I think father and son parenting remembers the sting of their first unrequited love: the heartache, the confusion over what you did wrong or why you’re not good enough, and the deep longing to be with them any way you can. Sure, it’s all part of growing, not to mention a plot device in almost every teen romantic comedy I’ve ever seen. It hurts, but we move on. If the object of our affection doesn’t want us then it wasn’t meant to be.
What is a person to do when the true love of their life rejects them? What is a mom to do when that rejection comes from their child? My youngest son has been a ray of sunshine for me since the moment he was born. There was no bonding or settling period.
He had my heart wholly and completely from his first breath. As soon as he was old enough to show a preference, my little angel wanted his Daddy. I told myself I was glad they were bonding, that it was just a phase, and that Daddy was just a novelty because he wasn’t home all day like I was. For a while these excuses eased my jealousy. He still loved me even if he preferred to be held by my husband. As time went on, his clear preference ebbed and wained.
Most days were fine and I was glad that he was happy to be handed off to Daddy upon his return after a long day. I was tired and happy for a break or time to spend one-on-one with my four-year-old. It became even more convenient as I grew heavy and encumbered with my third pregnancy. I couldn’t lift the toddler or hold him as easily anymore, so naturally Daddy stepped in as primary caregiver when he wasn’t working.