At any given time I have anywhere from 10-20 ‘quick memos’ on my phone where I have jotted down a self epiphany or thought I need to express. Those memos usually make their way into my writing and are a guide for me on topics I want to write about for the most part. However, I have been working on 4 different blog subjects for over a month now and feel so much blockage and difficulty articulating what I actually want to say to make it readable and understandable for those who may not necessarily get the depths to which mental illness, grief, addiction and just life in general can take us. Father’s Day. A blog I started working on and just can’t quite seem to loop together but, here goes anyway…
Coming into this Father’s Day weekend has not gone as flawlessly as I had hoped. It’s another stain and reminder on what the reality of our household is. That I am the ONLY parent and Jackson, well, he misses his dad because he is no longer physically here. So, we try and celebrate with his sisters to remember the good, rather than focus on the pain of what is missing. Loving all the things we had, knew and loved about Jamie. Keeping his memory alive in my home is something that will never die, until the day I do.
Parenting is hard. No matter what the situation and even in the best of circumstances. Parenting is a full time job on it’s own. Jackson and I ran into a bump last week where, to make a complicated and essentially all is ok story, short, we had to take a step back, yet again, in a somewhat harsh way, where we have to visit the places issues may be stemming from. Is it general childhood growing pains or is this a manifestation of the amount of loss and grief this 8 year old boy has endured? I question my parenting. Am I doing enough? Is he coping worse than I thought? Did I miss something? What can I do to shift this into positive moving forward? That’s only 5 of the 1,0000,0000 questions I had run rampant through my mind over the past week or so, on any given day really. I cried, I slept, I was frustrated, I got angry. Angry at the entirety of the situation we are in to begin with. Parenting is hard. But, parenting on my own, knowing that Jamie’s hand will never be physically present again in the way I had always envisioned it would be for our son, well, that shit just winds you.
My parents separated when I was 9. I will never forget a day where upon driving us home after a visit, my father flat out said to us “I am your part time father now.” Years later I understood the selfishness of this statement but, what was the cost for his poor attitude towards parenting us 3 children? Well that’s another blog, another day however, it didn’t help my situation at all because those words essentially fell into not him being a father at all and absence of integral figures in our lives can and will effect us. The only consistent visitation my father upheld was when he was with a woman (RIP Patty) who was a single mom and looking back, I know she got it which is why we had that time. She helped try and assist not only my father but us to establish a new normal outside of our parents divorce. When that relationship fizzled, so did visitations with my father and he sank into the neck of a beer bottle for good in my view. My father was not present the way he should and could have been. And it angers me to levels sitting at 41 knowing this all while watching my 8 year old boy who cannot even attempt to visit a physical being. It breaks me into pieces.
I’ve been blessed with Bill, my loving step-dad who has given so much to myself, my children, his grandchildren and who always boosts me in this journey and doesn’t scold me for having a shitty past with poor choices and mistakes. He’s more proud I admit them than anything. I love him as if he was my own dad and tell him that every chance I get because I have learned so very harshly that everything can change in the blink of an eye. He means the world to our family that Papa Bill and for every shit choice he may make or has made, his heart bleeds more love and compassion than the negative any day. Bill and I have a very unique relationship and I respect and love him more than he will probably ever know. He is my adopted dad. You are one character and a half but, I love you so much, Bill.
I know dads pulling double duty as both parents and for so many different reasons. I know dads who do it on their very own, I know dads who are amazing dads regardless of a marriage or relationship ending. I know dads who fight to be every part of their children’s lives no matter what the situation or cost. I’m a dad now too and I feel like I’m failing at it to levels so throw me some dad advice, dads! A father figure is such a needed piece of growing up. They do things I as a mom never would be able to do, like take a fish off a hook for example. I will worm a hook and catch but someone release it for me! It’s much like life for me as a double duty parent. Bait it, but can I really execute the whole deal? Nope, because I will never be able to take that fish off that hook without assistance. I’m a mom who was thrown into the world of being the only living parent and I sometimes need assistance in the daily struggles we can face.
To all the dads out there who tirelessly work so hard, just like us moms, keep going! Keep doing what you’re doing and thank you for being better than my dad. Soak up every second of fatherhood because again, everything can change, in a heartbeat. Show respect for the dads that fight battles to even see their children, to the dads who are smashing stigmas against the deadbeats. I applaud you all!!!
To Jamie… we miss you. To places and corners no one would ever look or know. WE MISS YOU. We will celebrate you always and especially this Sunday. There will never be another Jame. Not ever. Never stop showing me you’re hand is here, even though I may not see it. I still hear you laugh, I still see you walking up to that fire pit. I’m grateful for the childhood and life stories you shared with me, the memories and laughter I get to share with our son because of how good the good was. Forever a piece of my heart you are and always would’ve been, no matter what. You are missed beyond measure by 4 beautiful ‘mini-you’ humans who also hold a very special piece of my heart forever too.
Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s, to Bill, to Steve, to Jamie. The dads that showed me that being a dad is never a part time gig.