I have a new friend, a single mom by choice, whose daughter is the same age as B. My friend has certainly suffered and had difficulties in her life -- giving up on finding a parenting partner before her biological clock ran out and working for 3 years to conceive both come to mind. But I was impressed when I visited her home. If the blending of toys and decor is any gauge, she has integrated her daughter's life and hers seamlessly and beautifully. She is Jewish, and she invited B and me over for Friday night (shabbat) dinner. I got to thinking about how she and her daughter have challah and light candles for the sabbath, just the two of them. As if no one were missing. When that realization struck me, I burst into tears. Because of course, I live every day as if someone where missing. T is missing, and will be missing forever.
No one is missing in their lives. She chose the path of single parenthood, and though it is unquestionably a very difficult path to walk, and she could very well acutely miss the company of a partner in the experience, she also went into it with the expectation of being on her own. I, on the other hand, was never really sure I wanted to have children, and only decided to try after it was abundantly clear that T really wanted another, and would be an equal partner in the endeavor. Once I started down the path to parenthood, though, I because passionately committed to the idea, and had to go, it turned out, to extraordinary measures. (That's a story for another post.)
So having the relationship disappear that was the basis and foundation for having the child makes the parenting part just that much more overwhelming. Being on my own with B is just wrong, and I can't and don't want to get my head around it. But fighting against the reality of things never seems to lead to much success or happiness, does it. I feel I could learn a lot from my new friend about how to set things up and live a life as a whole, complete person and parent, living as if no one were missing.