Yesterday out of the blue E sent a text to see how the kids are and to ask me to say hi to them. They haven’t really talked much in months, and the last time they saw him was at Christmas.
By now, I thought I was over E. and as far as our relationship goes, I am. But when I got that text, I was bothered. And I was even more annoyed at myself by the fact that I was bothered by him. Maybe it was the wording of his text, and maybe it was just my mood even before I received it, but it irked me. Basically My reply was a curt, the kids are good.
Because they are always good. I make sure of that. Because I’m here every day raising them. I don’t check in every 6 months to see how they are. I’m their mother 24/7/365. And so I was frustrated. But in the sake of good parenting, I did pass the message along to the kids and asked if they’d like to either call or message back. Little E opted for the text, and wrote out a little message about what he’s been up to lately and hit send. Then Z dictated to Little E a note for him to type. And that’s when my annoyance built up enough for me to vent here.
Her note was as innocent as any 5 year old who’s going about messaging their father could be. Hi Daddy. I love you. Etc…
I could’ve stabbed E with all the anger I felt in that moment. Here I’ve been, for the last 5 and a half years, taking care of these kids without him, and in one text, he swoops in and receives the same type of gratitude I get on a daily basis. No I’m not frustrated at Z, in all her innocence she’s just acting out how she’s seen other kids be with their dads. And she assumes you say I love you. And that’s not wrong, but in those circumstances there’s years of trust built up. There’s time put in. There’s sleepless nights attached. There’s financial stress involved. There’s fear of loss attached. All the aspects to create what I think deserves at least the start of love.
But she gives it with wreak less abandonment to a man who doesn’t understand the pain he’s caused.
I’m not upset at Z. On one hand I think it’s brave of Z to support E with love that cannot be returned and want to let her make her own choices. But on the other hand I want to caution her on attempting to set sail on a sinking ship. I don’t want to set her on a path where she feels her love is unreturned and therefore somehow not good enough.
For now though, I’m just going to take a day of two to cool off my irrational anger towards E for receiving what in my opinion is undeserving love and I’ll come back to this at a later time.
Today I had another honest conversation with my kids. I asked them how they would feel if they never had a ‘dad’. Like if we just always remained a family of three. How pretty much they’ve always known it.
I told them I’ve come to the realization that for myself, men cause me a distraction, (because it’s something I so deeply want) and then disappointment or hurt when left unfulfilled and that I’m learning to teach myself I can be ok and even whole on my own. Yes, it’s been a painful journey, one I’m hoping not to stumble on over and over again, but to teach my kids that they don’t need to find satisfaction and fulfillment within another individual.
But, on the other hand, I want to make sure my kids would not feel like they are missing out by having that experience of a dad in their life. I told them (especially Little E) if there were situations they were going through that I didn’t have the answers to from my life experience (or google) we could ask my dad or I have two brothers-in-law that would be great for advice of that type.
Little E was honestly completely fine with it. He said I do a good job (aww) as a mom and he was not bothered by my question or suggestion that I would just remain single from here on out. Z wasn’t really sure, although she’s not quite 6 so I don’t think she understood the whole situation. I reassured her that I’ve been taking care of her and her brother on my own since she was 6 months old so nothings changing other than the fact we’re talking about it. All I’m suggesting is that we would stay that way, as a family of three, and I focus on them. Would that be good for them? Or make them feel really uncomfortable at Fathers Day when the daycare does a party for dads or at the father daughter dance at dance class etc. Little E was still completely A OK about it and once Z understood that I was just checking that she was ok that that things stayed the same, she was fine. Little E made a comment on how it would be more weird and how things would have to change if they DID get a dad since they’ve never really had one, and I agreed with him.
I explained that he can rest easy that I won’t ever bring anyone into their lives who would cause hurt or that would turn around and walk away. (FYI, My kids have never even seen any of the guys I’ve been with let alone meet them and get attached, apart from K and that was after a long time… I won’t do that again) That pain is just unnecessary, and so I’ll do my best to protect them from it at all costs. And this will cost me a lot.
Which is why I’m good with just being me.
Just C. Raising her two kids. I’ve done well on my own the last 5 years. I don’t see why I can’t repeat that another 3 times.
Today I learned/taught myself a very valuable lesson.
Over the past few days I’ve overheard my kids conspiring together about their great master plan for today. The great previously dreaded Mother’s Day. But as I let them go off in secret together to plan whatever it was they were planning, or even to overhear them plan about meeting later to plan, since let’s face it, a 5&8 year old aren’t the best at being secretive or quiet when it comes to surprises, it made me smile. Their time together gave me time alone yes, but it also helped a bond grow between them, which could come at no better moment since the bickering between them has been at an all time high. Through this great secret they held together without me, They created their own sense of teamwork on this great adventure to surprise me on my special day.
