Like Daddy

I never had to handle two dads in my life. At least, I don’t remember having to.

My parents divorced when I was 18months old. My mom started dating soon after, so there was a man in my life when I was my son’s age. I just called him Johnny. She didn’t start dating her husband until I was 6, so I just called him Donnie. By then I knew the difference. (Yes, their names rhyme.)

Even before I knew the difference, my dad was around. I knew who Daddy was. My son doesn’t have that. My son gets phone calls and pictures and a vague description of what and who Daddy is.

My son calls me Momma. I’ve never been Mommy, but most other kids call their mothers that. So at first he was a bit confused; when other people would call me his Mommy he would argue with them that I was, in fact, Momma. Now he’s starting to understand.

The other day, as Jack and I were putting him to bed, Holden was being playful and looked up and me and said, “Momma, you’re like Mommy!” I told him yes, I was.

Then he looked at Jack and said, “Jack, you’re like Daddy!”

At first we were both kind of stuck, we didn’t know what to say. So we both just said no. Then Holden repeated himself.

I said, “He’s like Daddy, but he’s not Daddy.” At the same time, Jack said, “No baby, I’m Jack. I’m just your friend.”

Holden seemed incredibly upset by this. He made a scowling face and told me, “Momma, Jack says he’s just my friend!” We quickly changed the subject.

Now I don’t know what to do. Because we’re both right — Jack is just Holden’s friend. And Momma’s friend. And a man who happens to be like a Daddy.

Sadly, I don’t think my son is old enough yet to understand the difference.

There’s a fine line when it comes to other people in children’s lives. I know that Nate feels threatened by Jack’s presence, but he also wants the best for his son. I know that Jack feels like a father to Holden, but he also wants to respect Nate. I want, more than anything, for my son to know and love his true father, but I also don’t want to disregard the important role Jack plays in Holden’s life.

So what does one do when the other parent is in prison? Well, we’ve already decided to tell Holden the truth from the beginning. Daddy is in jail. What jail is, well, we’ll tackle that when he’s old enough to understand. But what about the Who is Daddy? question, and where does that leave Jack?

I don’t know these answers yet. I’m still trying to work them out myself. But I can say that it’s hard — it’s very difficult to give my son everything he needs while at the same time not stepping on any toes.

I can say that Holden will know that Daddy loves him very, very much and would be here if he could.

I can say that Holden will have Jack in his life forever, and Jack will do father/son things with him.

I can say that I will never, ever belittle either of them or their roles, because they’re both such important parts of my son’s life.

As for the important questions, well, I can’t say what clever concoction I will tell my boy; I can only say it will be fueled by love, for all parties involved.

An Ordinary Update

I still have nothing important to say. I really need to get my meds switched or adjusted, because I just don’t feel passion anymore, about anything. I’m not depressed but I’m not into anything, and the things I want to be interested in can’t hold my concentration — like writing and reading.

So I guess I’ll just give you an update.

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Thursday I had therapy, and my dad came. We drove all the way out there (a 20-30 minute drive; that day it was only 20) to find out my therapist never showed up. So we waited for half an hour and decided to go home. Once we got back into our hometown, my therapist called and apologized profusely explaining that some lines of communication got mixed up and she was there now and could I come back? I did, my dad in tow.

Not the best first impression, but he didn’t seem to mind. He mentioned that he likes going places with me so he actually enjoyed the drive there, back, there again, and back again.

We worked out a lot of stuff. You may remember these two previous posts about my father — his contradictory ways affect me deeply and I don’t always think we have the best relationship. He fessed up to knowing that he contradicts himself and assured me that it wasn’t me — he gets stressed out and is in constant pain and sometimes takes it out on me.

(Side note: my therapist’s last name is Funk, and my psychiatrist’s last name is Dick, and I think that’s just the most amazing combo ever in the history of mankind.)

So Funk suggested whenever one of us is having an off day we simply let the other know, so we can both understand that whatever may be said isn’t really directed towards either of us, but at the day in general. My dad loved the idea.

She also suggested that, since part of my development up kind of came to a halt when I started using drugs at age 16, we work with my childishness instead of against it and utilize a chore chart. At the end of every week, if I get everything done, I get a prize just like a child would. My dad really loved this idea.

