We had spent some time cleaning the house, so I asked if he wanted to go for an evening walk before bed. He excitedly said YES and asked if we could go exploring. I shrugged in sort-of-agreement and figured we’d just end up at the playground in our complex that he liked playing at.
As we walked, I found a dirt road that circled the complex but also overlooked the barren field next door that I think was originally going to be another collection of apartments at some point. He said it was like hiking and he admired the various plants we passed. He picked up a rock for his collection, and we saw several bunnies and lizards scurrying around.
I got a little bored and turned us around on the trail so we could head back in our original direction and to the playground. I was antsy to get back and do my ten minutes of writing; I admit it. But I also wanted him to have outside playtime before he had to go to bed.
“Why can’t we go out there?” He pointed towards the barren field. “Let’s go explore somewhere we’ve never been.”
I explained that I wanted to stick close to home because it was starting to get dark. We weren’t going to be out much longer, and we should probably head to the playground if he wanted to have time to run around there before we went home.
“You know, my daddy…”
And then I zoned out. I knew what he was going to say. He was going to tell me another wonderful memory of when his daddy took him on a walk and they went exploring and found all kinds of neat things. He was going to regale me with another tale of how much fun he always had with his daddy. He was going to remind me that daddy always got to be the fun parent.
But I didn’t want to get upset about it. I just wanted to let him talk. He’s finally getting to a place where he can have memories of his daddy without breaking down into tears because he hasn’t seen him in almost three months.
Because it’s true that daddy got to be the fun one. He got to play around and have fun and be silly. He took him on exploration hikes, and to the theater to see all the new comic book movies, they played a lot down by the river and he brought him presents.
I’m not trying to say that I don’t get to be a fun parent. I’m actually the lucky one (or responsible?) because I get to be with T all the time. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but isn’t that true for all parents? Whether you’re a single parent or part of a couple, parenting can just get overwhelming. Because raising people is tough work, yo.
But I do get jealous. Because I get to hear about all the wonderful memories he has with his daddy. He doesn’t talk so much about the memories he has with me…because I was there. And because I guess the fun times with me are more a part of daily life. The memories he has with his daddy are fewer and farther between.
Yet, as rational as I can be when I actually think about it, I still get tinges of jealousy every time he starts to tell a story about something he did with his daddy.