Before I dive in I would like to disclose that W gave me permission to write about filling in the blanks. That being said I will be vague around some edges.

A few weeks ago, when I picked up W from after care, one of the other moms was there as well. We sat down and watched as our boys packed up their bags and put on shoes. The mom leaned over to me and said, “I was so sorry to hear about your cat. I know that must have been hard because of his dad and all.”


I asked if she could elaborate and she said, “I heard your cat just died?”
I said, “and the dad part?”
She replied, now questioning, “W’s father…died?”

Oh dear.

I explained that my mother’s kitty had passed away several months ago and that W was, indeed, very sad about it. I then asked how she heard about the other bit – because it was not accurate and a bit more complicated. Turns out W has been telling/explaining the missing dad by saying his father is dead.

I come into this with an odd bit of a duality. I am not in favor of W fabricating a story. I simply don’t like it. That being said – I totally get it. And after talking to several other single moms, and specifically single moms via donor sperm, I recognize what W is saying is normal.

I also get it because when I was a kid I told people the same thing. It was a LOT easier to end the questions about the lack of a father in my family by saying he was deceased. End of story. Done. And for W, even though we talk about how W doesn’t have a father – he has a donor – I can imagine this is not a concept easily understood by others. And it is probably something that gets challenged. Because doesn’t EVERYONE have a father?!

“Everyone except Darth Vader!” The force is strong with W.

Earlier this morning I needed to grab some information from W’s birth certificate and I smiled at the bottom section of the document. Below the mother’s name is the space for the father’s name. On W’s birth certificate it lists my name and below it there is a vast expanse of blank space and in bold letters it proclaims, “THE SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK”.
filling in the blanks

Yes. That is correct. I intentionally had a baby without a father. The space is blank. But as I frequently remind people a blank space does not mean surrounded by flames or barbed wire. In my mind it means open. Possibilities. I think I flinch a bit about W saying his dad is dead because it brings a bizarre finality cloud to something I don’t consider over. But – my story about this is not HIS story.

So I am letting W tell his own story any way he wants or needs to at this point. It is his to tell. I told so many whoppers when I was a kid trying to flesh my identity out. Here are some choice ones I remember:
1. dead dad
2. best friend = Drew Barrymore
3. have asthma
4. allergic to construction paper

It all turned out ok. (and YEARS later I had a very comical run in with Drew…)

One thought on “Filling in the blanks

  1. I have to say my daughter’s birth certificate is a little less jarring. It simply says “Not Disclosed”. Semantics I guess. L has been really good at explaining the concept of Donor vs Dad. She has met one of her siblings and her explanation was same donor different doctors. She does get upset when her friends are talking about their dads, and she still hopes one day I will get married (unlikely). Her friends are nice enough to keep the dad talk to a minimum when she is around. It’s a constant discussion about how she feels about her unique family. I can totally get W’s point of view, because explaining even for me can get tedious. L gets really upset when someone doesn’t understand the concept of donor. Her favorite saying is, “How do you not get it”?


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