This morning came and unfortunately I heard them up and at it bright and early which is something I’ll remember to gently make known next year is a no no, but their excitement was palpable. I couldn’t hear exactly what they were up to, which was nice, since lately all that goes on between them is constant bickering, so to just hear quite footsteps and the occasional whispers was something new, although it would have been more appreciated later in the day. Anyway, the soft knock at my door came a few minutes later, followed by them sneaking in proclaiming Happy Mother’s Day bearing all their brown paper bags from school and day care along with coffee and a cinnamon bun left over from our company last night. To see them so happy and excited to have me open their gifts and working together was enough for me to not bitch them out for waking me up early on the weekend (a previously well established rule they just broke) and actually get up to participate.
The gifts were everything you’d expect, tons of fingerprint flowers and copy/paste poems, but that wasn’t the important and valuable part. The moment that made the impression on me was when I realized that I could enjoy my “special day” with just my kids. That we could be happy with just the three of us. That I can find joy in the fact that they love each other and me. That I’ve taught them to be caring and sensitive enough to value these special moments and so they recognized that and took time out of their Sunday morning cartoons to make my day important. They didn’t need a dad to lead the way or money to buy expensive gifts. We only needed each other and love.
It made me happy to understand for myself that as a family we can succeed on our own, even in the seemingly crappy moments that have been structured to support a family with maybe another parental figure that could lend to the planning of more elaborate activities. I have the most amazing and valuable support found in my kids and I appreciate the fact that they learn what I teach. This just means I have to be aware of what lessons I lead them through, as well as what thoughts I lend them to build their lives upon. But from what they exhibited this morning, the selflessness and teamwork was an excellent start.
Definitely made me one proud mama. Best Mother’s Day yet.
Today an ad popped up on my Instagram about preparing wills.
This is something I have been purposefully avoiding my entire life.
Not because I’m afraid to die because of death and all that jazz, but because in my will, I will undoubtedly have to name a Guardian for my kids. And I have no one who I would name. At this point in my life there is not a single person or couple that I would want my kids to be raised by other than with me.
My parents are out of the question for many reasons, part being the strained relationship my mother and I currently have. But also, they’re old. I want my kids to have a fun fulfilling life and my parents don’t have it in them to be sitting at soccer practice once a week and dance recitals/school plays all the time. They’ve done the discipline thing (horribly) and I don’t want them (my parents or kids) to go through that ordeal. They are just not the right fit. Sure they’re fine for a visit here and there and I trust my kids with them for like a sleepover, maybe even a weekend or something although that’s never happened, but anything longer would just be to much of them. And I know what to much of them turns into. Been there done that got the postcard and all the bills from therapy type situation.
My older sister R has 4 daughters of her own and as much as I’m sure Z would love being surrounded by sisters (or hate having less attention focused on her) I would feel uncomfortable for Little E being put in a situation like that. Plus they are super strict and highly religious and I’m just not on the same page regarding their beliefs about god or many other things in life, and therefore wouldn’t want that for my two children.
My younger sister N just had her first child last summer. I will admit it has changed her attitude towards life for the better in my opinion. It’s not so much all about her anymore which is nice to see, but the way her and her husband D live is just chaotic. They both love my kids but they have no sense of organization or discipline and they struggle so much with finances that I just can’t add this kind of thing to their life. It would be a lose/lose situation for everyone.
And that’s it. Those were my choices. I thankfully have sole custody of my kids, and they are OBVIOUSLY not going back to E. But I have no friends that are close enough to even consider for the possibility. And you can’t prepare a will without having that plan ready to go to put into the will. Like what am I going to do? Write a will but say ‘ oh I’m not a responsible enough person to have decided who my kids are going to live with so just either let my family decide or make them wards of the state’? Cause that’s basically what I’d be doing so what’s the point.
You can’t name someone Guardian in your will, without discussing it with them first. Like at least make sure they’d be willing and able to do it. I have no one to have that discussion with. I live my life independently from everyone, which as a result has ironically enough left me independent from everyone. So now, I have these two precious children to care for, and I do care for them. So much that right now in my opinion, no one else is good enough to care for them if/when I die. So I have to just not die until they’re old enough to care for themselves. Oh but C you say, what about accidents? What if you get run over by a car tomorrow?
DUH!!!!! So now you see my motherfucking problem. I have to make a will! I have to pay off my debts. I have to plan for them. Z still has 12 more years to go until she’s 18. 12 more years. I’ve only been a parent for 8.5 but I’ve made it this far. First I had to get through the divorce. Now, it’s time for me to actually start looking ahead. Planning for the future. Something I haven’t ever really done before. Everything was just get me through this day, this week, this marriage, this divorce. And now? Well now I need to be able to say get not only me through this life, but my kids through theirs.
