers. But, oh my friends, please try to enjoy it. Even when it rips away at the very soul of your being. Enjoy it when you can’t tell where your tears end and the leaking drip of your breasts begin. Enjoy it when you want to strangle and prod and spank and scream.

Because it passes so quickly. It all speeds by in a whirl and tug of birthday parties and swim lessons and baseball games. It flashes past in a montage of never-ending days, one more push on the swing, one more nuzzle of the soft fuzz of new born hair.

It pains me, it does,  to tell you to enjoy the late nights, the aching body, the frazzled mind. It pains me because I do remember those sepia toned days when the world was hazy with exhaustion and every hollered “no” echoed through my body like the sharpest of nails driven into my brain again. and again. But time paints and glosses and mends until the memories that stand the brightest are the curls and hugs and “I yuve yous.” Time waits and hands you a snow globe of the life you’ve molded, pressed and ready to view again and again with a smile at the images that peer out: first steps, spit prunes, puppy snuggles.

And before I know it, he will be even taller. Even older. Even farther away from the reach of my arms.

So today, on his seventh birthday, I remind myself to breathe in the sweaty boyness of him. I remind myself that these storms of attitude and anger and sadness will also pass. And in seven more years, I will look back on the memory of him now and wonder why it all changed so quickly and why I didn’t spend more time enjoying the multicolored moods and intense love of my long gone seven year old.

So it is with great joy and a touch of sadness that I wish a very happy birthday to the best person I know. May we both learn to love the moments as they come… every single one of them. 14066292_10100380721558184_3313450542525228686_o


Posted on | June 20, 2016 | 6 Comments

Father’s Day brought out a whole mess of emotions this year, this first year where we have a stepdad and husband. There were obligatory pancakes and sausage and gifts and cards. There was a little tennis, a little playground time, and some shopping.

And then, as evening rolled around, there were tears.

So many tears.

See, something I haven’t written about on here is what’s going on with the other “dad” in J’s life… the one who helped give him life, the one who changed diapers when there were still diapers to change. Around this time last year, maybe a bit later in the summer, that “dad” decided he needed some time off… a little break from being a once a month visitation “dad” and time to be a “Not even a phone call” kind of “dad.”

Mostly, J has handled this turn of events the way he handles everything in his life… with a sweetness and understanding that surpasses his years. I told him his “dad” was sad… that he was trying to get his life together and needed some time to do that. I told him that dad just wasn’t at a place in his life where he could take care of J, so I decided he wasn’t able to see J right now. And J has nodded and asked pertinent questions about what he can do to help his “dad” feel better. Because he’s a great kid. Because he is as tenderhearted as he is strong.

Deep down I think he knows that I took the blame… but he lets me.

He gives me this burden to shoulder.

Maybe, even at six, he knows that I gave his “dad” an out… a way to step back in later with a smile and a “sorry.” A way to smooth over the hurt he might have caused our little boy.

But even if he knows, I still maintain that burden, that blame, that sadness. Because it’s what parents do… we shoulder as much of the hurt as we can to protect the little ones we love.

Oh but last night, we reached a breaking point.

J has seen his biological father twice in the past year, both times for less than two full days. He hasn’t seen him since Christmas. I can’t recall the last time he spoke to him on the phone, though I believe it was at least four or five months ago.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. Yesterday, after he loved on the stepfather who adores him, J asked to call his biological father. The phone rang less than twice then the voicemail kicked in. A brief message was left, and the moment the “off” button was pressed, my sweet, strong, amazingly wonderful child threw himself in my lap and sobbed a mountain’s worth of tears.

“Why doesn’t he want to talk to me, Mom?” He asked between sobs. “Why doesn’t he miss me?”

And honestly, though words came out of my mouth, I had no real answer. This isn’t a puzzle I can piece together. This isn’t a booboo I can tape a bandage across and watch heal.

This is a heart wrenching, gut kicking, horrifying hurt and there is not one thing I can do to fix it.

So I did what we do as parents, when we don’t have an answer. I called for Banks. I held J close. I rocked him. I cried with him. I promised him that this isn’t his fault.

And then we both leaned into the arms of the man who is here every single damn day trying his best to love us both back to whole. We leaned into the strength of this amazing man who isn’t perfect but who is here, throwing the ball, answering the questions, reading the bedtime stories, and drying the tears of a child who isn’t of his blood but who is so much of his heart.

Because that’s what real fathers do.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at
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