Circa October 20, 2011
This past weekend, the Frack’s football team lost their first game. It was tough on the team–our own version of Friday Night Tykes. One boy broke his clavicle. Others went home with aches and pains and wounded pride, my son included. It certainly wasn’t a blow out. Our kids held their own and scored on a team that hadn’t been scored on all season. But, it wasn’t quite enough.
So, that night, over the fire pit in our backyard, the husband had a conversation with young Frack about loss and victory. He said that losing sometimes helps a team learn what they need to work on, and gives them a bit of a reality check on their abilities. (with all those wins came some pretty big egos.) No one is unbeatable.
In the process, the husband pulls out a scrap book from high school. Inside are all of the newspaper clippings from his high school years, the grand highlights and headlines. They sat at the kitchen table, and Frack made fun of how different dad looked and they remenecsed about “Uncle Dave”, our beloved friend–football star in highschool, killed by a drunk driver in 2006. I saw something that night. It was the father/son connection.
Every once in a while I question whether we should stay or go with the husband when he gets new orders. But moments like that, along with multiple conversations we have had, remind me that as much as I’d sometimes like to stay, maintain the status quo, let the kids finish school in one area, and to be contributing members of our bigger community, we’ll go when the time comes. There isn’t a single good neighborhood, great school, wonderful job, or awesome friend that could replace my sons’ need for their dad.
I realize my limitations as super mom. I can help them with homework, teach them manners, laugh with them, and help them grow to be respectable young men. But I can’t talk to them about football, or gun safety, or their changing bodies the way their dad can. They need him. *I* need him. And yes, when we get where we’re going, the husband will deploy again. I’ll be a semi-single parent again. But, you cannot replace Sunday dinners, big breakfasts, or conversations about football. You just can’t.
My boys still need their dad, even more so now that they are teens. This past year, the hubby deployed. Often say that deployment with small kids is the hardest. Not for me. For me, raising two men, semi-alone, was the hardest. They have never needed their dad more than they do now. He is the glue that holds them, and all of us, together. My boys are transitioning to a time in their lives where they need to learn men stuff from other awesome men and to have man conversations. I can’t do that for them. So yes, I still believe that young men need their dad and I’m so thankful they have such a strong, male role model for them to rely on.