My little boy's love handles are gone.
Being unemployed and muddling through a divorce is not fun. No. fun. at. all.
I spend the better part of my day feeling like shit because it's somehow my fault I'm unemployed, because, naturally, if I were doing it right I'd have a job. The other part of my day I'm feeling half way between joyous at being out of a painful relationship and crushed that my partnership with a wonderful human being is forever relegated to "father of my child" instead of "partner forever." There's also a whole lot of swearing, laughing, searching, thinking and hustling going on, too, but that's the gist.
Sunday, as you all know, was Father's Day and Rooster decided he'd like me to join him and Hawk for the day. It was my custodial day and I would have been happy to let them hang together sans moi, but I was happy to be a familial unit, too.
Rooster and I have so many relationships with each other right now. We are co-parents, divorce adversaries (and allies), friends, and exes. It's a lot to manage.
Sometimes I have to ask him to not cross the streams when I hear him start a sentence with, "So..." I know it means DIVORCE and depending on which relationship I'm in with him at that moment I might have to say, "Please, can we just put that on hold and just hang today?" He obliges, but I know he's waiting for the moment when the paradigm shifts and he can get whatever's on his mind out into the space between us.
Sunday was all friend and co-parent day. Hawk has really melted into our new family structure and no longer clings to one or the other of us when we're all together. We swam at Barton Springs and ate at a favorite greasy spoon. When we dropped off Rooster Hawk was sad to see him go and even before we were out of the driveway he was saying he missed his Daddy.
I don't know how many times I've said something like, "I know you miss Daddy, Baby. I bet it hurts in your heart, huh?" He'll respond in the affirmative and I'll go on, "Daddy misses you, too. And when you're with Daddy Mommy misses you and you miss me, too. We all miss each other these days, but it's ok. We all love each other and when you're apart from someone you love, sometimes it hurts. It'll get better, I promise."
He tells me misses me whenever he's with Rooster and that he loves me very much. We hug, we hug tighter. We talk endlessly about MISSING SOMEONE. Oh God, how it breaks my heart that he's so familiar with this ache; his little, bitty heart. Missing someone. GOD.
And then Sunday nights and Monday mornings are heavy-hearted ones for the both of us. By now Hawk knows that he's going to stay the night with Daddy the night after school on Monday. He's excited, but then gets quiet. "I live with Daddy, and you, and Papa-Mimi. I live in lots of places. But I really just want to live with you."
I know he doesn't mean it literally -- when he's with Rooster he says the same thing -- but it's his longing, his anticipated missing of me that makes him say such a thing. He knows he's loved by these three households and loves them all fiercely in return, but his mind is trying to catalog all the players in his life. It has to make sense in some way.
"When I'm gone living with Daddy you need to be strong," he goes on. "Don't cry, don't be upset. I love you and I will miss you, too, but I will see you soon." I burst into tears and hold him close to me. Where has this child come from?? This sweet, amazing, brilliant, tender child.
"I will, Baby, I promise, but it's ok if I'm sad, too. But I'll be ok. I just love you very much and wish we could be together all the time. But I want you to be with your daddy, too. He also loves you very much and misses you when you're with me. This is what we all have to do. We all have to be tough."
I don't know if I'm rambling, if I'm showing and sharing too much, but I'm overwhelmed. By his kindness, my feelings, my life. Fuck, this is hard.
But I know I'm doing something right if Rooster and I can identify our strengths and spend an afternoon together celebrating his fatherhood and if my little boy can self-assuredly pass between me and his father and his grandparents. I might not always feel like a success, but I think that maybe I might be a bigger happy ending than I give myself credit for. The job will come in time, but success -- to some degree -- is already here.