Sunday, June 17, 2012

What Makes a Dad, "Dad"?

Warning! This is a hot issue for me.

What makes a dad a dad? My own father hasn't been much of one throughout my life. Really he hasn't been one at all. Instead, the man I call 'dad' is really my stepdad (confusing many). Why? Because he was what a dad should be, caring, loving, supportive, and often just simply there. So far my son is lacking even that although we have many supportive male figures in his life, including my dad, my step brother, three brother in laws, and now, my fiance.  I guess they are close enough. But it raises the question, is Father's Day for single moms too?

I think so. After all, I am everything. I do it all. For most of the last 9 years I've had no one to turn to and have take over for me. And I have never been able to say 'go talk to your father'. He doesn't exist. He never wanted to really and my son's diagnosis put the plug on that one. I can't say my son has missed much. It would seem there isn't anything worth missing after that particular spectacle (for another day). So in the end, I have always been the comforter, disciplinarian, coach, cook, chauffeur, medic, etc, etc, etc. That is of course, in addition to working full time and going to school.  It's like I have 3 full time jobs.

Then of course I have to deal with the confusion of a child who has realized recently that he doesn't have a dad. Heck, he's a bit confused on what a dad is! He hadn't noticed it until another child from school mentioned something really cool he was doing over the weekend with just his dad. My mother and I had a heck of a time convincing him that he was well loved and cared for and also had plenty of men in his life who loved him just the same.  It is quite a challenge when you struggle over and over again to soothe him when he's crying over how he isn't loved because he doesn't have a daddy who loves him. He seems to follow it now, but every so often asks.  It breaks my heart.

I know the day will come when he realizes that the man I'm married to (soon!!) isn't really his dad. Then he will surely ask me about his real dad with whom I've had no contact with since that awful fateful day 7 years ago. I have no idea how to answer him. "Sorry son, but your father wanted nothing to do with you to begin with and since you're Autistic that was the nail in the coffin for him." ??? Yipes... There just is no easy answer to that. 

This is why I am so amazed by women who just can't handle their one child in a two parent household.  I know of a few.  They work part time (if at all), send their child(ren) to daycare, then call their husband to come home from work early because the hour they have the (typical) kids alone is just too much for them.  Really????  Thank you for reminding me of just who shouldn't reproduce!

A friend of mine marveled at that not too long ago.  He said he sees women like that and just can't help but shake his head because it doesn't make sense.  Then he looks at people like me who (as he put it) would have loved to at some point had someone that they could have had around to help, even just for a little while.  Someone they could turn to and say 'just take him/her for 5 minutes so I can breathe' at any given point.

He's right. I would have loved that on the nights when I was up literally all night with a wailing toddler who couldn't understand me any better than I could understand him when I had class at 8 am and 3 papers to write.  I would have loved that when he was literally bouncing off the furniture from couch to table to chair to bookshelf to desk for hours on end while I tried to get him down before he seriously injured himself.  I would have loved that when rescuing yet another cat from yet another trap he had set up for them.  I would have loved that when returning from a trip outside of the house to the grocery store or park or wherever where I was constantly holding him tightly and on edge because of his tendency to elope.  I would have loved that when we were at a relative or friend's house and I spent all my time chasing or looking for him so I could sit down for 5 minutes and get a chance to say 'hello' to our host.  I would have loved that to have a night out with the girls.  I would have loved that just so I could take a shower, ALONE!

Those married women take so much for granted. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change anything from the last 10 years. All I am saying is that if this woman, who had a child at a young age who was later diagnosed with a disability can handle everything life has tossed out at her (and it has never been easy!) without the support of a husband/father without batting an eye, then what is your excuse/problem?

I guess that's why they only get one day while single moms like me get two.

**Note: I know plenty of moms/stepmoms/dads who do step up to the plate. I am NOT referring to them here. This is in reference to those who are too lazy to lift a finger and realize that when you create life, you create a life-long commitment to that life. Instead, they prefer to let everyone else do it for them. In the cases of those women, what is likely very overworked husbands!

No comments:

Post a Comment