Spoiler Alert: I’m going to blog about last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives and how it relates to being a single mom of a curious little boy.
Last night, Susan’s son MJ came home with a crumpled up flyer from school about a father and son boxcar race. Gulp. For those of you who watch the show, you know that MJ’s dad, Mike, was murdered off the show a few episodes back (bummer). MJ and Susan are obviously taking this hard, but Susan, a veteran single mom (her single daughter Julie is now pregnant!) is ready and willing to be Mom and Dad. Last night she vowed to make the coolest, most badass boxcar for little MJ and she stayed up all night, tweaked out on green tea, detailing the sides with homemade decal flames and a removable basket for the back. MJ was less than thrilled and rolled the car into the street when Susan went inside to grab some root beers. Hooray for Hollywood, a truck ran it over, destroying the perfect little car that could—but it couldn’t—it couldn’t because MJ didn’t want a car made by his single mom, he wanted his Dad. “I want Dad,” he said pouting, then ran inside. My stomach flopped. I was alone in my bed, the glow of the TV, the only light in my condo. JD, fast asleep in his room.
I have no idea what it’s like to want for a Dad, which is a huge issue for me when it comes to JD’s absent Dad. I have the most amazing father. My best friend, Kate, recently called my Dad an exception to fathers and she’s right. My Dad has always played a giant role in my life and even as a single Mom of a little boy, my son does not want for his Dad and it’s because he does not know his Dad—he does not know my ex-boyfriend from NYC. It’s been JD and me from the beginning of time, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s completely healthy for JD to be doing everything with me (and he is, super attached to me). In my opinion, it’s important for solo single parents who are raising opposite sex kids to seek out role models for them. I’m lucky because I have my Dad, Uncles Carlo and Brian. My friends’ husbands are awesome and I have a close guy friend who JD loves (he rescued JD from school once when I was stuck in hellish commuter traffic). Matt Logelin has Brooke and his mom, MIL and sister-in-law. This is huge for little Maddy and Matt knows it!
Last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives is no exception to this rule I'm speaking of: Little boys need men in their lives (vice versa) and stubborn single moms (hey, I’m speaking of myself here, need to fully grasp this concept and just let go, let God). MJ finally made his boxcar last night, but not with Susan—with the Wisteria lane men. MJ was totally excited to engage in this project and showed sincere interest when he saw the group of boys working on a Corvette style car (his Dad’s favorite model). Even though he asked his Mom to join in, she stepped back and let the boys be boys.
I did this on Saturday. My Dad came to T-Ball at 9 AM. It was 30 freakin degrees! For the first time in three weeks I sat on the bleachers and watched. I’ll be honest, as much as JD loves his Poppy, he was not thrilled that I was not participating. At first my Dad forcibly led him onto the field. JD looked back at me, “Mommy, come play with me.” Every other child on that field was with their Dad. “No, bud. Go with Poppy. Go warm up! I’m right here watching.” “Mom-meeeeee,” he called and looked like he was going to cry. “Go bud! Dad, take him onto the field.” I remained in the stands. After my Dad and JD tossed the ball around, Coach Jason lined up the kids for a run and JD won the race. He consistently wins these running exercises. A Dad I know said to me, “Wow, Jack is fast.” I unflinchingly said, “His father is a professional runner. Ran on Team Nike. Gets it from him.” A few dads overheard this and they all tsked. One said, “a*shole” under his breath. A few blogs ago a commenter said JD’s father was a reoccurring theme in this year's blogs and that I was talking in code to him or his wife. Correct he is and no, I'm not talking in code—his number is in my cell. I am no longer raising our infant. I’m raising a beautiful, curious little boy on the brink of 5 who is well aware he has a father that chose not to be around. A little boy that will no doubt excel in his father’s sport of running. It’s all relevant and I’m dealing with it. Raw and real on this blog, like it’s always been for 5 years! I've reached the curious years. Where's my Dad? Who's my Dad? Can I see a pic of my Dad? This is it. No more diapers and wondering what it will be like when JD asks about his Dad. I'm here. It sucks. It sucks to see every kid on his team with their Dad. JD is the exception. My hands deep in the pockets of my hoody, I sat on the cold bleachers, sipped my coffee and oh man, a million things ran through my head. I had to snap out of it. I jumped up and down from the third tier. Clang, clunk, clang.
I snuck on the field and told JD to run super fast to third base when the batter hit the ball.
“Christine, go sit down,” my father said. So I sat down again. My father coached all of Carlo and Brian’s sports teams as kids.
I let the boys be boys (I stifled my feminist girl power attitude and just cheered my kid on). And JD talked about playing baseball with Poppy all weekend long, so it was worth it. It meant something. It helped. Helped us both. No code talk here. Real life, I'm afraid. Except, I'm not afraid.