Shortly after we moved in together, into our new house and onto our new life, Benjamin started asking a lot of questions. Namely, “Does this mean John Bear is my Dad now?”
“Well, yes, he is your step-dad.”
As I’ve told you before, Benjamin was very quick to point out that technically John and I weren’t married yet, so that wasn’t possible. An idea, I believe he got from his step-brother and father. Wherever that seed came from, it was quickly thrown out by Benjamin’s logic. After all, his house now contained a mother and a father. Under the same roof.
If you’ve been reading my blog over the years, you know how much Benjamin has wanted this. So, during those first few weeks of living together Benjamin suddenly started calling John, “Dad” and “Daddy” or even “Father”. We didn’t make a big deal out of it, although, John was admittedly a bit thrown off by the sudden title. Totally understandable. It was even odd for my ears to swallow.
And then, he stopped. Benjamin went back to calling him John Bear. Fast forward to about two weeks ago after he returned from his monthly night at his father’s and Benjamin was back to “Dad” for John Bear.
Whenever he calls for him, it’s “Dad?” And whenever he sees him it’s, “Dad! Dad!”
And each time and every time, no matter where I am in the house, I can hear it and my heart skips a beat as I catch my breath waiting for John Bear to say, “Yes?” or “Hi, Goober!” or whatever his response is. And then I have to swallow the tears back down in my throat. This reaction I’m having will fade, I hope!, as I get used to the new title, but for now–I am still having a small case of disbelief at this new reality.
I want to let you in on this, to share with you a moment from a morning this week. Some mornings are better than others but on this particular morning everything was absolutely perfect. Benjamin was cooperating and marching off to the car, John Bear (as always) was fetching the car seat from his car and putting it in mine for the morning commute and I made a dash for my camera.
(Please try to look past poor Benjamin’s Lloyd Christmas hair cut. Poor kid.)
But just look at his face, looking at his Dad.
The entire time, he has his eyes on him.
John may not even notice it as much as I do, being the Mom and all – it’s much harder to miss.
That’s a smile that I can’t seem to shake.
Having known from the start of his life that Benjamin’s father and I would not work out, having the courage to leave when he was just four months old and the bravery to make a decision on my child’s behalf has given me the ability now to see things so clearly and to imagine what it would have been like had I stayed. Something that seems as impossible now as it did then.
I knew what was best and I knew I had to make that leap into the unchartered sea of single motherhood.
But I can’t imagine what it would have been like had Benjamin been older and already calling someone “Dad”. I just can’t. That is unfathomable to me and for that, I know most of you experienced divorces with older children, I tip my hat to you and say that your strength is beyond my comprehension. You are a superhero. And don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
Blast from the past posts: