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Today was Ty’s first day of school, he has just started 3rd grade. He has had a pretty good summer and by the end of it I think he actually started enjoyed going to summer camp while Cielo and I were at work. That was something he was dreading like having a tooth removed.
He has experienced a great deal of changes in his life over the past 9 months. His mother and I starting a relationship, having to move, switching schools, his Dad being in Iraq, having his new friend that lived in the house behind us move about 3 weeks ago… at times it seems like the kid can not get a break. A lot of the changes came with some positives, but remember that when we were kids changes at times seem to be negative just because they are changing our little world. We all feel safe even at precarious situations because that is just what we are used to, and change is a difficult thing to deal with even for adults.
Last year he got into some trouble at school. His teacher was not the best, and she labeled him a troublemaker, so even if he sneezed he would get in trouble. Now, some of the trouble that he got into was his fault, but it was hard to determine what was something he started vs. something he was just a part of. Now being in a new school we are hoping that he can shed some of that skin and create new relationships with both classmates and his new teachers. We are also looking forward to him meeting new kids around the neighborhood.
I must admit that I had no clue what I was getting into when I made the decision to enter a relationship with someone that had a child. In the past always, I had avoided relationships with people that had children, not because there is anything negative with being a single mother, but because I thought that unless I was ready to make a commitment to both the children and the mother I had no business dating someone in that situation, even casually. Even though I had that in mind, and had also always believed that you should always put kids before you in life, it still did not prepare me for the daunting task that it is being a father.
I struggle even today with being a father to Ty, mostly because he already has a real father and I do not want in any level to compete with the love that he has for his real father. His father has remarried and has his own family. Even though he has another family there, Ty is with us most of the time. Especially now that his father is in Iraq, and he needs that strong male figure and craves discipline, I feel a sense of responsibility to be a father figure to him. It is also difficult to come into the picture laying ground rules when 9 months ago everything just revolved around the relationship between him and his mother with little or no outside influence. They have a beautiful relationship and love each other, and I have tried to make sure that I enter a circle and not form a triangle.
It has taken a lot of work to get to some levels of understanding and balance in the relationship we have. I feel it has a long way to come, but I think that in any son father relationship there are changes as people grow older, change and experience life. While it has been a difficult change for him, it has also been a difficult change for me. I thought I had experience with children because for a year I lived with my cousins when I first moved up here. They were 2, 5 and 8 at the time, but that was not even a glimpse at full time parenthood.
There is really nothing I regret about the decision that I made. Cielo and I went into a relationship full force early on, but I now understand that we needed to. We had a child’s best interest before us and did not have the opportunity to do just casual dating. We had to enter a fully committed relationship and all the responsibilities that come with it or date while placing Ty in the back burner. It has been a big task, but I think we are now seeing the fruit of our commitment and our hard work. I think Ty has gathered a lot of new tools to deal with things at school over the summer and is ahead of things emotionally vs. where he was 9 months ago.
Today he starts 3rd grade, I have faint memories of those years. While I still remember most of the people I went to school with, I could not tell you what really happened during those days without looking back at a book that I wrote as a school project remembering those days. I went to a very small school where we all did our first 5 years together, even though I did not keep in touch with anyone beyond that, I know that they all went to become productive members of society. So much is being formed right now in his mind, values, morals, and outlook on education. I was so blessed to have wonderful teachers; they did a lot to shape who I am today. We just met his teacher last week, she seems like a good person, I can only hope she is also an excellent teacher.
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