I often find myself wondering how I ended up alone raising two nearly teen boys. I know the logistics, of course, but seriously! I wouldn’t say that I am a girly-girl, but I am not a tomboy either and I often look at my sons in complete confusion. They laugh at farting and wear their clothes to bed and argue about the benefits of deodorant while falling out of their chairs in hysteria over The Simpsons. I love Anne of Green Gables, collect teacups, enjoy sewing, and watching Gilmore Girls. Of course, we have things we enjoy doing together like going to the Jersey Shore and boogie boarding or soccer (them playing, me watching), and eating great food, but often the male mind is a complete mystery to me and here I am raising two young men without the benefit of a male voice in their daily lives. I know many single moms do it, but none of them are me! I also think the timing of their father leaving us is just so perplexing. I feel they are at such an age where they need a father and theirs moved across the country. Sure, they talk to him on the phone and he buys cool gifts, like a new BMX bike for Bolt, or plays Playstation 4 with them online, but the day-to-day dad they have known and loved for the past 8 years is gone. I find myself having to still be the mom they know while having to take over some of the roles their dad used to do.
Messi and I spent all day Saturday building a birdhouse from scratch. Many failed attempts later, we completed it, but it looks just a little off. Not that I felt like a failure, but I just sat on the floor in frustration wishing I knew how to help him with the project better and wondering if he was thinking “I wish dad was here”. I know there were moments I thought it, but those same moments are followed by the crushing reality that his dad chose to leave them. So, yes, the birdhouse is complete, but then Amazon delivered 2 precut kits that he put together while I worked today…and they look much better!
Then, I knew Bolt had his first crush on a girl and Messi has been teasing him mercilessly. So, I let the teasing go because that is what brothers do, but when it is just Bolt and I driving in the car, I try to talk to him about different things. So, I finally found out that they are boyfriend and girlfriend (whatever that means at this age)! They text funny things like “how is your day?”. I will admit I am approaching this news with equal parts terror and excitement. I am excited because my socially awkward 8th grader actually likes a girl and talks to her. I am terrified for those exact reasons. Not to mention, I am trying to teach him about healthy relationships and sexuality and purity and everything, all while his dad is demonstrating exactly the opposite. Such a hard place to be. At the same time, I encouraged him because this girl he runs track with and I am so happy he likes someone who enjoys the same activity he does. Don’t we all want relationships with people who share our passions?
I sat on the phone last night talking about this all with a friend and with my dad. It is so frustrating to be the only “present” parent. I am the only one here every day to help my sons navigate becoming young men. It is scary place to be, but also an honor and a privilege to walk this journey with them. I know it is going to be full of false starts and detours and mistakes, but I need to trust that God will give me wisdom and guidance along the way.