Yearning for Normal
I have so much chaos in my life, it's become normal. You become used to it. You have to just relax, calm down, take a deep breath and try to see how you can make things work rather than complain about how they're wrong. Tom Welling
Being a single parent is a very abnormal thing. The grand design purposely included two parents to shoulder the responsibility of shaping a life. In our society we see the single parent approach “succeed” because when that is your only option, you learn how to make it work. What may not be very apparent is that while externally, everything looks right, there are still gaps due to the absence of the other parent.
My sons played sports growing up. This was a good way to be a part of the community outside of school and church. It also gave them the opportunity to learn in a physical way. If you have ever raised sons, you know they come to this world with a wealth of energy. I never viewed this energy as a bad thing, but did recognized that it needed to be managed…because I couldn’t match it. While my guys enjoyed playing sports, it was also a secret weapon to help expend some of their energy. As you may well imagine, most sons had their dads close by, either as coaches or interested spectators. It was especially during these times that the absence of their father was very apparent. While it could be seen as a detriment, I think it gave them especially motivation to excel. They were viewed as valuable contributors to the team, primarily because of their discipline. My guys were always very self-motivated and really enjoyed the instruction they received from their good coaches.
I am of the opinion that children need instruction from their fathers; no matter how disconnected they are from their mothers. There are just times and situations when a sane, caring, male point of view is necessary. While I recognized these times exist, with all of my good intentions, I can’t fill this gap. These are the times I yearn for normal. The uncles, godfathers, neighbors and well-meaning fans have done their best to help, but nothing matches having someone vested 24/7 in your life. We have had conversations about this from time to time. The younger two acknowledge that they have supplemented that gap with their older brother.
We have had a few experiences when I recognize my best efforts fall short of what my guys needed, especially my oldest. He would probably say “Look ma, you did the best you could and you did a good job.” We have the kind of relationship where we can be brutally honest with each other. I try not to gush too much, knowing I have to find a way to give a balanced estrogen and testosterone response to most of what goes one in our lives. The times that I would like to scream at the top of my lungs, defer to the other adult or maybe through a fit because I am overwhelmed, I can’t do it. This is not the behavior I want them to mimic. So I stay in my controlled rational, “let’s examine the facts so we can determine the best course of action to take” mode. This is the logical path that I want them to follow, not the panic that I am feeling in my belly. You know what happens when you get emotional and panic, you make poor decisions and often make the situation worse.
I am concerned that I have created 3 men who have no idea what is coming their way when they marry women who haven’t had to approach every life situation in a logic manner. This is of course normal in most households, just not in ours. There have been a few situations when I have overheard the guys describing an experience we were navigating through and the voice on the other side of the phone says something like, “Your mom must be a basket case…understandably upset by the situation.” The response on our end sounds like “Oh you don’t know my mom, she is a rock!” I may be crying my face off in the shower, but in front of them, I show a human side without completing falling apart. I hope that will help them set a normal tone in their adult lives.
For right now, I treasure each normal/abnormal moment with my guys. We never know what the future holds, but knowing that life if fleeting, I have learned to enjoy each moment as it comes.