By: Brandy Black
I have cried three times in the last week over comments from preschoolers, mine included. My wife actually asked me this afternoon “How was your day at preschool today baby, was anyone mean to you?”
It all started last week when I happily went to pick our daughter up from school expecting the resounding “Mama” when I walked in the door followed by a huge hug. Instead the first voice I heard was a little girl saying “Susan’s the better mom.”
“What did she just say?” the teacher asked me.
“I think she said Susan’s the better mom.”
“Yeah that’s what I heard too.”
I hid the tears behind my glasses as I quickly scooped up my daughter and left the classroom. I proceeded to get in the car and sob. What a horrible thing to hear from anyone. I understand kids say things from an innocent harmless place but they tend to feed on my own insecurities. I was particularly sensitive because a construction worker had told Susan the previous week that she was “the real mom”.
“Actually Brandy is the biological mom,” Susan replied.
“Yeah but you seem like the real mom,” he retorted.
I wasn’t there for the conversation but in her re-telling I was actually cool about it for a second explaining that I’m glad she got to hear that since I tend to get the attention for being “the mom”. I told her it was about time but then I let it sink in a bit and got defensive.
“He hasn’t even seen me with her.” I said with tears in my eyes.
Susan explained that it wasn’t about me (yep she put me in my place), that it was more about people who don’t understand gay relationships, trying to figure out what the roles are and how it works. They always want to stereotype us into the “mom” and the “dad”. It just doesn’t work that way, not in our family. I recovered from that incident and now to be slammed by a 3-year-old?! I actually started wondering if I’m really fucking up as a mom. What am I doing wrong? What does Susan do when she comes in to pick our daughter up? I spiraled down a deep path of insecurities and couldn’t let it go for a few days.
Finally over that situation and feeling rather foolish about the whole thing, I went back this last Wednesday to pick our sweet Sophia up when I walked in and she screamed,
“No Mama, I don’t want you here! Go away!”
I stepped closer to her to give her a hug and she yelled,
“Get away from me, go away, I want to stay at school! Why are you here?”
She began kicking and screaming so much that the other kids covered their ears. I was frozen. What the hell is happening? I felt like the other parents and teachers must think I’m an awful abusive horrible parent. I sat in a chair a few feet away from her, dumbfounded. She wouldn’t stop yelling and screaming at me. I held back my tears once again. Finally she calmed down enough for the teacher to explain she had a rough day and had had a few fits and had been asking for me. This calmed me a bit. Oh good, perhaps it’s just another phase.
The final incident came yesterday when I walked in the house having not seen Sophia all day and as I came around the corner she yelled “Go away Mama!”
I was done, walked out of the room, cried again and decided to stay away from her until she wanted to be with me. One hour later she came up to me with hugs and smiles. One hour! I have adored this child since the moment the pregnancy test was positive, done everything for her, changed my whole life to make sure that she gets all that she needs and wants. I have loved her unconditionally, sat patiently through irrational crying fits, marked every moment of every change from the start, the first breath, the first tear, the first smile, the first word, the first joke, the first fear, the first meal, the first embarrassment, the first decision, all of it –and this is what I get? I realize that I must seriously prepare myself for what’s ahead. She won’t understand what Susan and I do for her, how we protect her and care for her for years to come. I don’t think I ever really appreciated all of the sacrifices my parents made until the day I had my own child. I hate to say parenting is a thankless job, I know it’s cliché but it certainly feels that way these last few weeks.
So, I put my armor on and prepare myself for the battles to come and hope I can hold back my tears and be strong once again.