I have been broke my entire life. Even when I had moments of great personal wealth, I was broke, or better said broken, in other ways. I have been consistently poor my entire life. I take no shame in that, there’s no upset in my mind or heart because of that, it is simply a statement of fact. It is important that I make this particular statement before I continue because, well, it’s going to get pretty obvious, pretty quick.
My son’s grandparents came down for the weekend to see him. Yes, I have three children, and yes, they only came down to see one of them. They came down and they took him swimming, and they took him out, they bought him a bunch of stuff. Stuff grandparents do right? Stuff that every single one of us has, to some degree, benefited from in the past. Myself included obviously.
My father-in-law’s got some money. He has worked his ass off for 30 plus years to get to where he is. He wasn’t given anything in life, and he worked his way up from the factory floor if you’ll allow the metaphor. He’s now an executive this or that. His family is incredibly proud of him, as they should be.
However, the flaw with my father-in-law, is that he is a big fan of showing people how much money he has. I don’t think he does it to rub it in the face of people who don’t have it, but it comes across that way. Now I’m more than happy to let him spoil the shit out of my kid. I really am. What I am not willing to do is let him only spoil the shit out of one of my children.
I get it, my sons are kind of difficult to do things with because they have special needs. I get it, it’s a pain in the ass to try and find a way to take a wheelchair anywhere with you. I get it, he doesn’t like me, so the less he has to spend around me the more time he could be happy with his grandson. However, and Naomi always agreed with me on this, he has three grandchildren, not just one.
So that was part one of the weekend, and oddly enough that was the easy part to deal with because I have been dealing with that off and on for about 15 years now. You get used to somebody looking down their noses at you and you just learn to turn your head the other way so you don’t get covered in the snot that comes out.
The double whammy was that it was Mother’s Day weekend. My in-laws are Jehovah’s Witnesses and they don’t celebrate holidays, any of them. I think they celebrate wedding anniversaries and one other one that doesn’t occur to me right now. So they don’t care that it’s Mother’s Day weekend it was just convenient for them and they showed up.
Mother’s Day is one of those few days or I am reminded so openly, and slap to the face harshly, of how much I miss Naomi.
It’s not one of my bad days of the year, it’s not one of those days where I curl up in a ball and cry and drink myself into a stupor and then throw up everywhere like I did last weekend. No, it is one of those days where I just bend my back and try so hard make myself believe that I’m a tenth of the parent that she was. I’m not calling myself a shity dad, at least not today. I do what I have to do to get by and you know what, my kids have food, they have a roof over their head, and I buy them the things they need, if not all the things they want.
It’s one of those days where I almost tell them to go say something to their mother before the enormity of it all hits me over and over again throughout the day. It’s when I see the commercials and the cards and the this and that. It’s when I look at Facebook and Twitter and Fetlife, it’s when I look at the real world and I realize that I am, while not unique in any stretch of the imagination, in a very particular niche as a widower father.
How to make myself feel better?
I look at these incredible people that I know in my life that have the pleasure, duties, and weight of being a mother. Not all of these people are women. Some of them are single dads like myself. Some of them are best friends parents who took us in, some of them are random friends that just decided that we were their kid. Work mom’s, school mom’s, even things like prison moms. There are a thousand different ways that you can be a mother. I am blessed in my life to be surrounded by people who are mothers. From my best friend in the entire world to people I have known for more years that I am really not comfortable talking about right now. They raised their children the best they can and they are goddamn superheroes beyond any stretch of the imagination.
So yeah, this weekend kind of sucked. In the end though, I need to look back at it and look at those mothers I know and see the enormity of the strength that they have with them every single day and know that the expression that it takes a village to raise a child is so much more true today than it has been in so long. I don’t raise my children by myself. I have Terry, I have my eldest son, my friends, people I love beyond words, teachers, social workers, nurses. Hell, every blue moon, my actual blood turns up to help out. I have these massively strong people in my network and I love them all to death, and I think that’s the one thing I going to leave this on is that it’s always about the love.
Or at least it should be.
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