“Oh my goodness! You have two parents! Go ask your dad!”
I used to say that all the time. My kids would literally walk past their father to come to the bathroom door while I was showering to ask me if they could eat the bananas on the table. Or be sitting beside him and ask me what we were doing the rest of the day. Or while I was cooking and he was playing on his phone, ask me to help them with a project. They almost always asked me. Unless it was to watch more TV, in which case, they would ask Vance, because he almost always said yes and I say no. Smart kids.
It’s not like Vance wouldn’t have answered or helped them if they’d just asked. It’s just that, well, he’s the dad and I’m the mom. Most of the time, he got to be the fun parent. I got to be the one who laid down the rules.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Vance couldn’t make the kids behave or that I never have fun with them. I just mean that because I was home all day and with the kids more, I was the primary parent when it came to chores, schoolwork, schedules and rules. He worked all day (and sometimes night) to provide for us, so when he came home, he wanted to relax. He had limited hours with the kids before bedtime and he didn’t want to spend them being the bad guy. I totally get that, although to be honest, I sometimes resented it.
In fact, after a particularly difficult day with one of the kids this week, I found myself screaming at Vance. “Thanks a lot for dying! Once again, you get to be gone and I have do all the hard stuff by myself! AGAIN! I hate you for that!”
(At this point, I feel like I should mention a couple personality flaws I’m working on. First, I have a short fuse. I get angry quickly and then blow. The positive side of that is that I don’t usually stay mad for long and once I’m over it, I’m over it. Second, I tend to take things to extremes. If I am happy with you, I love you to pieces but when I’m angry, I honestly do not want to see your face. Third, I say mean things in my anger. Again, I know these are flaws, not just quirks. I mean it when I say I’m working on it but right now it really is a daily fight for me. )
So back to me yelling at my dead husband. I don’t hate Vance. Not for being the fun parent or for dying. But dang it, sometimes I’m really, really mad that he’s gone and I’m here to navigate all of this alone. It doesn’t seem fair. But then, who said life was fair?
So lately, I find myself wishing I had the option of sending the kids to their dad. For help with math homework that I simply don’t know how to do. For discipline. For comfort. For a ride to practice. For jammed fingers and goodnight snuggles. Because every kid deserves two parents but mine don’t have that anymore, which totally sucks.
I know. I know. It could be worse. The time they had with Vance wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was full of love and games of catch and snuggle-jitsu. I know that some kids never even get a fraction of that. But it doesn’t mean it still doesn’t suck. Because it totally does.
Right now, I’d give almost anything to let him be the fun dad just one more time. To have the kids walk past him to ask me something and be able to scream, “You have two parents!” If only that were an option.