It happened. The day I have been dreading for two years has finally arrived and it has come with a mighty vengeance. You see, my dear, sweet little boy has decided he no longer finds his mama to be the center of his tiny universe. I have been replaced by none other than my own husband. A betrayal of epic proportions if there ever was one.
OK, so maybe I am being a tad dramatic, but this stings. A lot.
Was it not just yesterday I was begging him to give me a few solitary minutes to use the bathroom in peace? Or how about those early months when my mere presence in a room was enough to calm his haggard cries? And don’t even get me started on that first year he was in daycare. His eyes would light up with the vivacity of a million stars every day when I returned to pick him up. I was adored to the core by someone I would gladly give my life for and I enjoyed every minute of it—even when I was complaining about it.
But things are different now and it all came crashing down when my son realized something I have known for quite some time: his dad is awesome.
And you know what? I can’t even be upset about it because my son has something that a lot of little boys and girls do not—a father who wants to be with him. I know with absolute certainty that the moment my husband walks in the door each night, my son will drop whatever he is doing with me and make a beeline for the front door, arms outstretched, screaming “Daddy” at the top of his lungs. The rest of the evening I will be invisible, his eyes set only on his dad, his arms wrapped tightly around his neck.
From that point on, I know I can finish getting dinner ready without any interruptions. His dad will gladly play trucks with him as I put the food on the table. Likewise, I have no excuse not to go to the gym after we eat because nothing is tying me to the house anymore. And taking a hot bubble bath while sipping a glass of pinot noir is no longer a crazy pipedream. I can actually do it—uninterrupted.
So why does it make me so sad?
Thankfully, I had my own father’s wisdom to lean back on as I poured my heart out to him over my sudden sense of abandonment from my child. His words were simple but incredibly spot-on:
You don’t have to worry about a thing. Dad is just his flavor of the week right now.
And it was true. I had my time in the sun to be my boy’s one and only and now it is time to pass on that torch to someone else. A father who can show him how to be a man, shoot a gun, shave a beard, and (hopefully) pee without hitting the toilet seat. The rest of his life I will probably be playing second fiddle to my husband, but I know there will be the occasional moments when I will be in the spotlight yet again.
After all, no one can kiss a boo-boo quite like a mom can. And I am the only one who can sing him a lullaby without being yelled at to stop. A boy looks up to his father just as I am sure a girl looks up to her mama. It’s just the way things are and probably should be.
So right now, in my house, dad is the flavor of the week parent. I’m sure someday I will get a turn again. In the meantime, whenever I hear those five heartbreaking words—No Mommy, I want Daddy—shouted across the room, I will take them with a grain of salt. And I will use that salt to line the rim of my margarita while I sit back and appreciate the peace that comes from my husband’s presence.
Because even moms need a break sometimes.