Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Balancing Act…

Everything in life is just that…a balancing act. I am finding this is even more so for parenthood and more specifically single parenthood.

Someone once told me that you can never be both a mom and a dad. Ok, I understand that. Physically, can not be both. And yes, there are limitations to all of us and how much we can be for our children. But I think one can try as hard as hell to be as much emotionally and physically that they can be. No, I am not a replacement for David and never deluded myself into thinking I ever could be. But I will attempt to fill the gaps that he has left as well as I can.

I remember after David was diagnosed I used to watch him. Watch him interact with Alec. Watch him be a dad. We never gave up hope, but in the back of my mind I knew there was a very real chance that David was not going to be around to raise Alec. The diagnosis was terminal and although we fought like hell for David’s survival…that was ever present in the back of our minds.

God, it pissed me off. That Alec should lose his dad so young. That he would not ever know the amazing person he was. That from the young age of one and a half, Alec was never going to know his father as Cancer free…as healthy. I used to scream at the universe. With all the shitty dads out there, the dads that chose not to be present or who were in their kid’s lives but total jackasses. Why? Here David was. An amazing dad and yet he was not going to get to see his son grow up. He would miss his first day of school. His first heartbreak. He would not get to teach him to drive. Or send him off to college. It all seemed so damn unfair. And yet, as we have all painfully learned. Who said life was going to be fair? No one. And Alec is lucky in the fact that he did have such a wonderful father who loved and adored him. Even if he is no longer with him today and as he grows into a man, Alec will know that he was loved by his daddy and that if there was any way in his powers, David would have stayed. Would still be here today. And hopefully that will be enough…

David knew this would be an eventuality too. He rarely spoke of it. But he knew. It made him sad. It made him angry. But near the end he seemed to find some sort of peace with it. He worried about Alec and hoped that someday I would find love again so that Alec could see how two people in love should be. He wanted him to grow up knowing what a good relationship was and how it was supposed to be. He wanted Alec to have that role model. I thought he was fucking nuts. How could he be ok with another man raising his child? And yet, now I realize it was not about being ok with it. It was David being the ever pragmatic soul he was and that he was coming to terms with the eventuality of his death. And in the end, he was just trying to make sure we were all going to be ok since he was not going to be physically here much longer to do so. It sucked. But a lot about Cancer and this whole shitty journey sucked.

I remember early on, and even more so once the Cancer began to slowly break down David’s body, that I began watching his interactions with Alec. How he played with him. What he did. Because loath as I am to admit it, men and women are different. I may not be your stereotypical girl, but I am still a woman and I interacted differently with Alec than David did. I was more nurturing. More “motherly.” David was just as tender and loving, but he was also playful and fun! He would pick Alec up and swing him around, throw him to couch and then tickle the hell out of him. He would crawl around on all fours and get right down in the thick of it and just play. I watched all of this and drank it is. Capturing every moment. I think guys tend to be more “physical” with the kids. And I am not making broad generalizations or stereotypes here. I do not want a barrage of irate women emailing me. Ask anyone who knows me, I am all about anti-stereotypes and I break many typecasts every day. But some things I think are just how we are wired.

But as I watched, I committed to memory how they played. How they interacted. And I made a conscious decision three years ago that I would be all of those things and more. So now here we are. David is gone and I am continuing on this road of single parenthood.

I run around. I swing him like a monkey. We dance. We tickle. We play cars. We shoot storm troopers. I tend to be very physical with him and romp about. I will never be able to replace the loss of his father. I know that. I will never be able to fill the void that David has left. But I will endeavor to give him the best that I am able of both worlds…


At April 09, 2009 12:53 PM, Blogger Satine said...

Although you have terrible memories of David going through his battle with cancer until the end, I am glad to learn how many beautiful memories you have of his love towards you and Alec. I do not have that benefiting feeling left over for my divorce... and I guess that's the main difference afterwards: you will always remember David with love so endearing, and that's an amazing thought. :)

At April 09, 2009 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How ironic you wrote about something that broke my heart since I first heard about David and even mentioned to those that knew what was going on. I was so angry that this could happen to a man who actually loved his son with all his heart AND WANTED to be here on this earth forever with him. He ddored his wife with all his being and had such a soulful connection I sometimes envied. And he was a good man and his life was being stolen and the situation with Alec seemed to hit me the most. I was angry. My own father didn't and wasn't around because he didn't want to. He is still alive and kicking and why? I couldn't understand why the good men are taken away and the one that aren't so good continue to stay around. As you could tell I was pissed I would rather Alec have David then me with my father who didn't care to be a true father. I constantly questioned "why" when I heard a story on the news about a father not caring for his child but then knowing about David really wanting to be here with Alec. I hurt for you all in this matter so much.

I, myself, was raised by a single mother and although I am female I learned so much from her existence as a father and mother to me and my brothers. I watched her as she tried to be "the man" for those situations that warranted it with my brothers. She also could be the caring, loving mother when that was also needed. To me, she was amazing. I admire her so much for her strength, versatility and ability to raise children by herself. When I was younger if someone asked me who my hero was I would often name her. She really was to me - I often wonder now as a mother of 2 how she did it on her own.

I am confident with the woman you were, are and have become that Alec will someday also call you his HERO for all you've done and will do to raise him the best way possible. You are amazing and as in life we can't expect to be all to everyone but be the best we can be. Alec will recognize that and admire you for it as well.

I have a quote on my Facebook page that I absolutely love and feel it is very fitting here:
There is no way to be a perfect mother but a millions ways to be a great one.

Keep dancing Skye...

At April 09, 2009 4:24 PM, Blogger Star said...

I think that is so amazing that you are doing that!

I could say a million other cliche things but I won't.

Always, Star

At April 09, 2009 9:57 PM, Blogger Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Ugh, I felt the same way so many times. My husband loved our daughter with all his heart. He loved this world and he made it right in so many ways.

I loved my "Cancer Sucks!" button.



At April 14, 2009 1:41 AM, Anonymous Mark said...

It really is sad that Alec was so young when he lost his father. I'm sure you'll do something to give him those memories though. If once in a while, you go through some old photos and share stories, that will keep Alec's memories fresh.

I think a loving and supportive home life is more important than having two parents, and you're certainly providing that.

At April 15, 2009 9:37 AM, Anonymous Roads said...

What an amazingly touching post, Skye, that you should go to the effort of watching David's ways of playing, and then commit yourself, three years ago, to emulating them as time goes forwards.

Many people will have had similar ideas, but few will carry them out to fruition. If ever there were a definition of love, then its written in your words.


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