The Daddy Question

by Elisabeth
Originally Published: 

I hear this question about once a week. When I first heard it, I cringed. I was not sure how to answer it. I was afraid if I didn’t come up with the perfect response, my children would be permanently scarred. I was afraid I would be sitting in family therapy in ten years trying to explain why my children were so angry at life. I would have to tell the therapist that I didn’t know the perfect answer to the “daddy question.”

That was then and this is now. I have stopped worrying about this question. I have realized that there are so many other reasons my children will need therapy, and this doesn’t make the top twenty anymore. Besides, I have several answers now. My personal favorite is “It takes a while to find a person special enough to be your daddy.”

When they were younger, they didn’t understand the complexities of that question. I guess they just thought I would go down to the local store, pick one out, and bring him home. They didn’t know what was taking me so long. Now they are six years old, and they understand that it is more complicated. They know about marriage and they know a mommy and a daddy are supposed to love each other. Now, they have resorted to fixing me up.

Last year, my son came home from school with the exciting news that his friend had an uncle with a beard, a jeep and a jet pack. Apparently, this was all my son ever wanted in a father. I was a bit curious about the jet pack, but I decided it would be best to leave that one alone.

This past weekend, my children decided they were going to fix me up with the juggler in our town. My son was absolutely convinced that he would be able to impress all his friends if his father was a juggler. He invented an entire story about how cool it would be to show off his new dad. My daughter was pretty excited too. Imagine my relief when the town juggler was not at our church event. I was picturing my kids screaming, “Do you want to marry my mommy?” in the middle of his performance.

My kids might be a bit pushy, but I have to admit after five years of the single life, I am starting to look like a lost cause. I can relate to other single mothers in their quest to balance a challenging family schedule with a social life or dating schedule. That is a huge challenge. Unfortunately, there is a second complication that I can’t overcome with an Outlook calendar and a reliable babysitter. My past has left me with a big question. Am I capable of opening my heart to a partner, or is there just too much damage?

I’ve contemplated this often. I know I can love. I have two amazing children and I love them unconditionally. I have learned to trust a few people. I have great work relationships. But intimacy is different. Intimacy takes me right back to my original wound. Of course, to be fair, intimacy is hard for people who weren’t sold for sex by their parents.

Some find my single status confusing. They don’t understand why I am waiting. Several friends have labeled me as a lesbian. They say it as a joke, but I think they are wondering. I think that comes from the societal belief that women aren’t single by choice. Women aren’t allowed to choose the single lifestyle. I have to admit that I did contemplate an intimate relationship with the same sex. I thought it might be easier after my childhood trauma. But I had two realizations. First, a healthy relationship with any person requires trust and an open heart. And second, David Beckham’s underwear commercials.

So, for now, I wait. And I keep working on my ability to trust and open to others. I continue to practice saying no when the wrong people show up. I keep standing in my new-found power and expressing my new-found voice. I keep practicing my patience and acceptance of what is. And I am hopeful that one day, I will say yes.

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