Another Year… Another Reason To Smile

Yesterday was my son’s 4th birthday.

It was also the first birthday I was not there to say “Happy Birthday” when he woke up. It was the first birthday I didn’t dress him in a special birthday outfit. It was the first birthday I didn’t get to sing a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to him.

It was also the first birthday he was full aware of. It was the first birthday he looked forward to and counted down the days to. It was the first birthday he spent in school, celebrating with school friends. 

I was sad the night before, moved to tears. I thought of my difficult pregnancy, how I didn’t want him at first, of all the turmoil I went through with his father during pregnancy, during our marriage… I was saddened by the turn of events that led to his not being with me. I woke up, called him and wished him a good birth day. I wanted him to know Mommy loved him, even though I wasn’t there. He knew. He always knows. I picked him up after work and went out to dinner. After, he didn’t want to get in the car just yet… he wanted to walk around with me, so we did. When it was time to get into the car, he resisted, but eventually he went in.

He asked, “Mommy am I going to my old home with you?”

I almost lost it right there. I explained he was going back to daddy and that I would pick him up on Friday. When I dropped him home, I gave him a big hug, he gave me a big smile, and we exchanged “I love you”s.

I drove home, not tearful, but happy. This is a new beginning for us, a new path, a new way of being. My baby has given me four years of the greatest gift a child could give a parent: the opportunity to truly Love.

Happy Birthday, again, Pooda. Mommy loves you always.

(class singing Happy Birthday to him) http://yfrog.com/ngpz4z

6 thoughts on “Another Year… Another Reason To Smile

  1. Very nice. My daughter never lived w/ her dad but after we split I gave up all of my holidays & birthdays w/ her. Everyone thought I was crazy. It was this way for years until I had my son, she was 10 then. She said “Mommy, I want spend Christmas here this year.” Christmas led to Thanksgiving & her Bday. Eventually they go where they want to be.

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    1. At what point do we let them decide where they want to be though? And then, what if it means one parent gets shafted repeatedly? Like, what if he decides he doesnt want to spend weekends with me or come to me for holidays? Do I force him anyway?

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      1. I think you do, force him, I mean. Just like we force our kids to see the rest of their family (as long as they aren’t abusive and what not) because family is important. Just like I think you would force him to see his dad even when he didn’t want to, cause that’s his dad, and that’s important. Hopefully, if it ever comes to it, his dad will do the same for you.

        But I don’t think it will ever come to that. You all have a wonderful bond that is apparent now and will only grow and deepen…

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  2. My mom never forced me. And I appreciated her for that. That’s why I ask. She never made me see my dad unless I wanted to.. and sometimes, I just didn’t want to.

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  3. Happy Birthday, Garvey!

    The question of “forcing” is an interesting one. Children are “forced” to see their custodial parent, whether they want to or not; whether they’re happy with that parent or not; whether that parent is fun, or not. Why shouldn’t a non-custodial parent, who takes good care of that child when the child is in their custody, and who loves that child and wants to cultivate/maintain a strong relationship with that child, also get the benefit of “forced” time together? Otherwise, it becomes too easy for children to use their absence as a way of manipulating or punishing parents for circumstances that they don’t like, i.e. mommy is more strict about food, and so I don’t “want” to see her, and nobody will “force” me to.

    I understand the aversion we have to the thought of “forcing” a child to see a parent, but assuming that parent is a regular and positive figure in that child’s life–just like you, no doubt, are, Benee–I don’t think there’s anything wrong with forcing.

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