Father of the teen

I am so grateful for my late night bouts with insomnia. There is this world that has yet to be discovered that only reaches the light of day in the most deepest and darkest of nights. During the day I am a myriad of thoughts and emotions, which are rarely expressed in their totality. We are too busy to reflect and feel so as a result I find myself in darkness facing the ceiling with my back against the mattress sifting through years of thought through dark passages at night. I get paid to work & have to be super mom. . .it is in those moments that I forget the small stuff.
But here I am, sweating the small stuff because I realize in just a moments notice they can all be gone. These small wonderful things that we take for granted are not promised.
I am a mother. . .a single mother by technicality because I have never been wed, however I am also the other half of a parental duo. My life would be so different if I had not met the one other person responsible for me becoming a mother; my son’s father.
I look at my son and he is the age I was when I met his dad and it’s crazy. I wonder if Jonathan has met someone at this young age who will eventually change his life completely? I guess I will not know until I know. 
Father’s Day is here and while I pride myself in being an excellent mother, I wouldn’t be that if not because of the shared responsibility of my son’s father. There have been moments where being an ok mom had to be good enough. There are times when we are so clouded with responsibility that we can’t realize we can do better, and that is where no one has failed me. Jon’s dad is one of those parents that rolls with the punches, he’s taken a couple of south paws from me and I of him. We keep each other on our toes. Somewhere from inception to present day we have devised a friendship that is unbreakable. We are not perfect people, but we are perfectly constructed parents for Jonathan. We are human but most importantly we are friends. Father’s Day is so important to me. Jon’s dad and I did not come from a nuclear family. We had mom, kid(s), and grandpa(ma). The dad in our family portrait was not present and yet I sit in awe because of how we turned out. I admire him for who he is because of his journey and I am forever thankful for his presence in Jonathan’s life. 
I hear horror stories, child support stories, jealousy stories and every other story in between. There is no jealousy. The only child support we require is the emotional support of one another to our son. The horror in the story for me is when people ask the monetary questions and the divisive questions that quite frankly are none of their business. “How much does he give you?” Well to be clear. . .My sons relationship with his father is not dictated by monetary compensation. It is strictly determined by my sons need to be with his incredibly involved and loving father, and vice versa. We share a child, not own him. I realize that our life and arrangements are unrealistic however I wish more people were like us. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, as to suggest that we have it all figured out, however the proof is in our son’s eyes.
My son does not see his parents fight and rip each other to shreds. Instead when in the same room he sees his parents joke and get along. He sees us sitting side by side in conference night agreeing on how we should discipline him, teach him and guide him as he turns into the young man we wish he’d be. We do not have to be in a relationship to have a normal friendship or relationship after our couple life collapsed. We collaborate and sincerely wish the best for one another because if as individuals we attain the best then as parents the sky is the limit. Happy parents happy kid. . .it. Is. That. Simple.
If you’ve gotten this far you’re probably wondering why. . .why am I dwelling on this?
Today I had the privilege of helping out in the community. It’s been a little over two years since I left social work and because of that I do not have the opportunity to reflect as much as I used to about the things that go on in the world. There are so many negative things happening lately and they all circle around race and indifference. I’m not blind to realize it but I do refuse to look directly at the sun because it’s going to burn. However today reminded me of how much I have. I wish I could do more, sincerely, but the truth of the matter is that I struggle to make a difference in my own circle. It’s hard to find the time or to spare the money it takes to help others, so I pay with my greatest contribution, which is in raising my son properly and giving society another wonderful human being. 
I wish him to be kind and understanding, to never look down on others and to always see the bright side in everything. I hope that no matter how dark the path may be that he is guided by the light and love his father and I have shed upon him. I want nothing more than for him to reflect in his darkest hours about how life can be bright so long as you continue to shed light on the world. I do not raise him to believe any profession, sexual orientation, gender, or race is any worse than the other but I do raise him to believe he is better than that. . .”that” in which people assume he will become. He is no statistic. He is not a Latino kid from a broken home. He is not this socially deemed underdog with the odds stacked against him. He is a person.
Every day I see the fruits of our labor. This little person who now has a heart of gold and who makes our lives so full. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be this little persons mom but most importantly I am thankful for his dad. Thanks for checking in even when it is not your week, for never disappearing, for always returning calls, for cleaning up messy diapers, for teasing him, for making him smile, for making him laugh, for teaching him how to own up to his mistakes and for showing him how to do the things I can’t. Thank you for having many jobs but making sure this one is your best! Thank you for being his father. 

