Destiny's Child - If
If It Weren't for My Son, I'd Definitely Be Divorced
One of the first things I loved about my wife was her ability to nurture. It was as if her subconscious couldn't help but broadcast that she was phenomenal with children. On my part, I was unsure about being a dad. But my friends liked her, and so I eventually convinced myself that I was simply being overly cautious after a rocky first marriage. I'd just let nature take its course. But nature didn't take any course and, eventually, my wife gave up on sex. So she turned to adoption.
As a child of adoption, I felt like I was obligated to give in. When we both fell in love with a waiting child that one of our adoption advocate friends posted, I felt a little better. I was not very confident in my abilities to do the dad thing based on any stellar examples I'd had. I'd already lost the best dad I knew to cancer. This left me feeling that the only real thing I could offer was the sad but real understanding of how and when my adopted son was going to hurt, understand the feeling of emptiness in his heart where that one person should have been. The most tormenting part was that I also knew I wouldn't be able to do a damn thing about it.
After two long years of obstacles and legal battles from Korea, we finally got our son. A liver condition kept him in the hospital for the first four months of his life. He survived what no child should ever have to experience. I found myself embracing being a dad in spite of all its new challenges.
It wasn't at the expense of my marriage, rather in spite of it. After our son came home, there was — and continues to be — no real affection between my wife and I. In fact, there was no physical relationship at all. Our (second) marriage counselor says we're a really good set of windshield wiper blades; we function well side by side but never really intersect.
But problems compounded. Our issues now have issues. Over time, we found ourselves having opposing perspectives on how we raise and discipline our son. My wife has placed so much hope and identity in being an adoptive mother that she over-nurtures and gives in to his every whim. She cannot stand for him to cry at all.
I, on the other hand, made it a point to establish boundaries very early on. He knows and understands what his limitations are with me. Not that she is all nurture and I am all structure. I am actually the one who taught him the word "snuggle." He knows his papa loves him. He also knows that he can't push things with me the way he can with his mother. That is why, when I say no, he will run to his mom and say, "Papa said no." He knows he can expect her to make some kind of compromise.
I have no real direction or answers. I'm not a perfect dad, but I'm a loving and firm dad. I make a mean grilled cheese, change diapers, and rock some bath time. Most of all, I love my son. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same as a husband. It is a struggle. I love my wife. But sometimes, I just don't like her very much. And eventually, I will have had enough. If it weren't for our son, I'd have probably already hit that point and left a long time ago. However, for now I am simply a better dad than I am a husband. It's not perfect, but neither is life.
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