I saw a post on Facebook today. ‘It takes a strong woman to be a father’. A thought-stirring post on Father’s Day for those of us who parent on our own.
Recently I have felt more alone than ever as a parent. Today is the fourth Father’s Day without Tony. We visited his grave. Katy made a beautiful arrangement with some pink peonies and we sat in the sunshine and thought our own thoughts about the father who is so painfully absent.
Inside I wished with all my heart that he was here. Here to navigate these teenage years with me. To share the struggle, to have the words that I don’t, to give the hug that is different to mine, to partner in the boundary-making and bring his alternative solutions to the problems. Oh how I wish you were here.
Someone observed recently, that in that aloneness as a parent, it is always ‘your turn’. There is never that moment of relief when you can pass the ball to the other, when you have exhausted your words and solutions. Your turn never ends.
The symbol of the robin as a reminder of the presence of someone who has passed to the next place has been very special to me since Tony passed away. The robins in our garden are nesting I think, or moved away. I haven’t seen them for a while. But whenever I see one it always reassures me that the space between here and there is thin and Tony’s spirit is always close.
Yesterday a dear friend arrived at our door with special gifts to help us through today. One was a beautiful robin to hang in our home. The other gifts for us to wear, were intricate ‘tree of life’ pieces. As I have considered that symbol today, I have been reminded of the words in Psalm 1 in the Bible, which describes us as being planted like trees beside deep running water, bearing fruit in the right season. This is what I hope for my children. That I can help them to be rooted, fed well emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically so that they grow good green leaves and fruit to share with others. If I can be strong enough to do that, I will be happy. And although it is always ‘my turn’, I know that Tony is close and that with God’s help I will be strong enough to be the parent my children need.