Monday, June 22, 2009

When Life Gives You Too Many Blueberries, Make Blueberry Muffins

So we made it through our third Father’s Day without turmoil. Not that I am expecting drama quite yet, but I am bracing myself for some down the road, when the girls are older and upset over some petty injustice that only a father somehow may be able to rectify. I am waiting for the “You don’t understand!” bellows followed by a door slam and the “Do you have any idea what it’s like for us, Mom?” conversation starters that will inevitably be a part of our family history. And then I will point out that they have not one but two sparkly, shiny, loving mommies and aren’t they lucky! But deep down I know if girls are sad that they don’t have a father, then there is nothing Nicole and I can do about it. It will be many, many years before the girls understand the sad reality that no family is perfect and disappointments are part of the game of life, but I hope they can realize that life and families can still feel complete.

I told the girls several times yesterday that they don’t need no stinkin’ daddy, followed by a tickle (called jibbies in this house) to get them to laugh, but that isn’t technically, exactly how I feel. Some day they will skip home from school (yes, skip) and ask us why they don’t have a daddy like their friends, and it will break my heart a little, even though I know it will still be a few years before this innocent inquisition is tinged with real sadness. I want them to have everything, even the things I can’t wrap up in pretty paper and top with a bow. I want my daughters to have male role models, but we are severely lacking those, except for two uncles who are busy with their own families. Female role models, we have those in spades. My girls will grow up surrounded by some amazing examples of Woman. I offer them those examples on a silver platter, not as a consolation prize, but as a web of love and support and guidance. Role models, live, in the flesh, and not just in books. Our friends have so much to offer our girls. And some of them will be able to show them how to apply make-up, because we two mommies are not good with that (I apply eye shadow with my pointer finger).

Such is life, as someone used to say to me. (I think it was my babysitter growing up.) This is our reality, this two-mom-no-dad paradigm, and while mimizing the importance of strong male role models is not the most mature road, and one I won’t take when the girls are old enough to really understand what I am saying, it is my coping method right now. After all, I was raised by a single mom and understand in a sense what it is like to go through the day-to-day without a father figure around. I am fully aware that some people think my girls will be emotionally damaged by not being raised with a father. And I know that some people are all “Oh it’s FINE!” to my face, but, behind their closed doors think that it is wrong for our girls not to have a dad. (Maybe I am just good at reading people, but it is shockingly easy for me to know when people are saying one thing to me but believing another.) For me, it isn’t a matter of right or wrong. What is important is that they have two loving and supportive parents, period. That is all any child needs in life: A loving, understanding and nurturing adult. Gender (male or female) and quantity (one parent or two or three or four) is irrelevant. It’s quality, not quantity. But it took me 37 years to learn that, and I still have my bad days. I want the girls to know this by their third birthday. Fourth, tops.

Pictured above, sunset over the Long Island Sound on Friday. This is why I would love to live on the water: I could see this every night. Below, Avery sitting on her couch/sister.


amy said...

i can totally relate! our 3 year old has already innocently asked why she doesn't have a daddy a few times after hanging out with various friends and their daddies. we've always read books about how families are different so i started reciting, because some families have a --- and let her fill in the blanks with several different scenarios as we've ready a million times in the book and when she got to two moms she excitedly exclaimed, "like me!!"

it was still hard for me because like you i want her to have everything and want for nothing but the reality is all we can do is our best. and our kids are luckier than most with the abundance of love and support they get from the 2 incredible mommies they have! hopefully that will help get them through the awkwardness that facing society with a family that looks different than most of their classmates may create.

K J and the kids said...

What I'm always thinking, you say it best.

Just a little note (only really quite long). A friend of mine has a little girl who is in therapy (her moms split up) After one of her sessions the therapist sat down and talked to her moms about some of the issues. This little girl is going to be in 1st grade and has already been hearing the, "you can't have 2 moms, where's your dad?, who's your dad ?" stuff from daycare and school. so the therapist talked to my friends about this and said...the way to handle it is....if they come home and say, "I wish I had a dad. why can't I have a dad...etc" instead of our smooth it over standard of "you have 2 moms....aren't you lucky...two moms ROCK !" (which is what I planned on saying) she said to address them with "I know. Having a dad would be fun/nice/great. I'm sorry you're sad"
What it comes down to is....validate their feelings. It's ok to be sad about not having a dad (period)
Touch on the....2 moms ROCK ! later :) ha ha


calliope said...

awesome post on a subject that I think about more than I want to. I also suffer from a total lack of good, sturdy, Atticus Finch style male role models and I hate that.

Kerry Lynn said...

Wow, I had never really thought of that before.
I would think having two of the best mommies in the world would make up for not having a daddy.

I wanted to let you know about a new blog I started where I can be uncensored. Way too many people I know read my current blog. You're on my blogroll.