Our financial planner, Mike, came to our house the other day to help us figure out what changes we need to make since I got my new job. Tadpole was beside himself with excitement. He wanted to ask Mike what color car he drives. He wanted to see if Mike would read him a book. He wanted to show Mike his latest dance moves. And days later, Tad is still talking about how “Mike came to our house and sat over there.”
Tad is a friendly guy, but this kind of enthusiasm is generally reserved for men. It’s fascinating to watch. Random men in the grocery store, dads at the park, the mailman. Tad will strike up a conversation with any of them, and is tickled if they respond at all.
I know that a lot of this is developmentally appropriate. And Tad has great uncles and grandads and friends who he gets to spend time with. But I’m worried that there’s still something he is missing out on. I try to remember that no parent can give their kid everything–we find someone else to give our kids piano lessons, if that’s not our thing. We hook our kids up with coaches to help them learn their favorite sports. Most parents expose our kids to lots of interesting grown-ups (extended family members, teachers, church members, etc) so they can have lots of role models. And many many kids grow up just fine without a dad in their homes for a variety of reasons. But is there something that Tadpole is missing out on by not having a dad in his home?
Part of me is terrified to admit (in public, no less), that our son might be missing out on something by not having a dad. And the politically progressive me absolutely supports the rights of families of all shapes and sizes to raise kids.
But as a parent, I want to provide Tadpole with everything he needs. And it makes me worried and sad that he seems so desperate to have connections with men, which is something neither Roo nor I can provide.
Does anyone else have this experience? Any ideas about how to handle it? Does this play out differently in two-mom families where one parent is more butch/masculine-identified?