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Happy Father’s Day

I have a paper and two quizzes due by midnight tonight, so I decided to bring myself to Starbucks to focus. If I were at home I would inevitably take a nap that turned into hours. Sure, I would wake up with just enough time to get my work done but it would be less than likely my best.

This plan to focus has backfired on me and here I am sitting in the coffee shop looking at everyone walking in and out the place and I wonder what their story is. I drift off into thought and wonder and assume where their father is. Who is he, why are you here alone? Maybe their father passed away, maybe he was never known or maybe the name father lies within a man that did not father them but merely raised them. Then there are those blessed few who walk in with their dads, dressed in their Sunday best to get a coffee with the man who set the example of manhood for them, or the man who gloriously failed at pigtails. Maybe he was the man who walked hand in hand with you on Halloween in your princess costume because you thought you were a princess all while he new deep down inside you would always be his princess.

Fathers Day has always been one of my least favorite holidays because unlike St. Patrick’s day where green is the only requirement to celebrate, on fathers day, you are required to have a man to celebrate. I can’t pick and choose like Valentines day and unlike Thanksgiving day it is hard to find other things to be thankful for. Today I am reminded that my father left my life by choice but by some stroke of luck I was then granted a guardian angel who was much more than a father. He was my best friend, my confidant and the melody to my day. My grandfather shielded me from any harm that came my way. I loved him with all my heart and he has been gone now for longer than he was in my life and undoubtedly he will always have an impact in my life. My worse was always good enough for him and now that he’s not here my best is all I ever try for him.

So this is my story, for those of you walking in and out of the coffee shop taking a glance at me. Who am I ? Why am I alone? Where is my father? Well here goes. . .The man who fathered me is only 15 minutes away from me. I don’t know him from Adam. He went to jail when I was 4/5 years old and despite having forgiven him for what he did so that I may live peacefully without resentment, I cannot help but still hate the things I do not have because of his absence. I had no other alternative than to look up to my grandfather, who was more than willing to look after the little girl he left behind. I love my grandfather beyond measure and I am grateful that I was raised by him. . .but. . .I wish I had both. I wish to always have love for Spanish guitar because I spent many days on grandpa’s lap as he played. I still wish to love Christmas because it was my last holiday with grandpa but I too wish that my dad had been present during that last holiday rather than living out his last few years in the correctional facility. I wish that now that grandpa is gone, dad could tell me all about grandpa before I was born. I wish to know all the silly things and sad things that made him the most incredible man in the world. I only have 14 years of actions to prove to me who he was but those 14 years do not account for the woman I am.

I look like my father. I act like my father. I am smart like my father. . .but I don’t know my father. I have this birthmark right over my nose. . .just like my father. My eyes close when I smile really big, just like my father. I know this because I have been told by my mother. Those few and far in between moments when mom had nothing bad to say and decided to share little tidbits of who I am because I would otherwise never know.

My curly tangled hair, sun kissed skin and smile are unlike anyone in my home. My mother is a fair skinned beautiful woman who barely smiles, just like my sister. They both hide from the sun and live their lives in the shadow out of fear of being exposed. I throw myself out there while pushing back the crippling fear of being completely exposed and burned. I smile through the pain of never knowing and wondering why I have such the need to know the man who broke my mother and my family into a million shreds. I want to understand who he is because there is a possibility I may understand why I am the way I am.

