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Challenge: Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

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I am a mother of 5 kids, 3 bio kids and 2 bonus kids. I divorced in 2017 and remarried in 2019. Challenges and joys go hand in hand with blended families. Our kids have so many people who love them but unfortunately one of the parents is absent lately. This post reflects some of my feelings about that topic. For the record, I think most of us are doing the best we can.

He got the shot he wanted, finally! It didn't touch anything but the net, as it fell inside and added two points to the scoreboard. With that shot, he tied up the game and the gym roared with cheers and excitement. The joy on his face was indescribable as he beamed and ran to the other side of the court with his team. I was so proud of him! He'd been waiting for a long time for that moment, and it happened during the last game of the season. In the end, his team won by only one point.

Since you weren't there you missed it. It would be good for you to be there for his sake, but at this point it is not that relevant. Anyway, he will probably tell you the story over the phone, which you seem to be fine with these days. And, since you do not really see him very much anymore, it would be difficult for him to tell you in person. He will regale you with the details as he relishes in the memory of the moment. Of the high he felt in the pride of making that shot, for himself and for his team.

You didn't see him in the driveway most nights, working so hard to make that shot. He practiced for hours, sometimes alone and other times with his brothers and sisters. You didn't go out and buy him basketball shoes for one short season of middle school ball, as he thanked you profusely for doing so. You weren't there when he was disappointed when he missed the shots or when he felt defeated in more ways than one. You weren't there to ease his heartache and let him know there would be another chance and that his time was coming. You weren't there because you are never there. Or if you do show up, you bring a video camera and spend the whole time filming. I suppose so you can go back and watch that one time you did actually show up for your kid. Does that make you feel better?

I hope so. But it doesn't make him feel better. And soon he will forget you should be there. He hasn't mentioned it this time around. They are all getting accustomed to your absence. You have missed so much. I pity you. I wish they could have a present father who cared about the events in their lives, not just the big milestones (if even those anymore, I am not sure...).

Really though, it's the little moments that mean so much. It's the talks in the car on the way home from school. It's the daily hugs with my girl, when she tells me I am "the best mom ever", and squeezes me close while I take in the scent of her hair. It's the silly jokes at the dinner table about teen/tween lingo and even the fake smiles in photos I force them to take. It's the struggle of the teen years and being part of a broken family and a child who still sometimes cries, wishing you had chosen differently. Now they have a bonus dad who is more present than their bio dad. It's all of those things and I am here for every one.

But you missed it that night, and every night, as you will continue to, because you made your choice.

Life is about decisions and this may be the most impactful one you have ever made. I know you have your reasons (I call them excuses because I like honesty). I know you've told our kids "why" you are not here. I realize they have accepted it the best way they know how. Thankfully, they have seen how I am here for them, for it all. So yes, I pity you because they will never be able know that about you for certain. You have proven who you are and what is most important to you and it is not them. They cannot count on you to be there for them, because well, you probably won't be. I am sad for them, how they will always have to wonder and question. That part hurts me quite a lot for them.

So you'll keep on missing it, as this life passes by... and you will blink and have missed it all.


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