children / co-parenting / JME / life / me / Parenting / relationships / The Dad

it is what it is.

One of the newest things he's learned to use: his MobiGo - gifted by Santa himself.

Sometimes I sit here and wonder:

“Why is it that it bothers me when JME is across the province missing out on our daily life and the things that the little dude does or accomplishes and the funny things he says but most days it doesn’t occur to me that it should bother me that The Dad isn’t witnessing any of it either?”

Today I was watching the little dude write out all of his letters and tell me what each one stands for and it was so exciting, since he’s never really sat down to do just that, I was taking pictures and firing them off to JME like it was nothing.
Shortly after The Dad’s mom called, we’ll call her Grandma Z, to have a quick chat and return a phone call I’d made while the little dude was in the hospital and I was regaling his newest accomplishments and she asked if I’d spoken to The Dad yet.
Of course I hadn’t, we may be friends but we aren’t exactly great communicators when it isn’t absolutely necessary – or even when it is for that matter.

It’s just that some days I kind of forget about him.
Is that terrible?

It’s terrible isn’t it.
I feel like I should wake every morning hating him for not being there – for missing out on so many awesome little dude things.
But I don’t.
Most of the time I don’t even care that I don’t.

I think maybe our atypical relationship and nonchalant attitudes towards each other in the last two years has probably attributed to that.

There was a little.. experience I suppose you could call it, last month, that kind of made me waver for a couple of weeks but I very quickly returned to my current state of normalcy and that’s how it’s been, for the most part, ever since.

The experience wasn’t really as big as the word makes it seem – it was more of a moment.

A little bit of background info: Typically when the little dude and I travel between my parents’ home and Ottawa we try to make a point to stop at The Dad’s house (which also happens to be Grandma Z and Grandpa Grandpa’s house since he recently moved back in with them) halfway through Toronto and we usually spend the night. Yes, both of us, yes The Dad is almost always there, and no it wasn’t an issue between JME and I. The little dude has his own room, which we share and we aren’t usually there more than a night.

This night was a little different than the usual. The little dude had stayed there while I travelled on to Ottawa for a nice, extra long weekend, alone. When I returned a few different things happened – one that I won’t get into now as it isn’t relevant to the story and it’s currently in a post waiting to be published.

The first thing I noticed was that his dad seemed a little off – kind of down. He was a little more “fatherly” than usual. Doting on our son, changing diapers and even giving him a bath. This behaviour = not normal for him. Normally it is all passed off to either me or his mother.
The little dude called me up to watch him play in the bath and while we were sitting there The Dad turned to me and said:

“You know, I hate this. I hate that I can’t do this every night and that I miss out on so much of his life.”

While my mind was telling me “this will pass” my heart kind of felt for him. Even though I was almost certain it wasn’t completely genuine I felt pretty guilty about it.

Why I would feel guilty, I have no idea, but it happened and for the next couple of weeks I tried, I really did, to treat him just like I treated JME.
All of the little dude’s awesome anecdotes, anything hilarious, photos etc. were all sent to The Dad as well.
For the first couple of days he seemed like maybe there was a chance that it had all been genuine – and I’m sure on some level it was but it didn’t take long before he was back to acting like his normal self.
I couldn’t even get him to come to the hospital during the two days the little dude was there – and he wasn’t in Toronto at the time, he was literally on the other side of the block.

I can’t say that I understand how he can go more than a month without seeing or talking to his son and I won’t pretend that I can understand how he goes through his every day life acting like being a parent hasn’t changed him at all but I can say that 85% of the time I just don’t care.

I don’t mean it in a mean or malicious way, I guess I’m just used to things being the way they are.

He’s never been very present and he’s never seemed to care in the way you’d expect a parent to care about their child – and perhaps I’m biased because I’m the other half of the parenting equation and I love our son in a way I could never describe with words.

And then there’s JME.
Who calls to talk to, talk about and check up on the little dude.
Someone who’s been there for 2.5/3.5 years of the little dude’s life and loves the little guy in a way I only thought I could.
Maybe it’s because he’s been around longer than The Dad has and maybe it’s because he has spent so much more time with him but that was their decision. JME’s decision that he wanted to be a part of that, every day of his life for the last almost 3 years and The Dad’s decision not to be around for the last 4.
JME was given every opportunity to leave and The Dad was given every opportunity to be a part of it.
They made their decisions and really, I have no regrets about how it’s turned out.
I had no control over either of their decisions but they were made and it is what it is.
JME decided that we were what he wanted in his life and The Dad decided not to commit 100%.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, and it hasn’t been an uneventful journey but for now, this is where I am and I’m content.

JME was amazing.
In ways I can’t describe.
We we grew and learned together and somewhere along the line we sort of became a family.
He became a father figure to my son and I don’t think either of us ever expected that to happen.
But, like I said, it is what it is.
I wouldn’t change the way it all turned out for the world.

So sometimes I have to remind myself not to feel guilty about sharing these things with JME.
He was always the first person the little dude wanted to share good and bad news with, the first person that he wanted to call when he was sad, or got hurt or learned something new.
He happened to be the same person I wanted to share all of those things with.

It didn’t have a fairy tale ending but I think that we got lucky, the little dude and I.
Even if his dad hasn’t realized what he’s missed out on and is continuing to miss out on every single day.

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7 thoughts on “it is what it is.

  1. Don’t feel guilty about sharing these things with JME. He’s a part of your life by choice, just like The Dad isn’t part of your life by choice. Never feel guilty about or responsible for the choices of others. To do that is just crazy-making.

    • I try not to but it never fails that he’ll make me feel like I *should* feel guilty.
      If anyone should feel guilty it would most definitely be him.

      And he should.
      But my opinion is pretty biased. 😉

  2. I applaud JME for stepping up where The Dude’s biological dad couldn’t. It takes a real man to do that and not because he feels he has to – but because he wants to. I think your ex will regret his lack of involvement, if not tomorrow 10 years from now and unfortunately it’ll always be too late. I also applaud you for trying as much as you can to involving your ex by sending him the pictures and the texts – it’s got to be hard to do that even though you probably want to protect The Dude’s feelings and heart. But the whole not showing up at the hospital thing? That’s cold.

    • The hospital thing made me really upset – more than I thought it would.
      I think it’s partially because we were there literally all day with nothing to eat and no coffee.
      In a waiting room filled with geriatric patients who really had no patience for a three year old.

      You’d think that after all the times he’d missed out on being there for his son he wouldn’t think twice about being there for him when he actually could.

      But, of course, he couldn’t.

      I was upset enough that I called his mom and tattled.
      Yup, I’m a tattletale.
      Not that it made a difference of course.

      I really, REALLY, needed a break and a couple of minutes to myself. And a coffee.
      You’d think that wouldn’t be too much to ask for.

  3. You made a good point. Those are their decisions. I think it’s up to you to follow their lead. I also think you’re doing a damn good job of being a mother! 🙂

  4. I can relate to you in many ways m’dere. All I can say it really takes a very special type of man to father a child that is not his own & they are very rare. Don’t take it wrong, but with time, Lil J will see the truth & who really WAS always there for him. He’s lucky to have you & JME in his life. It’s a shame The Dad is missing out on things irreplaceable. But as you said, it is what it is. Keep moving forward because you are a great momma & no guilt is required because it isn’t you who makes The Dad’s decisions. Glad to see you are back!

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