I’ve recently been reminded of the challenges my son will face when his friend asked, “Kai where’s your dad?” I held my breath! What would his reaction be? I’ve never been privy to this interaction between Kai and his friend. I sat and watched as his eyes rolled, as if to say, really? Not this again!
“I don’t have a dad”.
“But, Kai, everyone has a dad? Is your dad dead?”
“Ah, you don’t understand. Mom please explain to him”
I was intrigued by his matter of fact answer, and his request for me to explain. So I told his friend that Kai has a dad, he is alive, but not in Kai’s life.
“But how can that be? Where is he? Kai do you know him?”
“Of course I know my dad! I just don’t see him, mom please explain!” asked my son, slightly annoyed, but also patient with a wisdom that exceeds his age.
Thus I continued to tell the story about his father and how he wasn’t ready to be a dad-dad. He listened while his friend looked at me in complete disbelief. “But how can your dad NOT want to see you?” asked his friend, unaware of the sensitivity of this question.
So, I laid down next to the boys on the bed, and looked at both boys as I explained.
“Kai’s dad wasn’t ready to be a dad, and just like some families only have a mom and dad, other’s only have one parent – some by choice, and others due to unfortunate circumstances. Some kids also live with grandparents or extended family, like Faith who live with us”
“But how can his dad just leave him?” Asked Kai’s friend again, unaware of the subtle change of the rooms aura as I witness the sadness creep into my son’s eyes while I gently rubbed his back.
“Some people just aren’t ready to be parents, and Kai’s dad left before Kai was born, so he’s never been part of his life”
Then the very awkward question, “but then why did you have a child if his dad wasn’t there and Kai how can your dad just leave you”. His friend was very gentle in his questioning, inquisitive and innocent.
I wasn’t quite prepared for this and explained that a parent’s love for their child is not dependent on the other parent. I could see the loss AND hope reflecting in my son’s eyes when he asked me “but is my dad ready to be a dad now?”
How do you answer this?? He is only 8 years old!!
“Kai I don’t know, but I’m sure that if he is ever ready to be a dad-dad to you then he will let you know.” Was my response as I gave him a big hug and reassured him that he is an awesome child and is loved so very much and somehow the subject changed to our dog, a topic that I realised many years ago, gives him great comfort when as the memories are of a baby loved enormously by a beautiful little dog who loved to give lots of kisses!
This left me with a deep sadness within. Knowing that growing up without a father will always leave my son with many emotionally charged questions, most of which I am ill-equipped to answer.
These moments are very brief and rare, but the impact is powerful.
I’ve always been of the opinion that you cannot miss something that you’ve never had. But as my son grows older, I realise that he is mourning the loss of something he’s never had; a dad-dad. The sadness within . . .
12 thoughts on “The Sadness Within”
Oh, Chevone! My heart bleeds for Kai. He will be asked all these questions and more as he grows up. He is blessed to have a family who care so deeply for him. Thank you for your role as Mom in his life. You are an awesome parent. I hope that time doesn’t run out for his father to decide when he’ll be ready to be a dad-dad. He has a wonderful son. May his eyes (and heart) open sooner rather than later.
Ah Shelley, thank you so much for your kind words. I think, to put this post into perspective, you must read this http://chevslife.com/2015/03/19/unpleasant-blast-from-the-past/. He is a very wise child and I think he has reached a time in his life where he understands and may feel as if he’s been rejected 🙁
I know how rejection from a certain factor can feel so I understand what Kai must be feelings to some extent. I look at you and Celeste and I think “Wow, such amazing women!” Thank you for allowing someone like myself the opportunity to learn from your situation so I can be more understanding of others going through something similar. I have high hopes for both you and your son. Much love 🙂
Thanks Shelley. Both my parents grew up without their father’s, so to some extent I understand the inner turmoil. We are very open and I’m thankful that we can talk about his absent father and that it’s not a topic that he shy’s away from.
Chev, I am so sorry. But I think you handled it well. I think just reading this post made me think about how I have to be the missing sibling like how you have to be the missing father. Sometimes it just plain sucks but we do what we can.
Thanks Heather. With children you never know what’s going to be asked next! But we try our best and make the most of it 🙂
Such a touching yet heart warming hear Chev. Seth’s dad was also not ready to be a dad and altho now he has Louis who is more of a dad to him than his father ever was or will be he also still ask questions . It is very difficult to see you kids pain and heart ache but you have done an amazing job as a parent in raising such an awesome little boy who is so special. high five to you !!!
Thank you Lisa, I don’t think it gets any easier. I am so happy for you and Seth, your have a beautiful family!
You handled this so well. Those questions all just leads to more questions. Ai… I do hope Kai’s dad catches a wake up sometime and decides to be his dad-dad. For now though, he’s missing out on a fantastic young lad.
Thank you for sharing this experience with us. And keep doing you. You’re awesome!
Thanks Celeste. It is such a complicated situation, our lifestyles are so very different, as is our values and integrity that I am content in knowing that the door has always been open even though there’s been no follow through on “commitment/interest” with the only request being that it is consisten and not a fly-by-night. He deserves 110% committed parental interest, involvement, unconditional love and so much more – these are absolute non-negotiables. He deserves an awesome parent 🙂
Thank you so much for this, Chevone – my son is also Kai, and has a dad who wasn’t ready to be a dad. I feel a little more equipped to answer questions now <3
Thanks Claire. We just never know what we going to be asked next! I’m glad that our chat can be of some guidance or reassurance to you. All we can do is our best for our Kai’s xoxo