So I’ve got to start planning ahead. But how do I plan another parent for my children? Seems like trying to get the past and the future to merge as one. I already picked a dad when I made them, and that didn’t work out well as we all know. As you can see I’m quite hesitant to try again. I don’t want to utterly fail my kids in the parenting department twice… or more.
So needless to say I won’t be writing a will anytime soon.
As dumb as it seems, it seems more logical than wasting time and money on preparing a will when I don’t know what it should say.
I was washing her hair, which could be considered a full time job, although we do it on average once a week if I’ve had enough coffee and sleep, when she made the comment that she doesn’t like her hair and wished it was like all her friends hair, which is in her words ‘smooth’.
Z has the most fantastic Afro, which I’ll admit at first I didn’t at first know the first thing about dealing with for obvious reasons, the main being I never had hair like that so why bother learning right? But over the years as her hair grew I realized it was getting more curly and thick and I would need more insight on how to care for her crowning glory to do it full justice, I started researching what the better quality products would be to use. I learned all about a wash n go and wet plopping and deep conditioning which to be honest were all very helpful for my hair as well since I also have curly hair, although not to the extent of Z’s 3c/4a curls. I learned not to use drug store brands that contain sulphates and other harmful chemicals that will further dry her hair out. I learned how to trim her hair myself to maintain it and get rid of dry, split ends on my own without spending a fortune on a hairdresser. I will admit though that I still cannot plait her hair, but I have learned twist outs and how to lay her edges so I’ll just take that as a win for now. One step at a time. 🤷🏻♀️
But when she was upset last night because her hair wasn’t ‘smooth’ like all her friends at school my heart fell into my gut. I can only be so much of a roll model for her in this area. I wear my hair as big, full and curly as possible, because I honestly feel the bigger the better, and I truly think natural hair is better. I’ve straightened my hair maybe once a year since finding out all this information about hair for Z. Little E wears his hair pretty close cut because he just has no interest in keeping a style and prefers it practically shaved, and even when he does grow it out, it’s not as curly as Z’s, it’s more of a thick bigger curl. Her dad maintains a bald head although they don’t see him often (as my regular readers know 3 visits when we went back at Christmas and before that it was February last year). So I guess my point with all these “examples ” is that she has no natural hair role models as far as her hair texture. I’ve shown her on places like instagram woman with beautiful hair like hers and how they wear it even bigger than hers. For reference, her fro averages between 6-10 inches but I don’t fluff it out on the bigger side often. She prefers to style it pushed back with a headband or with a few clips or two pigtail afropuffs. Which is for the best because those are the only ones I can pull off half decently.
Anyways this is a very roundabout way of saying I hurt for her. I want her to be proud of every part of her, but this is a way I can’t directly be a role model for her. Yes, I can wear my hair naturally and I do, but her hair is distinctively different, not only from mine, but from the streets of Kelowna and even where we were before and heck even in a Kenya because of the mix, and others notice. I think it’s fantastic and beautiful and many others do as well. We constantly receive compliments while out about how nice her hair is of which I reminded her last night. I told her that her hair is original and beautiful and she should never want to change who or how she is. I was detangling it and showed her how long it was while wet and stretched out and she was so impressed, since it reaches to her elbows. So after the bath, I did one long braid for her down her back and she was much happier and kept mentioning how long and smooth it looked. Albeit it only lasted about 15 minutes until it was completely dry and shrunk up to her neck but it made her happy in that moment.
I’m just wondering how to move forward from here. I’m WELL aware that my kids should have strong black role models in their life, but if there aren’t any around… I can’t just produce them out of thin air.
My in laws are not an option, her dad is out of the question. The black community in Kelowna is to be honest practically nonexistent (trust me, I’ve looked). But I know that it will be something they need to become the fullest version of themselves they can be.
I guess that’s the most frustrating aspect of this experience. Knowing I can be the best mom I can possibly be. I can make all the healthy lunches and arrange all the play dates and study up on all the hair care and do all the sex talks, to name a few examples, but facts are facts, and facts in my situation is that my kids are half black, there’s no denying that, and I would never want to. And that culture is not something I can provide them, and they desperately need it.
It makes me feel so inadequate.
Knowing no matter what, I’ll never be enough. And I can’t do it on my own.
And what’s worse it that the right people are not offering to help.
Just stopped at Walmart and saw this ironic and timely display showing Robert Munschs books on display
All had been picked through except the braids book (which Z owns). It’s a book about a girl with hair like Z’s and how she doesn’t like to have it braided since it takes a while and hurts. Etc. But anyways it’s literally just shows how no one in Kelowna has that culture in their life nor is trying to pass it on to future generations here and I’m on my own with my kids. 😑