Hold me to this. I have an idea. One that will some day hit Barnes and Noble. With my name on it. A children’s book. A classic , award winning series”. I will call it “One is enough”. I will even illustrate it (there goes my art skills in action). And it will be dedicated to my sweet daughter.
My story will be meant for children all over the world (offered in every language and in every library). It will discuss various situations in life where one parent was enough. I will make a series for fathers and for mothers who are single. From being widowed, abandoned, divorced etc. For all of those situations. The ones where people wonder, stare and question (sometimes out loud) if one parent is enough. Guess what?
It can be.
I have had a rough but enjoyable journey with my daughter.
My ex had tried a few attempts at being in her life, mostly due to my dumb encouragement on giving her a chance to know who he was. It did not stick. It just did not work. One of the two of us was mature and ready enough to be a parent at 16. The other, not so much.
I have stressed and thought over and over about what is best for my child. Not what looks best. Or sounds best. But what is functionally best for her well being. For her future. She has on her own questioned things. All she has ever known is mom. She has literally been with me her whole life without view of another parent for any of her milestones. I have packed every lunch. Set every bath. Kissed every booboo. Wiped every tear. I have 100% supported her life and well being. But some insist that it is still not enough. It cannot be enough for her to have one parent. She must be lacking in something from deprivation. She must have some ugly or bitter trait from not having two parents. She must be forming “daddy issues” or not comprehend where babies come from.
Even some judge, somewhere, will tell me “that is not good enough”. The american, hetero-normative parenting diagram states that it takes two to tango. So when one parent skips out of all the responsibilities, memories, milestones and bills, its still inappropriate and lacking for a child to have a parent who does it all. That’s simply not enough to meet everyone’s standards.
Of course not everyone admits this out loud. They do it through actions. Its so normative to have two parents that a child with one is questioned out loud if their other parent is dead. Or disappeared. Its natural for kids to question things. But who fills their heads with the idea that it is OK to ask another if they are missing or lacking something? How does that child feel when other kids ask them why there is no dad or mom. Like shit probably.
I have not raised my daughter to go around asking people why they have or don’t have a parent. I have told her countless stories about families of all colors, sizes and orders. Some families have two moms. Some families have two dads. Some families have just grandparents. Some families have a mom and dad and sisters and brothers. Some families are made of many relatives living all together. And then, there are some families with just a mommy and a child. And that’s OK too.
Its such a sensitive thing, explaining reality to a child. Those moments we have to burst their innocent bubble and fill it with the grime of the earth. The things we hope to not cause them pain or anguish. Yet we have to. Some information needs to be explained so that other kids don’t fill their heads with bad feelings about it. I have had to sit my child down when she asks why some families have dads and some don’t. She has asked me why I do not have a mommy or daddy. In her eyes, I am everything. And I have all the answers. I am the all knowing mommy god. I try to be light in detail but truthful. Since those times, some kids have asked her about her parents. She simply tells them ( in a strong statement), “I don’t have a dad, I have a mom”.
I do not wish to fill her head with negativity. I do not think it is my job to give her every detail and explanation on why my ex is not involved. Why he chose to make bad choices. I know some day he will have to answer to her when the time comes. That will be for him to come to terms with. What I try to focus on is what mommy and her accomplish. It is not about what we don’t have. Its what we do have. We have always had each other. That’s what we will always have. No matter what.
Being a parent is a full time job. It is exhausting and beautiful. To be a parent, you have to invest your full attention. Your every days. Your heart and soul. You have to be willing to sacrifice your last dime for them, your only piece of bread and your last breathe. They are a part of you. A literal part of you, only outside of your body. My daughter is like my heart, walking around on this Earth. With her own personalities, ideas and dreams. My daughter has a little bit of me but she is 100% her own person. She knows what she wants and likes, even at five. She is preprogrammed. She is not a toy or a puppy but a real person with a bright future.
I hope that as she grows, from the love and encouragement I give her, that she can be who and what she wants to be. She has had such a fulfilling childhood already. A normal one. Filled with friends, dance classes, stuffed animals, VHS tapes, classic bedtime stories and so many people who love her. We have a wonderful family built up by the friends we have made and real love we have been shown (not by blood family). It does not matter how anyone is related to us or not. We have been just fine.
To all the people who have had and will have the future audacity to ask my child why she does not have a father: it doesn’t matter. Its none of your business. Its none of your concern. My child’s single parent lifestyle is not contagious. It will not make your child rebellious or low income or crazy. In fact, having each other is pretty damn awesome. One really really is enough.