In many ways, I'm settling into my role as a single mom. For the most part, Maddie, Riley, and I have a good rhythm. The only thing—and I mean the absolute, only thing—that seems somewhat easier as a single parent is that when it comes to decisions about discipline, schedules, etc., I don't have to consult with anyone else. Of course, the flip side is that I don't have a partner as a resource or comfort with the hard stuff. But sometimes it can be nice to make unilateral decisions and just move on. Hardly worth the tradeoff, but I have to find some good somewhere or I just can't bear it.
Rachel wrote a lovely post about her hapa daughter Bella's early queries about race. It brought up a lot of fears for me. There are many, many things that I don't know how I will handle as my kids get older. For the most part, I figure we'll deal with things as they come, issues big and small that start in toddlerhood and never end: potty training, the transition to big-kid beds, questions about where Daddy is, when it's OK to see an R-rated movie, where babies come from, questions about sex. One issue I do feel that I need to spend some time thinking about is that of race, and this is one where I acutely miss John.
I can figure out how to talk to my kids about most issues, but race is a tough one. This is an issue on which I wanted to play the supporting role. With John gone, so is Maddie and Riley's immediate link to their Korean heritage. My relationship with my grandparents, the obvious remaining connection, is fragile. My sister- and brother-in-law are good resources that I will draw on, but geography and time prevent us from seeing a lot of each other.
Of course I can read the kids books about Korean culture, cook Korean food, and teach them the few Korean words I know. I will certainly do everything I can to teach tolerance and respect for people of all races, but I would do that no matter what their ethnic background was. I just wish that their direct line to growing up Asian in the U.S. was not gone. I can only make informed speculation on what that's like. I will do my best, but I know their father would have done better.
It's just one of the many, many reasons that I miss my husband. It's not that I can't get by without him, it's just that life was so much better with him in it.