Ms Single Mama challenged us all to write about our worst fear and how we plan to fix this fear. So, here goes.
As soul-crushing and vomit-inducing as it was to hear “I just never really loved you”, it was an even bigger test to see the one whose ring you wore on your finger slide so easily into a new relationship. A relationship that involved another (younger, blonder) single mom and her two kids.
The first time all three of us met, it wasn’t pretty. He and She huddled together on the couch, blowing smoke in my direction while they looked over my parenting plan, scowling. She told him that my plan was “bullshit” and that he shouldn’t agree to it. He nodded in agreement. It was official. I hated her.
That was 6 months ago. Since then, the three of us (and sometimes herex) have met with reasonable amounts of civility, and I’m quite proud of the fairly low amount of White Trashiness that has been involved in the exchange. Its still weird seeing her wear his T-Shirts; the ones I used to sleep in, and think about how smooth the transition from me to her was. Its almost like the life HE had with me and LB never even happened, and now there’s some blonde girl wearing his t-shirts.
Last weekend LB cried when I came to pick her up. For the first time, she didn’t want to leave “Daddy and Blondie” That was the day my worst fear surfaced. It hit me like a dodge ball to the face. Questions started bombarding me.
What if this girl is more than just the next one to wear his T-shirt? What if their relationship lasts longer than ours did? What if the engagement that never followed through in my life, magically transports to HIS and HER reality? What if LB gets a half-sibling before I ever even start dating again? What if the family that her daddy has so neatly fit himself into becomes the family that LB wants to be apart of? What if that family becomes more important than me?
Yes. My biggest fear is one of complete selfishness. I want to be the most important person in LB’s life. I am afraid that a family that includes a mom & dad and two sisters will one day be the most important thing in her life, and the family she would rather be with. I’m afraid that crying when I come to pick her up will turn into tantrums, and then turn into begging and eventually a court order with her stating she would rather live with her dad than me.
I want the best thing for my daughter. I want her to be happy. I know she loves me and I know I’m a good mom, but I’m not her father. I can be the best single mom I can possibly be, but as long as her dad is here, there will always be an element in her life that I can’t fulfill the way he does. There will always be something that she experiences when she’s with him, that will be completely different than when she is with me. How can I compete with that?
I guess part of me is scared because I didn’t have much faith in his ability to be a good dad, let alone be part of a succesful family unit. I said it before in an earlier post, Its easy to be the hero, when the other guy is a raging low-life asshole. LB’s crying when I went to pick her up has confirmed my fears. He is no longer the asshole. He is daddy-dearest.
Solution: More than anything, I hate to live in fear. I would rather be angry, sick, tired, depressed and bed-ridden rather than constantly biting my nails.
- I keep reminding myself to give my daughter more credit. She’s a smart kid, and the fact that she get to be 2 little girls’ playmate every Sunday is a nice perk in her life, but she probably won’t disown me as her mother just so she can play with them everyday.
- Give myself more credit. I have nurtured, cared, provided for and loved my child since the day of her birth, and she knows it. Even if her dad may offer her a more “traditional family”, the LB & Me team is a pretty sweet deal too. Constant attention 100% of the time? SCORE!
- I think of all the non-traditional families I know. My close friend is raising a child in a same-sex family, and that child is an amazing, creative, imaginative, happy little person. The thought of him choosing another family based on Mom & Dad vs Dad & Dad seems so ludicrous, that it brings me comfort when I think of LB choosing to live with the X and his “All American” family.
- I think of my best friend Jiji who is going to have LB as her flower girl, and how she was raised by a single mom as well. I think about all the people who love LB, and how lucky I am to have them in my (and her!) life. There is no shortage of adoration in her world.
- I think about my boss, whose own daughter eventually chose to live with her dad when she was in high school. I think about how hard that was for her, but what a strong & amazing person she remains. So I know if my fear DOES come to be reality, I know at least one person (and probably half of America) survived it.
My fear is nothing like a phobia of dying (though that thought makes me want to write my will NOW), and I’m sure every single mom whose Ex moved onto another family has felt the same way in the early stages of their single parenthood. Honestly, I think every mom has a primal fear that their child will be somehow taken away from them (lost, kidnapped, killed, removed WHATEVER), and I think that is where my fear is stemming from. That instinctual level of protection.
Luckly, I think I will be able to manage it one day. I think its ok to have fears, its just not ok to let them control your life. I refuse to do that.