I am very open and transparent with Ezekiel. There are no silly stories of why things are the way they are or how come things happen, no tooth fairy tales or storks or anything but facts. I feel anything less is insulting. I want my kids to be open with me, so I am open with them. This has been challenging for me because I have no example or template or how to or anyone close that has parented successfully in this way. As we grow, as I practice, I get better, more confident, my vocabulary gets more understanding and clear as I learn. Like last night, we were scrolling through old pictures and one came up of Ezekiel’s sperm donor. Z stopped me and had a look of “I know I should know that person but I don’t.”
Z: “Who’s that?”
Me: “That’s the person that brought you earthside with me.”
Z: “ohhhhh riiiiight. What’s his name?”
Me: “I don’t think it’s super important that I tell you his name. But if you wanna know it, I’ll tell you.”
Z: “It’s important to me.”
So, I tell Z and he repeats it several times and we move on with pictures.
Z: “I just don’t remember that guy.”
Me: “I said, nah, I wouldn’t expect you to, you chose him to get to me. You didn’t choose him to be your dad.”
Z: “I know, I choosed my dada to be my dad, the one in California.” (Greg is in cali for work)
Me: “Yup, and Greg chose you. We probably won’t ever see the other guy again…I should clarify, unless you want to when you are older, -I- am content with never seeing him again.”
Z: “Why don’t you want to see him again?”
Me: “Because I feel his role in my life is complete. He brought me you and that was the plan. I would gain nothing good from seeing him again.”
Z: “I just don’t like when that guy washes his hands. Just keep em’ dirty, ya know, like hello! That’s why I cry. Because he washes his hands. He washes all the blood off his hands and I don’t like it….I never want to see him again.”
I cannot be one hundred percent certain of what Ezekiel meant by that and I didn’t want to be that annoying adult and pry. But it is very profound considering that Sperm Donor phased out of our lives on his own accord, last seeing Ezekiel September 2014 and is now raising his girlfriend’s three kids like nothing ever happened and like Z doesn’t exist.
I learned several things from this conversation, that once again, children see and feel much more than we think. I NEVER discuss anything about this person or their life with Ezekiel, unless asked and that’s been extremely few and far between and definitely not including any personal detail of how he lives his life.
That empowering our kids and trusting them with the truth is so important. It could have gone so differently. “Oh, that’s the shit bag that abandoned you!” “Oh, that’s the guy that was supposed to be your father.” “Oh….that’s no one.” No, none of that. Just truth.
Kids can handle truth, especially when your vocabulary delivers it in such a way where they are in charge of their own lives. Me saying “I don’t want to see him again.” Was for me and I leave it up to Z to choose any future actions, forever arming Ezekiel with truth, empowerment, building self-esteem, confidence and love, so if a day comes when they do meet again, Z will stand tall and whatever this person or any person has to say does not define who Ezekiel is, nobody will but Z.
Another example of an empowered vocabulary is if your kid’s want a toy that you can’t particularly afford, instead of saying things that encourage lack and worry and guilt (we are poor because of me) “We can’t afford that. We have no money.” etc, You say “I am choosing to spend our money elsewhere right now, but let’s be thinking of what toy you want to play with when we get home!” “Instead of buying something else, let’s go to the park instead!” Empowering words.
From my own experience, children are our partners if we let them be. If we stop belittling them with cute frilly lies about how things work. If we stop projecting onto them our own insecurities. We think we are protecting our kids with these cute passed down stories, but it leads to US and THEM, separation. I’m smart, you’re dumb. I know more than you. It’s insulting. Just because we are bigger, we’ve been here longer, doesn’t actually mean we know shit. You can study one book your entire life and know the ins and outs and then 40 years later, it comes out that the details were falsified and everything is fake. Then what do you know? We live in a society where they largely teach us what they want us to know (They being the government, passed down, old, outdated jargon from our parents, etc) not necessarily what is true for us, what resonates with us. But kids. They do what they love, they remember a time of complete freedom, where anything is possible. They aren’t bogged down by fear or stigma or the idea that one person, job title, gender is more desirable than the other. They hold the keys to the future and that’s the kind of person I want by my side and teaching me. We learn together because I don’t have all the answers.