Being a single mother for almost 8 years, I learned how to do a lot of things on my own – including how to be a fabulous solo parent. That was until my husband, the dude, came along. Since that time we’ve been handling this thing called parenting like a tag-team. There are days when I want to choke the kid, and there are days when he wants to body slam the kid. But everyday we both spoil him rotten and shower him with love unconditionally.
Just for a minute, let’s back up approximately 20+ years ago. I met The Kid’s bio-dad. We attended the same high school. We went our separate ways. We crossed paths again in 1995 and the kid was born in 1997. Since that time his participation in this parenting thing was practically non-existent. We won’t dig up past court papers and failed attempts at visitation. After a certain point, I just gave up and worked this job solo for a while.
This shot is one from The Kid’s photo shoot which took place on his 14th birthday last month. In an effort to make sure that The Kid is still connected to his other family, I had a scrapbook created for them and sent it off to the grandparents’ home. His paternal grandmother called me today to let me know that she received it. She mentioned how much he looks like his father (Jesus keep me.) She went on to say how the bio-dad had a hard time seeing when she took the pictures to him.
Oh, I forgot to mention, that the bio-dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis approximately a year after the kid was born. Since that time his health has deteriorated tremendously. His health is so bad now that his aging parents have made the decision to place him in a nursing home. He can’t walk and can barely sit up unassisted according to his mother. I sort of expected this because of the condition he was in the last time we visited him. I did NOT expect her to share those details with my son on the telephone without me preparing him.
Insert long ass sigh right here. *sigh*
My frustration is not because a former lover is now ill and rapidly deteriorating. I love my husband with 1000% of my heart and the old flame is surely extinguished. Instead, my frustration is due to the loss of an opportunity – the opportunity for The Kid to experience a relationship with his biological father before he became wheel-chair bound and confined to the walls of a nursing home at the age of 40. It is also because whenever I discuss his health with the kid, I hear a sense of guilt in his voice in addition to fear. The guilt, I believe, is because he openly shows his love for my husband (the dude) and wouldn’t trade him for the world and he didn’t have the chance to do that with his bio-dad. Also, on more than one occasion he’s asked if there is a chance of him being diagnosed with MS. That’s the fear.
I recently realized that one of the most difficult conversations to have with your child is one about their own mortality. Not the one that comes with “you must be saved so that you can go to heaven when you die.” But we’re talking about your physical being no longer functioning and facing death head on. *woosah*
I thank God for giving us (all 3 parents) a son who is loving, kind, smart, God-fearing, intelligent, and patient. He’s still struggling with understanding how to balance both fathers and he’s done a fabulous job. Neither of his parents, including myself, are perfect and he’s been more than patient with us. Imagine that. We’re the ones who often want to body slam him but he has had to be patient with US. I just pray that when the time comes, and it seems to be rapidly approaching, that God gives this kid the strength to hold his head up and push forward and honor all 3 parents in his journey to fulfill his purpose in life.
It has taken a long, long, long time for me to hit this stride in my Christian walk when it comes to dealing with the bio-dad and his family. After all, these were the folks with whom I didn’t see eye to eye on many occasions concerning The Kid. Man, I tell you this “growth” thing is difficult. The human nature/flesh wants to say fuck it and tell The Kid to not look back. But the Christ in me realizes that it’s time to let some things die in order for other things to live.
Looking back on the events of last week I was surrounded by what I referred to as a death theme. Everywhere I turned, somebody was experiencing a loss suddenly. On top of hearing about the deaths/loss I was keenly aware of the “death theme” everywhere I looked in the social media arena. Facebook. Twitter. CNN. You name it. Everybody was posting RIP so-and-so.
What really topped it off for me was bible study last week. I sat my black ass down thinking I was going to get a refreshing Word from Pastor Baldwin and what was his topic? “Dealing with a loss/death.” I literally wanted to throw my bible at him. Conviction is real. The one note that I recall writing is : “Remain in prayer; help me deal with those interpersonal issues. Remove barriers. Praise Him because of what you believe and not how you feel.”
At the time I had no idea why I was sensing all of this “death stuff”. I was honestly bracing myself for the death of someone in my inner circle. I wasn’t hoping for it but I felt that something was going on. Now I know.
In order to gain my full stride in this Christian walk I now know that I have to let go of those things which were weighing me down. For me it was unforgiveness. Yep. That sin called unforgiveness was such a weight that it was keeping me from moving forward in other areas of my marriage and my spiritual life.
Yes, I hate that my son’s biological father is critically ill and may not live to see him graduate from high school. However, I now release him from the past disappointments that I experienced because of his decisions. I release my son to openly love both of his fathers without guilt and/or fear.
Losing that extra burden is freeing me (it’s a process folks don’t act like you’ve always been right with God) and providing space for something greater. My prayer now is that we can coach and guide The Kid on how to move forward in this situation. He’s well grounded and stable and also very loving. So I know his heart is experiencing a change right about now.
Keep us lifted and pray that I keep my mouth shut. The flesh is still a messy thing to deal with and it often wants to bubble up and say “every dog has its day”. I have to remind myself that even the dog is one of God’s creations.
Left. Right. Left. Right. (finding my stride – ready to run next)