“Mom, is my dad dead?”
When Mila started preschool, I knew there would be questions about our family unit. She knows her brother died and can obviously see she doesn’t have a dad.
I’ve been preparing myself for questions, but I never thought she might have thought he died.
For the last year and a half, I’ve let her know it’s her and I against the world. That it’s okay to just have a mom. All families are different. Some have just one parent: mom or dad. Some have two: a mom and dad, two moms, two dads.
She seems to understand and tells me she is happy. If you talk to her, you can see that too.
There is no shortage of love for Mila. Our extended family is amazing. She has men in her life that show her how guys should act and treat others. I think she’s balanced in what she does and who she’s around. And again, most importantly, she is happy and healthy.
I couldn’t ask for a better daughter.
BUT, no matter how happy or how much love she has, there’s still a missing piece in her life.
“Mom, is my dad dead?”
“No, he’s not dead. Why do you ask that?”
“At preschool, I told my friends I didn’t have a daddy, just a mommy, and someone asked if he died. Like Jensen.”
“He didn’t die. It’s just you and I. When you get older, I’ll tell you more about him. Promise.”
Then she gives me a hug and let’s me hold her for a while. I don’t know if she cried because I couldn’t look. When she let go, she told me she loved me and went along her way.
I can’t tell you all the emotions that conversation made me feel.
If I could have screamed, I would. There was so much anger and sadness in me, on top of wanting to protect Mila from the world, from her dad.
It honestly makes sense that she thought that. She knows she has a brother that’s not here anymore. Jensen died and whew not here. She doesn’t have a dad, so in her head it makes sense he died too.
I’ll never understand how one person is okay with leaving a little girl, their flesh and blood, with so many questions… especially in the most impressionable years of her life. Okay with never knowing her or wanting her to succeed. Okay with not keeping her safe: emotionally, socially, and physically. Okay with her wondering if he died. Not that I even want him or his family involved with her, it’s still unfair to Mila not to know and wonder if he just died.
Sometimes I think that would have been an easier explanation for her. Death would make more sense than just being an abusive, neglectful, and cruel person to a child.
I don’t even understand it, how could a three year old?
It was one of those times as a parent when I had to separate my feelings and just had to focus on Mila. She needs to know that no matter what, her mom will always be there for her.
Being a single parent is hard. There’s so many questions I know Mila will have in the future that will feel like a hurdle when we get there.
This was just one of those times.
The next few days after the big question, she seemed a little down. I tried to make those days special and read books to her about different types of families. We also made a little book of our family to show her how many people love her.
I can’t change the fact that Mila’s dad is a terrible person who’s abandoned her. What I can help is how she views the world and her situation.
She is the most special girl. No one can ever take that away from her.
Usually I ask for advice or a question at the end of every blog post. I know Mila and I’d situation is unique, but if you have any book recommendations about single parent families, positive and helpful suggestions, or other resources that would help, please let me know.