I’m struggling on what the right thing to do is for my son. It seems so obvious, the answer I mean. But I look in this growing boys deep brown eyes and my heart breaks.
I didn’t grow up with my father. I was raised by my mom and step-dad. But he is the only dad I knew and he loved me as his own. He was not perfect, but he was there and loved me. He never hurt me, he taught me how to ride a bike, and helped with my math homework. We went on family vacations and I felt safe with him. Sadly he died nearly 18 years ago.
I have this amazing son, who craves a big family. It’s been he and I along with his older twin sisters. One moved out 2 years ago, the other lives here but being 18, has her own life. That leaves me and my son. He’s an awkward boy, socially uncomfortable, obnoxious at times, very loud.. he has some medical issues which explain this. But he also has an amazing heart, knows right from wrong, cares so much about those he knows, he’s funny and creative. He also doesn’t have a dad, or any type of male role model.
In the last 2 years, we’ve attempted on numerous occasions for him to have a relationship with his dad. He has 3 younger brothers from his dad, whom he adores. And my son cares for his brother’s mom as well. He’s afraid of his dad. He doesn’t respect him or the choices he makes in regards to how he lives his life, how he treats people, including his brothers. But my son is a bit jealous that his brothers get to grow up knowing both their mom and dad. When he starts to communicate with his dad, his dad is full of excuses but initially tells my son how much he’s missed him and needs him. This is exactly what my son wants to hear, but he also wants it to be true. Immediately he’s given excuses about cancelled visits and late pick up times. My son tells his dad he wants a scheduled day just for him, but his dad won’t do this. When he sees his dad he’s quickly disappointed, hoping to learn what good is in his dad, he is just reminded how cruel and selfish his dad is. There are moments, a hair cut his dad paid for, telling my son he had to over draw his bank account to do. His dad has a large family and lots of friends, his goals in life weren’t raising his children. He’s a selfish person and his life revolves around himself and his wants.
Soon my son starts to show negative behavior. Being disrespectful to me, his sisters, even friends, cursing and inappropriate comments. He thinks this is how “men” act and he’s tired of being teased for being raised with only girls. He’s confused and unsure how to be a man, and knows his dad’s behavior is not good. But feels it’s better than nothing. My heart is sad.
Being a single parent is hard. On more occasions than I’d like to admit I have attempted to take his dad back just because that’s what my son wanted. It’s short lived and like a tornado, leaving everything damaged and broken. We are so quickly reminded how evil his dad is. And back to trying to put the pieces back together and find our normal again. There is no other parent to discuss what to do with behaviors, or what consequences to impose. No other parent to tag when my day can’t possibly handle anymore. It’s all me. To protect him, guide him, teach him, love him. And after we’ve tried to allow his dad a chance to be a parent, to co-parent and work as a team, we are always left disappointed and feeling so foolish for believing he could be capable of being a good person. To come in with good intentions and stay focused on the goal, our son. Disappointment, hurt, and anger is all he leaves behind. And this amazing little man, growing into a wonderful person with the heart and strength of a lion.