This morning as I drove my son to school for his last semester exam a radio commercial mentioned the upcoming holiday that I’ve had both the privilege and burden of bearing alone, Father’s Day.
My son, simply stated, “Oh that’s right, this Sunday is Father’s Day!”
The next two minutes were heavy and empty. My son was the first to pierce the cloud of confusion and hurt obviously coursing through both our veins with, “Mama, you’re going too fast!” I rebuffed, that I was coasting, that I had taken my foot off the gas and that I had to pump my brakes before coming to a complete stop. This was my measly excuse. Yet, in my mind, I kept thinking of the decisions I’d made and how I had indeed made them too fast, that I hadn’t taken the time to pump my brakes, but instead, stopped some things abruptly, jolting me into consequences I hadn’t intended. The opposite of the advice I’d attempted to give him today.
Regardless, the result of one of my choices sat across from me, needing me in ways that I felt incapable of fulfilling. I was no man! How on earth could I possibly continue to raise one alone? I’d been confronted with so many blatant reminders of just how emotionally inept I’d been. I knew I’d not made him by myself, yet, a quick glance over the memories of my heart, regurgitated the reality that though I’d been married, not once, but twice, for the past 16 years of his life and the 11 of my daughter’s included, I’d been a single parent.
Funny how hindsight produces such perfect vision! Before, my son’s father used to attempt contact, but now, when it seemed my son really needed, “someone to talk to,” a disappearing act is his preference. This morning, I felt that tinge again….one mixed with anger and resentment…one drenched in regret and longing…one with the knowledge that I alone had no ability to fix for a son who undoubtedly felt much of the same pain, but likely on a deeper level than I had. I had no answers why his father decided he didn’t actually need to be one anymore. I didn’t want to bad mouth him. I didn’t want to see his tears. I didn’t want to imagine that my decision led to this fate. So I silently fumed as we continued to our destination. Thanks to a long night of Disney movies, my daughter was tuckered out in the back seat so when my son exited the vehicle I had no distractions. I was left alone with my thoughts, with my prayers, with unshed tears. I arrived at work and immediately felt my frustration surface as I jostled my daughter’s knee to wake her from her solace. She joined me at work today, but in that moment, I suddenly didn’t feel like going to work. I would have preferred to crawl inside myself instead…to hide the tension worn on my brow. I exhaled and she finally responded with a slurred, “Mama, I’m up…I’m waiting on you.”
I directed her to her own little corner of my world amid the abbreviated peckings on keyboards and the constant chime of unanswered calls. It was too early for that. She retreated to her Nook as only I wished I could. To go anywhere, but here. Anywhere, but where I was expected to “act” normal as if the impending “holiday” didn’t only promise a forecast of gloom and turmoil in a home I’d worked so hard over the years to keep sane.
My son was much older now. Three years had passed so I no longer could use the excuse:
I’m sure your dad is just really busy with work now.
He’s got a lot going on
would no longer be good enough.
He’s trying to get back on his feet
wouldn’t suffice either.
My head thumped with options that led to nowhere. The conversation would be inevitable. Recco would want to know why. I didn’t have the answer. I hated that I wasn’t able to prepare a response.
With Kayla settled, I slouched in my chair, starred at two screens, both as empty as the answers I’d concocted for the “discussion” that was sure to come this weekend. One where I knew a call wouldn’t come, a visit would be unheard of, and the thud of my son’s anger would pound every last nerve in my body. Tears refused to gather, so with what strength I had left at 8 am this morning I opened my bible. I had no destination. There was no divine scripture reference that came to mind. Only, a passing car’s license plate reminded me to “PRZGOD” In the moment, I hadn’t words to express what I really felt because my son was beside me, but as I indiscriminately thumbed the pages of “My Father’s” words, my eyes rested on a passage that had been underlined. I can honestly say that I hadn’t recalled the day I’d done it, though I could only assume that I had since, it was my bible. The passage was Psalm 10:14(NIV):
But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.
In that moment, I exhaled. I smiled. I rejoiced in the truth that God had not only kept me able to step in and be mom and pop when I had to be for the past 16 years, but He also made me willing. He reminded me in one verse that though an earthly version hadn’t been willing to reside in the slot by my side as a father for my children yet, that My Heavenly Father indeed had never left it.
Yes, I’m a single mother and yes I may have some hard questions, looks, and tears to face in the days ahead, but I’ve decided to rejoice anyway! It’s my prayer that the rest of you single mom’s do the same. So make it a Happy Father’s Day and Smile, because Your Daddy in Heaven thinks you’re the apple of His eye!