Ever so often something happens that makes the decision that I made to end things with Aiden's other parent sting a little. Just a little though. Don't get me wrong, I never regret the decision. But I do think about the impact it has on Aiden. Because it does have a huge impact on him.
A couple days ago the sting came during a conversation between Aiden and me.
Aiden: "My dad plays football." That's the sentence I used when [my teacher] asked me to think of a sentence with the word 'plays'.
Me: That sentence works fine.
Aiden: Well... I don't have a dad. But I said that sentence anyway.
Enter the sting.
I tried to search for the words to respond to Aiden. But nothing seemed to suffice. I thought about making a joke about it. But I couldn't think of a witty response fast enough. I thought about proclaiming to Aiden that, although he hasn't seen him in a long time, he does, in fact, have a dad. But I didn't want to dismiss his thoughts and feelings.
I thought and thought, but I couldn't muster up a response to Aiden's comment. I stared at him as he searched my face for a response. But I just stood there, frozen.
I've written about this before. I've thought about this before. Countless times. I've felt sorry about this before -- sorry that I didn't pick a better parenting partner to help me raise Aiden; sorry that Aiden doesn't get to call someone "daddy" everyday; sorry that Aiden doesn't have the security in a father that he deserves. Just... sorry.
But I can't let myself go down that road. It's a downward spiral that's ineffective.
These are the cards that Aiden and I have been dealt. The only thing I can do is make peace with the situation, move forward, rock this single mom thing out, and show Aiden that life is about making the best of what you have.
Eventually, I pulled myself together, smiled, and said, "You have me." With confidence and with reassurance. Because he does have me.
Always and forever.