For some strange reason, I feel especially vulnerable writing this post on single parenting. Perhaps it’s because there are no simple answers for a hard situation. But I know that I’m not the only one who will be feeling this way (Heck, even some married parents have spouses who don’t involve themselves with their children, making them a lot like single parents), and also because it’s good to write about it. So…I’ve got the single mother syndrome.

I’m extremely well off for a number of reasons for someone in my situation. I don’t have to work at the moment and can stay at home with Jack. I have tons of family who are ready to help me and be involved with Jack and I at the drop of a hat. As opposed to some divorced parents, I at least have no custody battles that rip my family even farther apart to deal with, or there’s those cases where even a loving step-parent can wrongly try to overstep their bounds into the role of parent that people encounter from time to time. I’m so thankful God has rid me of these extra trials that many must face.

But obviously, I have my struggles, too– Jack’s a toddler, and my conundrum (SAT word, yes!!!) will worsen as he grows. I guess when one has a baby, the mother gets most of the duties at the beginning anyway, especially if nursing is in the picture (Maybe I’m wrong about that, though. I guess Nathan died too early on for me to really remember much of what double parenting must be like.) Though I get physically tired, I think most parents do. I’m mostly emotionally and mentally tired, and though all parents are, it’s likely the case that most of those that must parent alone have it harder. Perhaps I feel some aspects of single parenting heavily, because there’s not even an ex-husband I’m on good terms with that I could relate to on how to raise my child. For example, there’s no other parent for me to double check my decisions off of. Do you think he deserved a spanking for that one? Should I let him play with that kid down the street? Is his hair too long or does it look cute? Or…I suck at doing activities that specifically apply to having a father…Could you work with him on throwing that ball? Could you take him to the park for some ‘man time’? Want to wrestle with him and let him pull on your chest hair? (I’m running quite low on chest hair.) Or…though I have family that is overwhelmed with love for him, there’s not a person as equally invested in his life as I am to just share in the joy of raising him. Look at what he learned! I think you taught him that! Or How is it that God actually gave the cutest boy in the world to little old me? (I’m slightly biased.)

It seems the male to female ratio is lop-sided in our lives since Nathan died. Outside of my father, Jack has had no consistent man in his life, and has lived with 6 different women. (P.S. My parents are considering moving to Chicago for awhile. Oh my gosh, I want to squeal when I think about that. That would bring both Nathan’s brother and my father here to be consistent men in Jack’s life. Thank You, God, for my parents who have never guilted me by making me feel sorry for them or even complained about us moving away from them to where life was best for us. Thank You for parents who are instead willing to change their entire lives to be closer to us. End P.S.) Anyway, I think Jack has begun to realize something about Nathan as his father, and how other kids have these special man people who they seem to like a lot and call by the name of “Daddy”. He talks about daddies at night when we say our prayers and likes to point out how Nathan is holding “baby Jack” in pictures on our wall. He’s also called Nathan’s brother “Daddy” a few times and will want me to put him down so he can hold his uncle’s hand like his cousins do.

He’s probably still too young to get the whole thing yet, but I’m not going to discredit him by saying he’s not getting part of it already. Honestly, that realization is what I’ve been dreading since Nathan died. As a mother, I want him to have everything that will be best for him in life. I want to protect him from the things that are so difficult even for me. I want him to grow and develop emotionally as a man, not feel this emptiness and void where there should be a person.

In the end, this all boils down to my trust in the Lord that He knows what He is doing with little Jack. He loves him more than I do. He has a plan for His/my boy and that right now He is making me Superparent to meet Jack’s needs, even if I’m trying my hardest but I don’t feel like I am a Superparent. The obvious answer is the “God is Jack’s Heavenly Father” statement that goes right along with the “God is my Husband” verbiage. That’s good and true, it really, really is. I rely on those statements to be the Truth with all of my heart. I’ll get into those in a moment. However, just try actually living the implications of those statements out when you need the toilet fixed, or you just want somebody to hug you or go outside to teach your fatherless son how to throw a baseball. It ain’t so heartwarming, then. This week, I am having a hard time with my trust in Him on this one, though I’ve told him I do trust Him and have given my doubts to Him. My doubts just seep back in 30 minutes later when I have a need again.

I’ve been sitting in front of the Lord’s Prayer. “Abba”, Jesus calls God. How, Lord? I don’t understand. I know You provide/have provided for us miraculously in more ways than just physically. I feel Your love most of the time. I see Your greatness in our lives. I understand how You can be my Father who I go to, mentally sit on Your lap and tell You everything while You love me in spite of it all. I understand how You can lovingly discipline me when You want me to grow, and I can see my trials, even the worst of them, as a blessing in an eternal light. But if You are telling me that my 2-year-old can come to really know what the role of a daddy is in his life through You while You are in Heaven, I begin to doubt. If You are telling me that You are my Husband, when I am a woman who has had a human husband who I made love with and who opened the door for me when I walked through it…well, I begin to doubt. Perhaps you never meant that You would actually be Jack’s Father or my Husband until we get to Heaven. Perhaps we are supposed to go without until that day or another man comes into our lives. Even if we are supposed to go without, I could never adequately complain that You are unfair or unjust in this with all that You are to us. But if Jesus called You “Abba” from earth, I tend to think You actually meant to be Husband and Father now and my lack of understanding is inhibiting me from knowing You in those ways. Lord, I really want to know how You mean it when You say You’ll meet our every need, be a Father to the fatherless and a Husband to the widow.

In the end, I may be an actual widow. Jack may actually be fatherless. But if I know one thing, I know that all of our earthly securities, even people, can go away at the drop of a hat. When they are gone, we realize God really was our Father and our Husband all along, even if He just did His works in us through the hands of another human. My questions come in when there’s no human, and Jack needs to learn to shave (Okay, so I’m jumping ahead a few years here) or I’m lonely (Which, in all fairness, happened sometimes when I was married, too). Hmmm…I’m sure you’ll hear more of my talking about it as I learn. But if you guys have some thoughts on it, I’d like to hear.