I have known my sons father since we were seventeen and eighteen years old. I met him during the time of my life when I moved out of my house growing up and into a house shared by older roommates/den mothers.
We had Caleb right before we turned twenty three and twenty four years old. We haven't been together for a good amount of time now, and as hard as a choice as it was to stay away from someone whom I cared for so immensely, it has always been the right choice. Even still, I have moments where I feel like it is my fault that Caleb doesn't have us together as a family like the precious family stick figure pictures he draws with dad sporting his everlasting baseball cap. It has deeply saddened me knowing that my choice in saying no has caused the family picture of the three of us to be somewhat inaccurate. While it is true that this is a person I will always care about, I have made consistent choices out of the intention for what is right and healthy. People hear about some of the things I have to deal with sometimes and they feel bad. They say they are sorry. What they don't understand, is I am not complaining. I mean, don't get me wrong, I do complain about stuff like anyone else to close friends. In turn, these friends hold me down and give me perspective, even if I am being a stubborn ass. But when I share about hardships in life, it is just that. Sharing. These hardships do not diminish the joy I have in my life. These hardships are just part of sharing life. It's not meant to make anyone respond with feeling bad. And sure, while there is hardship, there is an excess of joy and blessing that can so clearly be seen.
One of the things that is new about this year, is I can finally say without any measure of panic, that I actually do want to get married. Before now, it has always been a lofty possible future thing...a hypothetical "one day maybe" sort of thing. Now for the first time, I can say that it is something that I want. And I think being able to say that without any residual freak out feelings is a good and significant thing. Part of why this shift has occurred is because I realized how much I want a partner in life. I have been on my own for so long. I have been so strong-willed and independent for a majority of my life. I am getting tired of it. I am ready to just share life and have it be right and healthy. I'm not even sure if I know what that is like. And I think that's okay. I recognize this desire and I realize that God has his timing for all things. It's not a big concern to me. Right now, I work and I am a mom to my son. It is just him and I. And you know what? There is a real special measure of joy in that. It is such a special thing that I get to be in team mama and son with Caleb.
My friend provided this perspective for me that was so wonderful and exactly what I needed to hear during this time in life. She told me that her and her brother's favorite years with their mom was when it was just them before their step dad came along. It wasn't to knock on her step father, but it was simply recognizing those years when it was just with them and their mom. After that, I happened to come across an article written by a mother. She shared that while she is now remarried and pregnant with her second child, she looks back on her years with her daughter as a single mom with such a special and significant fondness. Memories that could never be replicated. I see that now with my son. I was sad because I felt like it was my fault we weren't that family. I could have chosen that. I didn't. It didn't matter that I made that choice out of stability and health for the both of us. I still felt mama guilt. Sometimes I still do. But this truth in my friends life helped launch this new perspective in me. It is truly a special time to be here with my boy.
And you know what? He has his moments and I have mine. He also has his moments of recognition. Last night as he was lying in bed, he told me that he loves me and that I am his Llama Mama and that he is my Llama Llama (reference to Llama Llama books, where there is a Mama Llama and her little boy Llama). Another moment looks like how he stops reading his story to remark, "That's just like how I love you!" Or he will tell me, "Mama, I love you, just like God and Jesus loves everyone!" He will recognize how I take care of him and how he wants to do the same for me. We have moments like that. Sometimes these moments make me remember to slow down my world a bit and just be present in the moment. It's almost cliche to say. But I am distracted...often. It is something I sometimes tend to feel bad about. I also get exasperated by my son's evident rowdiness. Still, the real gems in life are the present ones. The ones where I really see my son. And I can have this joy because really, I have so much to be joyful about. It is just about seeing it and choosing it. And I do.
Besides the wonderful friends and family we have, we have each other, during this unrepeatable and quite remarkable time (of just the two of us). And that, is truly a special thing.
Or maybe more realistically...