MIAGD: make it a great day
The Haaseinda is turned upside down as we transition from empty nest status to one more son.
Not one room in this Cape Cod dwelling is undisturbed with a lack of organization or stacks of stuff. The chaos is a bit of a challenge for my organized nature, I’m actually cool with it.
When I first began adopting sons, I quickly realized foster/adoptive parents are often held to a different strand of parental expectations. There’s a stigma attached to fostering children, and even some for adopting children.
I also became quite aware that single dads electing to adopt children were also held in a different light than a single mother adopting children. This I did not find surprising. Women, historically, are the better sex at nurturing, cooking, taking care of all the household items, and doing all the volunteer work for school and other organizations.
The Haasienda operated rather smoothly, and everyone became accustomed to a single dad raising all those boys – adopted and fostered. It did, however, aggravate me when folks would act so surprised that a single man could have a career, manage all aspects of home life and school, while raising all those sons.
Our family’s mission in any adoption discussion is all about educating others. I know some adopted families bristle with any questions that may seem invasive, or insensitive. I always encouraged the boys to be educators about adoption.
I’m sitting here on the deck listening to the sounds around me, hearing the swish of traffic on Shroyer Road, hoping to hear the marching band get started on the field, soon, all the while knowing so many items are not being tackled at the moment.
Years ago, as a new dad, this would never have happened. No matter what it took, everything in the house was addressed. The house was never a mess, everything was put away, and order and organization reigned throughout the house.
As we watch our children grow, we often identify the process through which they are traveling. All too often, we fail to recognize that we, too, are also changing, and going through a natural process.
Parents often joke that there are not as many photographs of their younger children as their honor of their eldest. Many families laugh about how strict parents were with the elder children, but far more relaxed with the younger children.
As I look back on all these years as a single dad, the above scenario has held true for me. I’m a lot more relaxed as a parent.
Some of it is due to the maturity as a parent and knowing which hills to die on, and selecting battles carefully.
Table manners have always been a major issue with me. My newest addition needs a little more coaching in this area, but right now, that simply is not an issue for me. I’m sure many family and friends are wanting to call the paramedics to check my pulse.
There is a strong sense of liberation in the parenting process when you reach this level. Doesn’t mean I am not going to be a hands-on dad as with previous sons? Hell, no.
The job will get done. It always has.
I have a new son, entirely different than the previous ones, with an entirely different set of needs given his background with birth family and foster care. The items in my parenting plan that were once priorities, are no longer pushing their way to the top of the list.
And, that’s Okay. Really, it is.
This son is entirely different than the others. There’s still the baggage, but there’s a different, much more positive attitude with this new son.
The job will get done.
And while you are recognizing your own life’s process, or journey, don’t forget to make it a great day.