Today, I've already been wished a Happy Father's Day and a Happy Second Mom's Day, more than once,
In some ways, it's been a very typical Sunday. I woke up this morning singing "Good Good Father" in my head, at 5:45 when Norah decided we should get up and get ready for 8:30 church, bathed the two-year-old princess, fed the kids, watched Norah tattoo herself so she can look like me, gone to church, came home, and fed the kids lunch,.
But in other ways, today feels like agony. I sat through church and heard, as I have many times before, the various ways that children can be screwed up by not having a dad in their lives. From home life, to church life, to school life, to social life... there's numerous, detailed effects that have been studied and documented linking the lack of a father in children's lives to problems later on. I get it. I have heard it all before. And each time, I always break down in tears.
That's not the only thing that I got from the message at church, mind you. But it's always a lingering reminder that just a mom just isn't good enough by worldly standards.
I'm mom. It's just me. I'm not dad.
Yes, I have the responsibility of both parents. I provide the income and stability that way, and the emotional and educational development. I love with a momma's heart and discipline with a father's hand. I do both sides for the most part and I do them the majority of moment I am with them every day.
But, I'm not their dad. I'm not a father.
God calls on me to show them a mother's love and to show them His love through the heart of a mother. He calls on father's to show them the father's love and discipline, and I do that too. But I am not their dad. I am not a father.
They have one. He's somewhere out there. He's not showing them the Father's love, though, or a father's love. He's not fulfilling that role God called of him, so I have to make up the best I can.
But I am not their dad. I am not a father. I never will be. I can't be.
For much of the last year, I've been trying to pull double duty. I've been told I'm an awesome mom and an equally awesome dad.
But I'm not. I'm just a mom. I'm just filling in father type roles when I can and am capable.
I don't have to be a dad. I don't have to be a father. As much as I want them to have one, it's not going to be me. It doesn't have to be me.
I'm finally becoming more okay with that.
Someone messaged me a week or two ago, telling me something very similar. Her exact words were, "Sometimes it feels like you are trying to be two people. In some respects, you have to be both mom and dad, but you are physically one person, and you need to allow yourself to live within that limitation. Some days, you just need to put one foot in front of the other, and call it a successful day. You don't have to make up for their father's absence, and some days, as long as your children's basic needs are met, you have had a successful day."
Since I first read her message, I have been dwelling on it. I've been letting it sink in and been trying to wrap myself around the truth that is in the sentences.
I've been trying so hard to make up for the loss of their dad. I've been trying so hard to be both a mother and a father. But it's not what I'm called to do. I'm called to be their mother, and to raise them in a home filled with Christ-like love and examples. I'm called to surround them with others who live in the same way, and let the influences of those people also shape my children and show them the love of fathers and of the Father. I just have to be the best mom I can be.
So yes, it's Father's Day, and it's my second Mom's Day of the year, and I will, in some respect, celebrate that I am pulling double duty in many respects, and that it's just them and me, and that we are living in a love-filled, happy household. We will smile, laugh, cuddle, and play. We will relish the joy that flows among the four of us as we continue to move forward and shape our lives together. I will cry for myself and my children and my former husband. I know it. I already have cried more than once. But, despite the aching hearts and the longing tears, we will continue to pray for their real dad, that his wandering days end and that God can transform him miraculously, so that someday, his heart will be turned back toward his children. We will acknowledge that dad is still lost in this world and we may or may not see him again some day, but we will also acknowledge that mom is here, she loves them boundlessly, and that there are other fatherly men in their lives who show them a Father's love through the heart of a father.