Have you ever issued a single parent warning? I have. Once. This past weekend was Christmas and a relative I hadn’t seen in a good six years flew in from another state to spend Christmas with my family. He knew about JD, but I still felt uneasy about him being around and for one reason only.
I didn’t want to talk about JD’s dad. I didn’t want to say his name or hear his name. So, I expressed this to my mom. I told her to tell this relative not to bring up JD’s dad. Not to ask questions and my mom agreed to help me out. Then I told her to answer whatever questions he had, because I respect that people are curious about my life—especially family members, who despite my blog, are not Internet savvy and find JD and me to be new, when really we're a good five years in existence.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: The reason I did not want JD’s father’s name uttered to me on Christmas Day had nothing to do with JD and censoring the issue. JD asks about his father, knows about his father and we get through it together—he'll without a doubt meet his father. The main and only reason was because I knew MY NAME wouldn’t be uttered to him. No one would say, “What’s up with your ex-girlfriend? How is your son?” between courses or over eggnog. JD’s father breezed through Christmas with his wife and child, like we don’t exist. He had his cheerful holiday. His perfect family package.
Whereas I was up wrapping gifts the night before Christmas Eve. I was eating cookies and spilling milk; peeling a Clementine—staging the perfect Santa visit in my condo. I was up at 6 AM, alone, with JD watching him open presents in pure delight. So for this day, for Christmas, a holiday, I purely and solely provided for my child, I didn’t want to hear this guy’s name. I didn’t want to think about him. I wanted him, for a moment, to not exist. I wanted to feel what he’s felt since March 2007. Nothing. Do I sound angry? Wait, I think I am—and it's OK—it's normal. I think I am fed up, but just for today. Tomorrow will be better. Always is. I waiver between cool as a cucumber and seeing red sometimes, I really do. My son asks about his father and I, I have to remember. Have to speak his name. Have to say kind things. Does anyone speak of me? Of JD. We are real. Kind. Breathing, beating hearts. We matter.
When I asked my mom if the relative asked about me, about JD, about his Dad, she said, “Oh yes.” I nibbled on my cookie and peered over at the relative who was playing with my son.
But he never asked me. And that’s all I cared about. We opened our gifts. Went to church. I ate my antipasto, my broccoli rabe, my lasagna and chicken. I indulged in wine and Italian Jenette cookies. I had a beautiful day with my sweet child.
Christmas day faded away. PJs slipped on. The moon came. It came without word of this guy, this father, this ex-boyfriend. And it came without a Merry Christmas call or email or Skype or card or gift to his son. (Read about some of JD's fave gifts here and read about how we gave back to a family in need here.)
And another day came. And ended the same way. Just the two of us. How it's always been. Beautiful, little love story.
Any co-parenting issues come up over the holidays for you? Share! Vent! Get real. But, be kind. This is a safe place. Happy holidays...