Sunday, May 3, 2009
At 6:00am the other morning, my son Q woke me up. "Mommy!" he whispered sweetly in my ear. "Hmmmm?" I grunted (I'm not a morning person to begin with, coupled with the fact that I had gone to bed at 3:00am, well...I wasn't exactly waxing poetic) "I really, really want a skateboard so I can do tricks like Uncle Deedee." "Ok," I said "Tell ya what, honey...go back to sleep. In 3 hours, we'll talk about getting a skateboard." "Mommy?" he whispered again. "Yes?" "Does this mean I can have one?" "Go back to sleep." "Okay." The next day we made a special trip to buy a skateboard. My brother, Uncle Deedee came as the "resident expert" on skateboarding, and Q was a happy little boy. Sometimes I wonder (note: when I say wonder, I really mean worry. Worrying is what I do. I worry all the time about everything, and if I have nothing to worry about, then the obvious thing for me to do would be to...worry.) So, sometimes I wonder if I'm one of those parents who tries to buy their childs love out of guilt. I'm a single mom. I work full time. The time I do spend with my son is usually spent cleaning or mundane everyday things that don't matter but are necessary to life - so I guess they do matter technically. I've lucked out because my kid actually likes to clean...seriously. I don't know where he gets it from, but it's not from me. I haven't vacuumed since he was 2. Vacuuming is his favourite, but he has found a new excitement in cleaning the toilet. Not a word of a lie, folks...today these words came out of my mouth..."Q, if you don't clean up your cars, you won't vacuum later." The cars mysteriously vanished in a matter of minutes. It's a blessing, nay he's a blessing! Anyways, back to the guilt. We've become this society of guilty parents. There are self help books galore that feed into this guilt. You should do this, you must do this, or else...I've even read a few of them. Well, that's not true. I started to read a few. But I get so overwhelmed at this task of raising my child to be an honourable man that I stop reading. It freaks me out. My ex is an emotional void, okay...not fair. He is the emotional equivalent of an 18 year old boy, and we all know how intuitive 18 year old boys are. They aren't. At all. He believes good parenting is ensuring Q drinks milk and eats his peas. No joke. That's almost a direct quote. So I feel like I am single handedly responsible for the emotional health of my son. Right now, it's pretty easy. He's a four year old child who loves his mommy (I love that he is a momma's boy!) But in 10 years, he will be a 14 year old pubescent male, and I don't know how to help him through that. I need a role model for my son. An honourable man who will help my son become a man who is in tune with his emotions, and is not afraid of them. It scares the shit outta me that one day Q might be in therapy because I fucked him up. I worry that he might become exactly like his father. I worry that he might become the 'typical' guy who can't commit, fears emotions (his and hers) and belches the alphabet after downing a keg of beer. Okay, okay, some of it I have not ability to control, no matter how I raise him. But I worry that I can't give him the tools he requires to make a difference in this world. Hell, I worry I won't succeed in giving him the tools just to be a contributing member of society. Will he just remember that I bought him things because I wasn't able to spend as much time as I wanted with him? Or will he remember the time we spent together fondly, even scrubbing the toilet and folding the laundry? I pray for the latter, but fear the former. As we speak, he is watching Blue Planet, blissfully naiive and innocent and perfect. I wish he could stay like this forever. I wish I could protect him from worry and pain and sadness. I wish he could be my little boy forever. This brings me to dating. I feel guity dating. I have so little time with Q, it's hard to justify spending some of that time with someone else. Truth be told, I haven't found anyone that I'd rather spend my time with. Most of the time, I'm thinking about what I'd rather be doing with Q. But my chest physically hurts. It started about a week or so ago. After going through my list of things it could be (after all, I'm also a mild hypocondriac) pneumonia, lung cancer, swine flu...I realised what it really is. I'm lonely. I crave the love of a good man. I know I should be grateful. I have a wonderful, healthy son, a job that supports us, loving family and fabulous friends, but I have a void. I long for a partner to share, and it's become a dull ache in my chest that constantly reminds me every time I breathe that I am alone. The excitement over Q's new skateboard lasted about 15 minutes. Exactly half of that time was spent putting on elbow pads and knee pads and wrist guards and a helmet. He's like me in so many ways and this was no different. He expected to effortlessly step on the skateboard, glide down the street and then do a 360. Frustration ensued when it became evident this would require practice. He kept saying, "I'm not gonna give up, Mommy!" Tell ya what dude, I won't either.