Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Don't Have a Dad

Today's slice was inspired by my son's response, "I don't have a dad."

I have spent that past five years wondering when this conversation would happen; waiting for my sweet little boy to question why our family isn't "normal" or "traditional". To give you an idea, here is a picture of our "little family":


I used to cringe when we would read a book or watch a TV show that presented the "traditional" family structure of Daddy, Mommy, brother, sister, and dog. I worried that being inundated with these images would make my son insecure about our family.

So, I started paying attention to the family structures presented in all books and TV shows, seeking out those that portray the richly diverse structure of families.

To highlight a few, here is Sol Gordon's ABC book All Families are Different...

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 ...and, Love is a Family by Roma Downey, in which a single mom attends her daughter's Family Fun Night at school:

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I even began noticing family diversity in classic fairy tales, such as The Three Little Pigs having only a mom and Little Red Riding Hood being raised by her mom and grandmother! 

During one of our trips to the library, my son and I discovered a single dad raising his son in The Notebook of Doom series:

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I even made our own little family picture book so my son would see himself in print:


Fortunately, one of my son's most recent passions happens to be the Transformers Rescue Bots, where a single dad and his four children work with a group of Transformers: 


He loves this series so much, that I even threw him a Rescue Bot-themed birthday party:



Then, there's Finding Nemo! Who doesn't know the endearing story about Nemo and his overprotective Dad?!?

And, most recently, there's Big Hero Six, where two orphaned boys are raised by their Aunt:

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At each opportunity, I nonchalantly pointed out the difference in the families we were reading about or watching, in hopes that my son would come to see that the difference in our family structure is what actually makes us "normal".

Of all the scenarios I had painted in my head, my son coming home from school in tears because he didn't have a dad for the father-son picnic or his sweet little hands resting gently on my cheeks while he asks where his dad has been his whole life, it never occurred to me that the topic would come and go like a whisper.

Instead of the dramatic scenarios I had imagined, my son was playing at the park with a friend he had just made when the kid asked him, "Where's your dad?" My heart skipped a beat as I waited for my son's response, to which he simply said, "I don't have a dad".

And, that was it!

They continued on to the spiral slide where they laughed and screamed as they tumbled down in a flurry of five-year old hands and feet!

Later that day, when we got home and were alone, I contemplated talking to him about what had happened at the park, but I wanted it to be on his terms, so I waited...and waited...and waited.

Two days later, I could wait no longer. I gathered my son up in my lap and asked him if he remembered the little boy asking him about his dad, and he said yes. Again, I waited for him to react, but he didn't!

So, I asked him how it made him feel and if he had any questions about not having a dad. And, he said, "Not really".

Huh....not what I had anticipated, at all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Finding my Voice Through Images

To say I have been in a slump the past few weeks is to say rain is wet! I have gone through ups and downs during my life, as we all have, but this low has been particularly challenging, because I don't necessarily feel sad or depressed, just dampened. I can't quite put my finger on why, so it is difficult to bounce back from it.

I haven't written a slice of life, or any blog post for that matter, because I haven't felt inspired; I haven't felt like I've had anything worthy of putting in writing. This is particularly troublesome for me because writing is my outlet, my sanity, my passion and joy. Without writing, I have felt deflated.

So, I decided to reconnect with those things that inspire me, through pictures instead of words...

Of course, there is my little family:


...and nature...


...gardening...


...and watching something grow...


...learning...


...and literature...


I hope these images will help me rediscover my writing voice...