I’m pretty sure my son came out of the womb asking “Why”. Seriously. While most little kids his age were singing their “A-B-C’s”, my kid was busting out the “Y-Y-Y’s”! Unlike Dear Ol’ Dad, I can’t tune him out when he asks so I’m sure I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time explaining everything from Why daylight lasts longer in the Summer to Why boogers are so slimy (good question!). The infamous “They” say that you’re supposed to encourage a child’s natural curiousity, so I’m pretty sure I’ve earned my Black Belt in answering questions.
I should have realized the questions were only going to get more difficult (although the slimy booger thing did stump me). But I figured I’d be able to handle it. After all, wasn’t I the mom who was able to somewhat explain the concept of the Civil Rights movement to my inquisitive little 5-year old after a million questions about “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day”?
I also should have known that the question was coming…
“Mommy, who’s your Daddy?”
Nope, not in a funky, slang kind of way. He really wanted to know. Let me start by saying that he has been blessed with an absolutely amazing Grandpa – my stepdad – who is an awesome Wii partner / skating teacher / swimming buddy / and all around great guy. My dad, on the other hand? Not so much. For a number of reasons I don’t fully understand, he’s chosen not to be a part of our lives – we haven’t spoken in over 10 years. He didn’t attend my wedding and he’s never laid eyes on my son. I have sent cards and pictures every Christmas, and have even left random voicemails on occasion to try and set up “the talk”. Nothing.
So, as an adult, I can rationalize, justify, explain and excuse all night long (seriously, I’m pretty good at it!) – but having to tell my innocent little boy who is the centre of his family’s world that there is actually a person who has absolutely no desire to have anything to do with him… that’s where it gets me. I realize I’m a tad biased but it breaks to my heart to know that someone is missing out on the sheer joy and blessing of having the most wonderful, curious, intelligent, sensitive, funny, amazing little boy in their life.
So that’s what I told him. I looked into his inquisitive, beautiful brown eyes and told him that my dad was the one who was missing out. That sometimes people make choices that we can’t understand but they’re entitled to make them. And fortunately he’s surrounded by people who choose to love him more than life itself.
Was that the right answer? Who knows… but at least we’ve moved beyond boogers…