A few weeks ago, I was walking out of Target. Parallel to me was a family of four skipping in the entrance all holding hands in a single formed line. It was like nothing I have ever seen before, besides in the happy and carefree Disney movies. The mother was leading the daughter, son and father behind her. They were all dressed like Sunday Church, and smiling in unison like the Clever family. It was almost sickening..
I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about watching a family that looked so perfect. Should I be realistic, where I know the word ‘perfect’ is far from reality? Should I assume that they only appear to be this cookie cut family, but really have the same struggles and hidden pains as everyone else? Should I feel jealous for not being able to remember what family felt like? Should I feel sad that I wasn’t able to show my son what it was like? Should I pretend that I don’t miss the unity of family? Should I act like it doesn’t bother me? Should I just get in my car and imagine that I didn’t see anything, so that in my mind, it never existed?
Sunday morning, my son and I had a long nice talk about how we feel and relate to each other knowing about broken families. As we feel pain for a friend of mine whose family is being split up, my son and I have felt the relation to them. It sparked some of my son’s own feelings about his father, and always knowing this life of his parents not being together. I began telling him my story about what I remembered about my family being together, “When I was little, I remember what it was like to be a complete family. We did everything together. There was a lot of good and happy moments, but there was a lot of bad also. One of the things I remembered was not seeing my mom smiling or laughing. She never looked happy”. Then, I began telling him what it was like for me in dealing with the fresh emotions of divorce, however not in great detail. I explained what divorce meant. I told him how my mother and I stopped talking for 6 years, but when we spoke again she was happy. I explained to him that all things happen for a reason. Our talk was nice, because he could see that I knew what it was like to know family, and know what it’s like to have a broken family as well. I could tell that he enjoyed our talk. It made him feel stronger for our friend.
Lately, I know that my son has been feeling the effects of his father being gone. He has told me a couple of times that I should start dating and get a boyfriend. He said, “He would kind of be like a dad…I have a dad. Daddy is my daddy. But I still think you should get one”. It is an interesting request from a nine year old. I think he’s concerned about me, but I’m more concerned about not wasting both of our time for men who can’t love us both. I don’t get time without my son, so there just is no room to date. And I’ve been truly fine with that. I explained it to my son, “That means you would barely see me, you’ll be at your grandparents all of the time.” He had a confused look on his face, “Well, I don’t want that. But I do still want you to have a boyfriend”. Sweet boy just wants an extra piece of happiness in our lives, and I get it, but honestly, it’s just not in the cards for us right now.
In fact the other day, him and I were laying in bed watching some of our favorite shows. An EHarmony commercial came on. He pointed to the screen, “See, they match you!”. I chuckled, “What do you mean??”. He replied, “It’s for people that want a boyfriend or girlfriend”. “Is that what you want for me?”, I laughed. He jumped on me, “Yeah! It says they will find your match!”. I laughed so hard! He’s really trying for me, but it’s still not going to work. I appreciate his efforts of not turning his momma into the next cat lady, but EHarmony can’t even help me right now.
I get it, I totally do! I want a full and functional family for us as well. My son and I have been on our own for so long, it would take a special person to fall in the loop of our love and craziness. We do deserve to have someone to help encourage, support and love us both. We could use another set of eyes to share all of the precious moments. We are worthy and deserve to know what a complete family feels like again. I want to give that to my son more than anything, but I can’t just snap my fingers and make it happen.
I much rather he change his perspective into believing that this is family just the way it is. He has me whenever he needs someone. He has his grandfather if he needs him. He has his father in doses. He has his mom mom and pop pop as well. He has a wide support system…just in pieces. It doesnt make us any less, it just puts us at every corner that he turns, there’s always going to be somebody there. We can’t be that cookie cut family scrolling through Target, but I guess we could always be the donut that has no end.