I Miss My Son

We are so familiar with the negative statistics about Black children growing up without having both parents in the home. We know how negatively affected Black boys can be growing up in divided homes. I just can’t stand the thought of my son being so affected.

I began the new year away from my son. Since his father and I have split, we have worked out a custodial arrangement that has him going back and forth between us every few days or as schedules dictate. I’m not 100% certain this is the best idea, however, it is what has to work for right now.

This NYE, I wanted to be by myself. 2009 was insanely difficult and I needed the time to just be one with myself and bring in the new year freshly focused.  However, I missed my son. Yes, he would have been asleep when the new year began, but I would have been awakened by his groggy voice saying “Good morning, Mommy” and I would have felt him climb into my bed, get under my covers and snuggle with me. It would have made me feel like my year was starting off on the right note.

But it wasn’t meant to be. I saw him later in the day and at one quiet moment, he whispered, “I missed you Mommy” and I said, with a hug, “I missed you too baby”.

I worry about how this divorce will affect him. We are so familiar with the negative statistics about Black children growing up without having both parents in the home. We know how negatively affected Black boys can be growing up in divided homes. I just can’t stand the thought of my son being so affected. His father and I have a very amicable relationship, especially when it comes to the children, but still I sense something is off. His babysitter told me that sometimes he would just sit in the corner quietly, or crying softly. Or maybe he would cry “I miss my mommy and daddy at home”. At 3, he shouldn’t have to deal with this. He should be thinking about colors, numbers, and spelling his name. I hate what we are doing to him. Really and truly.

For now, I do my best to stay connected. I have a new job, and that’s been absorbing a lot of my time and focus, but I’m doing my best to juggle this new position with being a great, dedicated mother. It’s harder than one not in this position can imagine. I suspect it would be a lot harder if I did not have such a good relationship with his father, or even moreso if his father were not around. But this is not what I planned for my son, so now I have to figure out how to make sure he doesn’t fall victim to any of the negative predictions our Black children face by virtue of them growing up in splintered homes.

5 thoughts on “I Miss My Son

  1. You’re in a difficult position, to be sure. But dysfunction comes in many packages, not just those caused by divorce. I suspect that many of the damage that children experience as a result of divorce comes not as a result of divorce per se, but due to the emotional baggage parents carry around due to divorce, the anger and hostility, the way adults use children as pawns, the way parents forget that kids didn’t ask to be born and placed in the middle of adult drama, etc. That doesn’t sound like your case.

    I also suspect that, while I know the custody arrangement you have going on now is what works for you, that what your son might be craving right now is some sense of normalcy, and routine, and his saying “I miss mommy and daddy at home” is his way of expressing that. Three year olds thrive on stability and routine, and if he doesn’t know that every weekday I’m with mommy and then on the weekend I’m with daddy but rather I’m not sure where I’m going to be on any particular day that’s really stressful for him. So it may not be the divorce itself, but the circumstances. Is there a way to make it more stable for him, even if it means that one or the other of you is away from him for longer stretches of time? Just a thought.

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  2. I know from personal experience the fears that you are encountering. I can tell you however that raising a three-year-old black boy alone was one of the greatest joys of my life. I would wake up in our apt. to the sound of him swishing in his pajamas. I’d here him try to move one of our stools over to his pet goldfish, Candy, to overfeed her or raucously playing with his toys in the next room. My son has never asked for much. Not even a morning cuddle. We would brush our teeth, shower/bathe, throw on some clothes, not brush our afros, and paint the town brown.

    I wish you well as you figure out your new routine. Two pieces of advice that I received along the way:

    “Kids are resilient.” – Dorothy Leverett, my elementary school librarian

    “Take care of A & B, and C & D” will follow.” – Dr. Black, psychologist and sage

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  3. I guess I am waiting for things to settle down with my new job before we decide upon a schedule. What makes it difficult is that now he has a new babysitter, one of his paternal grandmothers, and that is also where his father is staying for the time being. So basically, his care is contained over there. I feel like the visiting parent. On one hand, the free time has allowed me space to breathe, to collect myself, which I so desperately need. On the other hand, it makes spending time with my son difficult and sparse.

    Because of our work schedules, it would be difficult to go on one week stretches and neither of us is interested in being the weekend parent. But in the end, we have to do what is best for him. His father has agreed to provide extra help and coverage as I get adjusted in my career and just generally as I try to regroup. He has a strong family support system and I don’t. Its different for him, I guess.

    I’m just trying to do the best I can to make sure my son doesn’t regress and isn’t totally screwed up in this process.

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  4. Thank you for sharing, Benee. I am empathetic and sympathetic to your situation because I am going through a similar situation. You are doing your best, and that is all you can do. We should definitely talk sometime.

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  5. i am going to reiterate what Tanji said: Kids are resilient. And even better, he has a mommy and daddy who obviously love him so much that they are overlooking their personal turmoil to provide for their son in the best way possible at the time. This transition, is just that, a transition. Temporary solution. And while you may feel guilty or awkward or even a little crazy at times, the boy, the baby, your love is going to be just fine. My kids have seen more upheaval than a small bit this past year, but they are the same joyous, rambunctious, sweet, loving, LOUD, free-spirited, geniuses as they ever were. It’s in a mother’s nature to worry, but let it go. He’s fine.

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