I sit here and maybe I go unnoticed or maybe people do see me for who I am. I smile politely as they walk in for their coffee and I may be nothing more than a stranger they saw today at Starbucks but I know I am that fatherless daughter wishing he had never walked out.

I’ll Know When I Get There

I’ve overcome some obstacles, some big, some little; they varied in facets and depths.

During the storm I ask why has it rained on my parade. . .how did I get stuck in quicksand. . .why, why, WHY didn’t things go according to plan?

I have learned so many things from these unsolicited obstacles that I now know they happened for a reason.

I offer this as my best explanation of life, knowing all too well that I have lived but a fraction of my own lessons, so please don’t be offended.

Consider yourself the parent of your dreams and life. No matter your spiritual beliefs, we all know that everything happens for a reason, but we aren’t so forgiving or welcoming of those things when they happen.

When people have children, they choose a name, decor and all of the little details of the baby boy or baby girl to be. We celebrate the arrival before the arrival and we wish and hope for the best. Some pregnancies (adoptions, surrogates) go as planned. No need for medicinal intervention, no pain and yet others hit you with a curve ball. It seems as though a catastrophe has occurred in a seamless plan.

There we are again…why why why?

Why you ask?

Because it is part of the journey!

Little Jon arrives in place of Jane. Some little angels are born with additional chromosomes and parts, some are incomplete and need more care. As our children, we nurse them and love them and fight like hell for acceptance for them. We go down a long and winding road for the betterment of them.

At the end of all the struggle, and the unplanned blessings we never look at our children and think about everything we went through to have them. . .we see them for who they are and who they’ve become.

Such is everything in life…we can’t shoot for the stars and get distracted by clouds. Just remember that if we just travel a little further, the journey will no longer trump the final destination.

Instead of saying why, tell yourself, “I’ll know when I get there!”

Mommy did you fart?

I can’t even begin to count the amount of times my son has said something that has left me wishing to be swallowed by the earth. Sometimes I wonder where he gets these things?

Well he has a whole gene pool to choose from but lately I’ve come to realize that he gets a lot of his antics from me. When I say that I’ve come to realize, what I really mean is that people point it out so often I can no longer ignore it.

See it all started when I was walking around at Belles Outlet one afternoon. Jon was three years old, and at this point he was not allowed to go shopping with mommy anymore after he threw a fit a Babies R Us because I didn’t have a quarter for the tiny carousel. This lovely afternoon Jon’s dad wasn’t available so I had to take the kiddo shopping. Jon wasn’t telling full blown stories at three but he’d say a phrase here and there. So I was walking down the isle minding my own business looking for some stretchy clothes to accommodate my still struggling post baby lady lumps when my lovely little cherub asks at the top of his lungs, “mommy did you fart?”

What? You’ve got to be freaking kidding me! No I didn’t fart but if I did I don’t want an all call announcement to be made about mommies flatulence! Fart or no fart, all of the outlet store looked at me as if I had farted because clearly children don’t lie and as perfect as we are, mommies do fart! Believe me I know I fart but that moment wasn’t one of those times, or was it?! Had I become one of those mommies too busy to realize she farted? I mean some of us miss or forget a period but a whole fart…nah, those things don’t just go without being noticed. After questioning my capability of gauging the pressure and air in my body I came to the conclusion it MAYBE wasn’t me, so I did what any logical parent would do, I accused the kid of farting, he giggled and I capitalized on his new found giggle guilt and kept shopping.

Then there is the time at Sweet Tomatoes when I asked my son to get me a refill and just as he steps away, I say, “not diet Pepsi.” He then waits to be what seems like 20 yards away to yell back, “regular Pepsi, I know mom! You’re not on a diet anymore!”

Or the time he was sitting across the table talking about how much he looked like his dad but he was fat like mom. It was an innocent as a matter of fact statement, he of course meant no harm.

My son is so full of energy I believe the synapses fail to provide him with filters and he just blurts random things and then realizes they perhaps lacked sensitivity or tact.

