This week my mom friend, Regan, asked me if JD’s father is tall.
For the first time in a really, really long time my stomach didn’t feel like the roller coaster dropped. My face didn’t go red—or white. I couldn’t find JD but figured he disappeared under the jungle gym into the little house. As I ducked under the colorful apparatus to make sure that is where he was, I looked back at Regan and said, “Oh yeah, like 6’3.”
JD was in the house with her daughter. For whatever reason, maybe trust in my friend, ease in our friendship, wanting to make his father come to life for people and not just alone in my head, I continued.
“*Name is really tall. Totally has an athlete’s body. He’s a professional runner and I swear his legs go up to his neck. JD has the same body. When I’m drying him after his bath, I look at his tall, lanky, strong frame and I think, yep, *Name and my kid is going to excel in running,” I said.
And then the conversation ended somehow. The kids were gathered around the picnic table eating crackers and laughing. I was scrolling through my phone. I had stopped talking and thinking about my ex-boyfriend—my son’s absent father. I was not frazzled, sad, angry or anxious.
I think it’s important to talk about him. I know I will talk more about him with JD. I don’t like to sweep things under the mat. Talking is not only therapeutic, but it’s realistic. This person exists. He changed my life. I will say talking about him has gotten easier. There was a time when I didn’t think about him, but it’s not like I was trying not to think about him—I seriously did not think about him. I think my brain was protecting or defending my heart and trying to get me through my pregnancy. I didn’t start thinking about him and feeling real emotion—pain, sadness, regret, anger until JD was around six months. Those feelings faded in and out. It was like I was grieving someone who died who didn’t die. When I discovered his wedding and honeymoon website, when I saw his life flawlessly progressing, I couldn’t control my feelings. I went from laughing to crying. I saw his life move in stages. I saw engagement photos, wedding photos, pregnancy photos and newborn photos. He cradled his newborn son, JD’s half-brother with an easy grin on his face—and the little baby boy resembled JD. I stared at these images in my office, the dim of the computer screen was the only glow in the condo. JD was sleeping. I didn’t have to Google his name, but I did. I had to know what he was doing and how he was doing. I was admittedly curious—how could I not be? He was doing great.
I'm doing great. This is how life played out. My son has a tall, absent father.