It’s hard enough to be a single parent. School pickups, sick nights, managing finicky eating, tight work schedules, etc. You know what I am saying. It’s hard enough to be a single parent. But its hard to be a single parent on the weekends I don’t have Ryan.
I feel strange that he lives just miles from me but he is not here. Yeah, of course it is fun to have a weekend where I can fill it up with activities and enjoy a doing things that I enjoy without the worry of managing the child. Of course it is. But…but…I would trade my weekends without for having him all the time. I want my son around, and when he is not, life feels less fun.
What I can take from this feeling is seeing just how much Ryan is a part of my identity. He gives me strength and joy that right now I really turn into energy and purpose. He makes my home feel like home because of that energy. I remember when Elana and I had bought a house, the reason it felt like home was the presence of the children that gave it life, a life I see now that was lacking in our (Elana and me) life. Home is home because Ryan laughs and smiles and even gets sick here. It’s home because I have an endless stream of his clothes that I have to wash, and my routines here at home revolve around his bedtime schedules and school schedules. I notice when his energy is missing as it has such a place with me as an extroverted parent. On these weekends, I both love life and miss life, and my home is not the same.
Don’t get me wrong: I am using this time to focus on developing myself and deepening my identity and having the fun and joy I want. I am trying to learn how to skateboard, going to Dynamo games, playing disc golf, camping, beach tripping, reading, knocking things off my bucket list. Yep, doing those things and more. I am not a person who has no identity outside of my kid. But hear this. On these weekends without Ryan, I am still a parent. I still am the dad of an almost 4 year old and tell stories to people about my son and laugh about him. But I am the parent without my child nonetheless. The temptation on these weekends is to become something I am not: the single dude who has tons of fun and never talks about my kid to the point you have no idea unless he is with me. But I choose to be the person whose identity fundamentally includes my parenthood as it did my spousal relationship and friendships and my interests and hobbies. I love being me, and me includes Ryan as much as it does Texas Children’s Hospital and chaplaincy and Southwest Central Church of Christ and Teresa Denham and Joe Denham among others, if not more so.
I’m writing this as my way to vent some of how I have been feeling and name the anxiety. I suppose, no, I know its normal. It’s the beginning of living into single parenthood and feeling deeply the pressures of love, protection, and care for a child primarily (I have him mostly, with him being at his moms every other weekend for 3.5 days). But I can say I miss him, even if its only a couple days in between. I can say it because it is good coping to do so on this journey of single parenting post divorce. And I can say it because I know its going to be okay, as it always is.
So here you go. I miss my boy Ryan. Love you Ry-guy.