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?”
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”.
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…)