February 24, 2011

Taking my breath away

Thing One having a good day with Big Cheese. 
I knew that someday I was going to get questions from the Things about why Mommy and Daddy were in different homes. In my imaginary world I was hoping that this would NEVER come up since Thing One was 18 months old and Thing Two was 4 weeks old when we split up. Thing Two has never known really what it was like to live with Big Cheese, all she knows is two homes and she gets to see him Monday through Friday for a couple of hours. Thing One did however miss Big Cheese the first months he was gone from the house. He would often go and knock on the door to the garage, where he could find Big Cheese in his man cave. He would yell out “DADDY!”, his little mouth would droop down to a pout when he got no answer. It would break my heart when he would do that. Eventually Big Cheese and I set up a time and date for him to see the children, and things were ok for sometime and Thing One became adjusted to the routine.

For the past three weeks Thing One has been really whining a lot. He has not been as complacent to go to the baby sitters in the morning. He clings on for dear life and tells me “I want to stay home, pwease call daddy!”. I figured he was just going through a latent separation anxiety stage. I thought back to the day all this whining started. Then it clicked, it was the day in his Gymboree Sports class when I was the only Mommy there. All his friends had their Daddies. He turned to me and asked “Where Daddy?” I lied to him, I hated doing it, but I did. “He’s at work honey”. Big Cheese was actually home or out with his brother, watching a sports event on television, drinking beer. I had often asked him to try and do every other weekend with the kids, for their sake and for mine. He just told me not to tell him what to do and how to run his life. Big Cheese emphasized that he had things to do for himself, like laundry, on his days off. I was infuriated with that answer because in my mind parenting is not just Monday through Friday and things can get done with children around. Is it harder to do, yes. Is it impossible, no. I eventually let go of the idea of the children going to see Big Cheese every other weekend.

Last week I was teaching Thing One his last name and that we all have last names. We went down the list of his family. Big Cheese, Grandpa Cheese, Nana Cheese, Big Brothers Cheese, Thing Two, and Thing One, all had the last name “Olivas”. Thing One then asked about my last name. His little eyebrow furrowed when I told him my last name. He searched my face for an answer and questioned “You not Mommy Olivas?” I just responded quickly and simply “No, mommy is Gomez”. He still looked for more in my face. I moved on to another topic. Then later that night as I put him to bed he asked, with his very big sad baby brown eyes staring at me “Why Daddy not sleep here mommy?”. That one question took my breath away. I had to get my breath back and just had to remind him that we had different houses. I just gave simple answers to not so simple questions.

I think it is harder for me to explain it to Thing One, because I know what it is like to miss a father. I know exactly how painful that is, to know you can’t see Daddy for one reason or another and to really need that part of you. I lost my daddy at 12, and he was the best daddy ever. Even though I have my opinions of Big Cheese and his parenting style, it doesn’t stop the fact that Thing One thinks the world of him and needs him. This is why it is painful for me to explain the simple terms as to why his Daddy isn’t always there. I guess in time it will get better and I just need to trust that I am doing the right thing for him and his sister.

I am hoping this is just a phase and I will see a happier Thing One soon.
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