I, unfortunately have had my fair share of similar moments.

A couple of weeks ago we got a brand new puppy named Sunday. She is a chihuahua mix and from what I have read thus far, they can be pretty territorial of their owners. I am Sundays’s primary pet care giver so naturally she took a liking to me. On occasion if Jon or someone else tries to pick her up off of my lap, she will growl or bark. Nothing major just a warning shot I suppose. She is also a little dramatic and as of recently yelps if someone grabs her. Over the last few weeks Jon and I have been getting used to the little fur ball.

I occasionally leave the room for Jon to bond with her because otherwise she is all over me and in my face. Second week in I heard Sunday squeal maybe three times in an hour. She was super tiny and I walked to my living room concerned that something had happened. My son said, “I was just holding her.” I immediately frowned and said, “oh god Jon please don’t tell me you’re one of those weird kids that likes to hurt animals!”

Wow! I seriously went from 0 to a thousand. Luckily Jon chuckled and made some reference to Dexter (showtime, Michael C. Hall).

I on the other hand was mortified. Clearly not getting mom of the month for that, who says or asks their 12 year old that??! Me, that’s who. . .because sometimes moms say the dumbest things too!

Ps: no Sundays were hurt in the writing of this blog, or at home. Jon, Sunday and I are getting along famously!

ROY-G-BIV

What did he say?

The summer before my son Jonathan started kindergarten was very important. His father and I started getting him ready and teaching him everything he needed to know for school. We purchased a couple leapfrog DVD’s, some flashcards and a kiddie laptop. My golden boy was learning at warp speed. I was so excited because he looked just like his dad and finally he had something of mine…my brain. Not to say that his dad is not smart, but his dad has never really liked school and the fact that Jonathan was learning everything that we threw at him, gave me hope that he’d be just as interested in school as I was when I was a kid.

Over the years I always wondered what people thought of me when I was in public with this cherub like little boy. My son had golden ringlets in his hair and plump little lips; he was just adorable. His father is Puerto Rican but he looks like a Caucasian American with hazel eyes. I on the other hand look very ethnic. I favor many different cultures from Indian, to Native American, Cuban, Dominican, and African American but never once have I been asked if I was, “white.” So in all the years in traveling around the town with my son I often wondered if people questioned if he was mine. It was more of a curiosity than ever insecurity but I must admit that every time someone said, “he looks just like you,” my heart smiled a little. Yet my temporary joy was quashed when people saw his father and suddenly said, “Oh no honey, I’m sorry he looks just like his daddy.” So now that my son was learning, people said, “He is so smart, just like you Johanna.”

Yes!!!!! I finally won one!

Did I really? Well my son was sounding out words and it was just lovely. He knew how to spell his name, he knew he was a boy and now he was learning colors.

“Mommy is a girl. Daddy is a boy and he is peach.”

It was so cute and really his dad was kind of peach. We invested a good amount of time into getting him prepped for school but we had a few things to get done.

One afternoon we went in to the doctor’s office. He needed a physical before he started school. Jonathan and I were sitting in the waiting room. There was another little boy just bouncing all around playing with Jonathan, as I was sitting there looking up at the TV the little boy said something to Jonathan. Jon says to me, “what did he say?” I said, “Who honey?” In his loudest voice Jon points and says, “The brown kid!”

Oh shit! I go into damage control, “no no honey, you don’t call him the brown kid, he is a little boy just like you.” It was already too late, my white as-day little boy just called another child, “the brown kid,” in public. I of course understood and would have otherwise been excited because he remembered a color. On this afternoon, I was mortified. That kids mother looked at me like I was raising a supremacist of sorts and what made it worse was that it was summer time in Florida, not only was the kid brown but so was I. . .and I wondered did they know I was his momma or did they think I was a nanny?

This taught me a very big lesson. . .never use people as lessons. Mommy and Daddy are people, not peach and brown. Colors are colors not people. . .