Years ago, Garth Brooks thanked God for Unanswered Prayers. I’ve often felt the same way even though I don’t believe in unanswered prayers. After all, “no” is an answer.
I’ve told you before that I’m a single mom (acknowledging that “single” is hardly “alone” given my fantastic support network of family and friends). What I didn’t tell you is that I’ve been a single mom since pretty much about three days before I found out I was pregnant with him. That was the night that his father broke up with me. I know you’re probably wondering; so, I’ll go ahead and answer the question: no, I did not get pregnant on purpose. However, I wasn’t all that worried about it, either, since I thought our relationship was solid and had a future. I thought that right up until he came back from a trip and announced that he didn’t want to see me anymore. (I’ve had that happen a few times in my life – been blindsided with a break-up. I guess maybe either I don’t read men as well as I should or I don’t pay close enough attention. Whatever. That’s why I have cats now.) To be honest, I prayed long and hard that he would love me and want us to be a family. When it didn’t look like that was going to happen, I prayed long and hard that he would want to be a father to our child. That didn’t really happen, either. It was my belief at the time that fatherhood just wasn’t for him at that point in his life. The answer to my prayers was no. I was heartbroken and just plain broken for a very long time.
That was 22 years ago – 22 years of rebuilding a stronger version of my Self, of scratching out a living, of trying to be a good mother, of recovering from various catastrophes and of watching my son grow into an amazing human being. His father and I have spoken on three occasions during those years when I initiated contact – twice for legal reasons and once because my son wanted to know if he had siblings.
To say that I was surprised to see his name in my email list in February is putting it mildly. The failure of that relationship is one of the most painful periods of my life; so, quite honestly, I didn’t know whether to vomit or cry when I saw it….so I did both. Then I put on my big girl panties and read the email. In short, he wanted to try to establish some kind of relationship with my son. I was so overwhelmed that I threw up and cried again before I composed myself enough to make some kind of response, which was that my son is grown and any relationship would have to be his decision, not mine. I forwarded the message to my son and told his father that I hoped that they could work something out.
Now, please understand that although this was the real desire of the more developed part of my brain, the petty, childish part was saying all manner of nasty, hateful things. However, we’ve talked about that part of my personality before and that she spends most of her time getting put in the corner – deservedly so. After forwarding the email, I spoke with my son about his feelings on the matter, my feelings and my opinion on how he should proceed. Since I’ve told my son little about that period of time, he doesn’t carry any of the baggage that prompted the rantings of that troll portion of my personality. To prevent his having baggage borne of my perceptions is precisely why I didn’t tell him anything.
So, the men have been talking since Spring and, in September (on his birthday weekend), my son traveled to Dallas to meet his father for the first time. The Henny Penny Mother was worried that my son would be hurt in some way, although the Practical Mother knew that wouldn’t happen. And it didn’t. By all accounts, they had a really good visit. His stepmother baked my son a birthday cake – a personal touch I thought was really kind. They are defining and creating their relationship as they go on and, you know what? I am truly thrilled. My son had a family he didn’t know; but, that is changing. He will soon be meeting grandparents, an aunt and cousins. His world is widening and, I think, becoming more complete. And you know what else? I am freer, as well.
The universe didn’t come crashing down with the contact that I both feared and craved, and I didn’t revert to the woman I once was. I’m still the strong, independent woman I’ve striven to be – the woman I actually like, the woman I don’t believe I’d be if I’d gotten what I prayed for all those years ago. So, like Garth, I’m thankful for those “unanswered” prayers; and Mick was right – you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.