Friday, August 24, 2007

Thoughts on Family

The prompt at Sunday Scribblings is "I get that sinking feeling...."

JT has been gearing up for the school year by learning to spell his last name and thinking about his family. Every school year begins with a discussion of who you are and it always starts with family. When you are the child of a broken family, that's an experience fraught with the prospect of pain. He drew a picture of his family the other day, a drawing that included me, his mama; JT (taller than his mama, which is a little closer to reality than I am prepared to acknowledge); and our cats, Tiger and Lucy. He showed me the picture, which included all of our names, carefully spelled beneath our image.

I am always sad to see this picture of our family because another person used to make these drawings and her absence in his depiction is just a sinking feeling for me. I am reminded of our failure to give JT what I believe he deserves, a two-parent household. And because I worry about his heart, I gently suggested that maybe he could include Lisa in his drawing.

"No," he said decisively. "She left and doesn't live in my house. She's not in my family."

This explains how he feels and I can't tell him that he is wrong. She did leave and he knows it. And it strikes me again that there is a whole lot of wisdom in my brown-eyed boy, probably more than Lisa ever expected.

Update: Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments. I feel very well-loved this Sunday afternoon and that's a really good thing.

18 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Kids cope better than how/what we percieve. They adapt quickly.

I liked reading this.

Fledgling Poet said...

This was sad to read, but it's amazing how resilient kids are...it sounds like JT has a very loving parent around to help him through this. :~)

paisley said...

his situation of a one parent family is more acceptable these days,, is he will more than likely not be the only child in his class with such a family... broken homes have become the norm,, and as sad as you may feel about your son... i am wondering is this not sadder.. i mean what it says about our society and the actual chances we as adults have of ever realizing a "forever" relationship????

Autrice DelDrago said...

Sometimes children cope with things better than we could ever expect.

raymond pert said...

I enjoy your blog a lot. This post perfectly illustrates why. I'm sorry your family is broken, but it's heartening to read that your son is realistic about it.

All the best as you move ahead with your son and your relationship with him.

He must draw a lot of strength from you.

Amber said...

Oh, you know, I really dislike these things in school. As a kid myself, it always made me sad and worried. And back then most kids didn't have broken homes, or missing dads, so it did lead to questions I didn't like.

Now my son did this last week, and he talked about his friend, and how it made him sad to do it. This friend only lives with his grandma, as so many kids do these days...I asked him if the teacher talked about different kinds of families, and he said yes. So that is good. But still.

Your son knows he is loved by you, even as he might miss Lisa. It sounds like he is just trying to work it out...It is hard when your little to figure out the big people world. ;)

:)

Hope said...

Build a network of friends and family to fill the space. There can never be too many trusted playmates for a child to grow up with and over a childhood, they also become family. Use your community to build a secure child. Don't be surprised if you end up a mentor to others as an example of strength as a single parent.

Kamsin said...

Having been brought up by a single Mum I remember being angry at a world that thought my upbringing was somehow inferior. I don't ever remember drawing family pictures, but I guess I still included my Dad even after he left, or maybe I grew out of drawing pictures around that time. My Mum always remembers that my best friend in school introduced herself to my Mum with the line "I have two mummies", as she lived with her step-mum but still saw her real mum every weekend.

Anyway, I guess my point is every kid deals with family stuff differently. The fact is your lads family is different to the "norm" and learning to leave comfortably with that difference is something he'll have to do for himself. Maybe his drawing just you and the two cats is his way of saying I'm OK with just the two (four!) of us, we don't need anyone else.

JHS. said...

I understand your feelings, even though I grew up in a two-parent household and have provided my kids with a two-parent household. Every parent frets and worries about whether they are doing right by their child. You are giving him the most important thing: You. Yourself. Your time. Your commitment to him and his life.

He will be fine. Trust in that truth.

Gill said...

He sounds like a very well adjusted boy. As a product of a (twice) broken home, I can vouch for the fact that kids assimilate these things and move on, provided they have at least one loving, stable parent, which he seems to have in you.

Miss said...

As long as you keep loving him, he'll be fine.

My own mother worries all the time that she wasn't ENOUGH when I was a kid, and it was just the two of us.
In truth, I don't remember ever feeling like I was cheated out of a "real" family - we were a real family.

-- MissMeliss
www.missmeliss.com

Ingrid said...

I feel your pain. I was a single mom for 5 years.

Robin said...

Your son sounds very in touch with his feelings, and you sound very able to keep those lines of communication going. I'm sorry that Lisa is no longer in the picture, but at least he's able to verbalize how he feels about that.

PS I went to college in Central Jersey. If you're anywhere near New Brunswick, have a heart and eat a turkey club boli from Stuff Yer Face for me someday. I've lived 6,000 miles away for 18 years now, and I still fantasize about those damn bolis...

tumblewords said...

I sometimes think children are protected by their ability to live in the now - before they learn to feel loss, pain and guilt. Nicely written!

Patois said...

Oh, reading this gave me such a sinking feeling. He sounds resilient and aware. There's a lot to be said for that. Take care, all for of you.

lisrobbe said...

I am a single mom. My daughter isn't even at an age where she can understand what family really means(three). But the trade off to keep a child in a home that doesn't function well with two parents in my mind is not a good option either. Sounds to me like you are doing a wonderful job.

Felicia said...

I think that your boy must be incredibly comfortable with being able to confide in you about how he feels. While that can be taken for granted by many parents, I have seen so many little kids just bottle up their feelings about things like that, and it bodes well that he feels secure enough in your love to let you see such a vulnerable part of him.

Elissa said...

I stumbled across your blog while looking to find other single moms to identify with. I must say we may be as opposite as is possible - I am a conservative, Christian, heterosexual with not one but four kids and yet - I find myself up until all hours of the night reading every blog you have ever posted and indentifying with the same set of challenges, sadness and growing through the pain. My ex may very well be the twin of yours - at least in his behavior! Thanks for giving me one more mom to identify with - I especially appreciate that while we are so different on the surface, the emotional mamma turmoil is a shared human experience!