With 2013, a new era in my life dawned. On Jan 1, I officially became a single father when my youngest son moved in with me. Ever since his mother and I separated five years before, I have lived alone while he and his brothers remained in the family home. In the intervening years, his two older brothers grew up and moved on with their lives so our youngest was left alone with his mom.
During our divorce proceedings, he made it very clear to us that as soon as I was situated in a new home in town, he intended to leave the farm and move in with me. Under Canadian law, a minor over 12 years old has a significant say in their custody and by the time they are in their mid-teens, they pretty much call the shots. His mother was mightily unhappy with this and did her best to alter the course of his decision however, to no avail. I think she still has the misguided belief that he will change his mind. Unfortunately, her awkward attempt at changing the situation culminated with her kicking him out of her house. It was a sad moment in our family history, far sadder than our split and one which might have a lasting detrimental effect (for her). Since that time, he has limited his contact with her to one “coffee date” per week.
To say that having a teenager live with me has changed my life is somewhat of an understatement. After living alone for five years, suddenly I have parental responsibilities again beyond merely writing child support cheques. I have to think of meals in advance. I have to think of laundry other than my own. I have to go around the house turning off lights in empty rooms. I have to buy foods that I don’t generally buy for myself. I have to pick up soda cans and chip bags all over the place (or be a nag to have them tidied up). I have to try to remember the names of the buddies he brings to the house and I worry when he’s not home when I get home.
Yes, my life has changed and even though I have to make adjustments, I am thoroughly enjoying having him live with me. I love that I can share in his life. His brothers were around this age when their mother and I split so I missed the daily aspects of their lives as they progressed from teenagers into young men.
This has had an effect on Bill too. No longer can we spontaneously decide to go to dinner or jump in the car and head to the USA for a shopping trip. I find we’re spending an inordinate amount of time at my house, whereas we tried to balance our time between our two homes prior to this. But Bill is such a loving and generous person and having been a single parent himself, understands these dynamics and is highly supportive. The great side of this is that Bill and my youngest get along like “a house on fire”. I know they enjoy each other’s company and that is wonderful.
This past Sunday, I dropped my son off at the ferry terminal with 40+ of his fellow students and chaperones as they embarked on a spring break visit to Cuba with his high school band. He’s having the experience of a life time and I’m so happy that he’s having this opportunity. I couldn’t help but notice that he labelled his luggage with the address of
my our new house. I think he’s
here to stay.
We’ve lived together for less than three months and he’s only been gone for three days but I missed having him around almost immediately. I guess that’s life as a single father . . .