Then we talked about my medications — my suboxone and mental health meds — and how he doesn’t like that I’m on any of them but has finally come to accept and understand that at this point in time I need them and they make me a better person. Funk helped a lot with this breakthrough as well and my father and I are going to start going to meetings (NA / AA) together even if only to complain about how much we dislike them.

So that went well. It was one of the best therapy sessions I’ve had because something actually happened.

Afterwards, in the car, my father and I continued to talk and he assured me that I’m not a failure for living at home and he adores my son and I being here with him and he’s proud of me and all that — everything I need to hear now and then. Things seem really good. We’re both happy, at the moment. Funk said he’s probably the most supportive, understanding, and willing parent she’s ever met. Which made me proud of him.

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I also am taking this getting married thing very seriously. I started looking for a ring and found the perfect one — an engagement / wedding band combo — for an amount within my / my father’s / Nate’s price range, which my father has agreed to get me for Christmas. Nate wants to try to pay for some of it, too, mainly because my dad doesn’t know exactly why I want it for Christmas. I was going to tell him in therapy but chickened out. Either way, I’m getting it within the next few months and couldn’t be happier and will post pictures once it’s officially on my finger forever.

Sadly, that’s the only easy thing to come from this decision. Well, my mother is supportive and said she’d be happy to attend, so that’s awesome, too. However it seems it’s nearly impossible to get a marriage license because both parties have to be physically present and although I’ve found a bunch of courthouses that go out to certain prisons every so often to issue them, none of them go to Nate’s prison. I spent the better part of Friday calling every courthouse in the state and none of them could help me, but I also didn’t even get halfway through the list.

I found a woman online who has performed many prison weddings and she said she knows of a courthouse that will do video conference and she can set it all up and work with everyone involved to make sure it all runs smoothly. Of course, with her fees and the video conference and marriage license fees, the cost comes to a little over $700, which is completely and totally worth it but just not something I have right now.

I was hoping to have the wedding in March but now it may have to wait a little longer. Either way, at least we’re getting somewhere and are officially fiancés instead of boyfriend / girlfriend now. Which may sound juvenile but it makes me happy.

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Halloween was stressful. Holden didn’t want to wear his costume to school so I sent it with him, his teacher had difficulty getting it on him but finally did but then he took it off 5 minutes after I showed up for his parade, he wouldn’t partake in the parade, then he wouldn’t put the costume back on when we got home so I ended up taking him to his best friend’s house and enlisting her parents to help me wrestle him into it, which we finally did.

I immediately took him outside to play to maybe keep his mind off it and it seemed to work because he became much happier and kept it on, and then we went trick-or-treating down one street with his best friend, Peyton, until she had to leave to go to another town where they give out better candy and we stayed and Holden continued to have fun for about one more street until he decided Halloween is not his thing.

We forced him to stay out for as long as we could but after about an hour total he was done and when we stopped home to get his stroller he ran inside and took off his costume before we even got through the door. So it was fun for a bit, but I have to admit I’m a little bummed. When I was little Halloween was a very serious event — my parents got so into it one time (we think it may have all been the same year) I wore my shoes down until there was nothing left and I had blisters all over my feet, one cousin had an asthma attack and the other threw up in the van and my parents and aunts and uncles kept going because candy was the goal, dammit, and if you trailed you would be left behind.

So getting the meager amount of candy we did for being out for only an hour kind of gave me flashbacks about how that’s so not good enough and I would have been left out in the cold to fend for myself had they been around. We need to teach this kid some proper Halloween etiquette, and soon.

I didn’t take any pictures because the whole thing was so stressful, but I’m going to give the kid and myself a few days to recover and then wrestle the costume on him again and force him to smile for the camera. In case you were wondering, he was the Big Bad Wolf, I was Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack was the Lumberjack.

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That’s about it, I guess. I know I missed yesterday’s Featured Friday but I think the above is excuse enough and I think I’m going to start doing it every other week because I seem to miss every other week anyway.

Today I’m supposed to post one of Nate’s letters but they’re all mixed in with the other shit in The Pile so that may be postponed as well, and I’m not sure which other features I’ll post until I’m feeling better but whenever I say that I end up posting them so take everything I say with a grain of salt.