The Married-But-Single Parenting Dilemma

My son has been off lately. He had a stomach virus two weeks ago that was heartbreaking. He could not eat for four days. Anything more than a tablespoon of liquid came up quickly. Anything solid came up even faster. Since then, he hasn’t been the same.

He’s become moody. Impatient. Even a bit rude sometimes.

The other day he said I forgot to give him a hug afterschool. I didn’t even know he wanted hugs anymore. “No, just not in public,” he said.

I apologized. I gave him a hug.

Yesterday after a mix up of whether he was to walk home or not after school, I ran into the school office apologizing to the office staff and him, hugging him twice while explaining why we were late. I thought he was going to walk home because it was only sprinkling at the time. I had no idea the rain picked up just before his dismissal bell rang. L even fell, scraping her upper lip, in a rush to get to the car. I hugged him twice.

Yesterday when we got home he cried. “You forgot to hug me again.”

Again I apologized.

I hugged him and he burst into tears.

It’s all too much for him. His absences have given him more work than he can handle. And to him, that is a great disappointment. After all, he gets his work ethic from his father and his type A-ness from me.

He is almost always patient with his sisters, a true feat considering A is one of his sisters. This morning I heard true frustration and irritation in his voice when he addressed them.

Last night my brother came over and I asked my brother to watch the girls while I spend some much-needed time with M. My brother even offered to take M to Game Stop and other cool hang out stops but M refused. He wanted to go with me.

Part of me thinks he may need more time with me and only me. Yet another part believes he needs a change. Spring break begins in two days.

In two days we will be back in the Monterey Bay. We will be going to a funeral of my aunt who was not really my aunt.

If my memory is correct, she had the same maiden name as my maternal grandmother. I believe they were first cousins which would make my aunt something too complicated for me even to figure out. All I know is that she lived across the street from me when I was a child, she took care of me when my parents had to work, and I called her “auntie”. She had a very large family that despite the fact I have known them all my life I still do not know some of their names. It will have been over a decade since I have seen most of them. And that goes without saying that many have not met our children.

Perhaps seeing his cousins and spending time with family is just what M needs.

I cannot even imagine what he is going through right now. I mean, what I go through sucks pretty major sometimes but I’m a grown up. I should and am used to it by now.

But him. I cannot imagine. To yearn for a father’s time and attention all day, every day. To only get his voice once a day for twenty minutes or so. To only see him a handful of times a year and even then having to share him with his mom and his sisters. To have the word “RETIRE” mean something magical. To have problems in school and with no one to talk to.

Last week one of his friends called him a nerd. I love being labeled a nerd.

Not so with a ten year old.

I asked him, “What did that person say?”

“That person said I was a history nerd. Is that an insult?”

How could having knowledge be an insult? I didn’t understand but it took me a whole lifetime to realize that words don’t have to hurt.

I tried telling him what he needed to hear. Hell, I even told him that I wanted to be called a nerd. But nothing worked.

I need to think outside the box. I need for him to realize this on his own.

I need parenting help from his father. Only twenty-three more days until he can help in person.

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