For years I have parented on my own.
From the moment I discovered my pregnancy to the moment I gave birth. I have parented.
Through illnesses and trips to the ER, I have parented.
Through choosing my profession over being with my daughter, it has been me. The choices have been mine.
I have raged against this at points.
I grew up in a family where the parental unit was a “unit.” My parents put their marriage above everything else. From this, my brother and I gained security and support. We saw our parents make decisions together; we saw them work together; and we saw them love one another.
This is what I wanted when I had children; yet, this was not the reality into which my daughter arrived.
Alone I have parented.
(And I admit, as difficult as it has been at times, I have loved every minute of it)
(Not to mention people, I am good at it!)
This is not to say that I have not received financial support, as I have. I have also included the Diva’s dad in all my thoughts, decisions, and activities surrounding our daughter. He has been one of my best friends throughout my years as a solo parent. Again, this is not the idea of “dad” that I knew or the one that I wanted for my child, but it is the reality.
In the last year, the Diva’s dad has become more involved with the Diva. They have started communicating more. They enjoy their times together more. They are developing a relationship that is singular to them.
I didn’t notice the power of this developing bond until a few days ago when Daddy had to miss his dinner with the Diva. After I explained, to the extent possible, why he had to miss dinner, she settled into the idea. She explained how to make the dinner she requested. She found the package of treats that Daddy always brings. And yet, she didn’t open them. She ate her dinner. I ate my dinner. The treats were never opened (and remained closed to date).
His absence was striking. The dinner didn’t taste the same; the dinner just wasn’t the same without him.
A bit later I came down stairs to find her sitting in the middle of the living room floor playing a game, by herself.
Tears gathered in my eyes.
You see, after dinner, the two of them play games. It is usually Boggle or Master Mind, but the games are a constant. They always play games.
It was Daddy night. She had her Daddy dinner and then played a game.
The Diva’s dad has become an increasingly significant part of his daughter’s life – something I support 100%.
Things are changing in his life right now. We are not sure how the dust will settle or where things will conclude, but the Diva is anxious to have her Daddy back – the dinners, the games, and perhaps the continuation of their developing relationship.