Jude is my son. He was born in early September almost two years ago. He was not planned (by me, anyways.. God knew he’d be born at that time). Just eight months before his arrival his dad, Jay, was seized from our home. This isn’t about Jay’s departure, though. This is about Jude.
I keep reading snippets about Jay’s sentencing Monday and it still seems surreal. But a flame of anger is starting to kindle in my soul. I don’t know what, exactly, is upsetting me. Maybe it’s that I’m misreading these concerns as code for my inability to adequately care for my son. Maybe it’s because every time someone mentions Jude not knowing what Jay looks like I want to say “What do you expect? He’s been absent.” I know it sounds harsh or brash, but it’s how I feel. Feelings aren’t wrong. They may need sorted out sometimes, but they’re not wrong.
Jay and I didn’t know I was withchild on that bleak January night. We wouldn’t know it for 13 more days. But when we found out we both agreed on one thing: Jude was a gift from God. He was sent to save us both. [Cue The Beatles lyrics now: “…take a sad song and make it better…”] Jay and I vowed to be the best parents to Jude possible, given our situation. We did not know the magnitude of what lie ahead of us in those early months. Instead, we focused on the promise of a new life and welcomed the distraction of OB appointments versus court dockets and meetings with attorneys.
Over the past two years Jay and I have both learned lifetimes of knowledge. We have hoped and prayed, fought and laughed, dreamed and regretted. The reality, however, remains: Jude’s dad will be detained until he is in his 20’s. When Jay comes home, Jude will be the age I was when Jay left. It’s weird. It’s awful. And yet, it’s fact. And as much as I try to wish away this fact, it remains.
I’m grieving, too. I grieve for the loss of Jay’s buoyancy, and am saddened that he won’t be able to put his talents to use. I’m sad that we didn’t have foresight. I’m sad for a lot. I wonder if people glimpse at me and think that I’m unaffected. That would be a completely ignorant viewpoint. Jude is my son, too, and to think that his future doesn’t concern me is absolutely absurd. I vowed to be the best parent I could, under any circumstance. And I’m trying my damnedest.
For the past two years I have been Jude’s sole physical provider. It has been me that worries about daycare arrangements, about needing diapers, about whether or not his development is on par. It has been me to sit in the emergency room and watch him get shoved into a plastic tube for a chest Xray when RSV was the diagnosis. I have been Jude’s everything since the beginning. And while it may sound like I’m gloating, I’m not. I’m breathing a ragged sigh. Because on Monday a judge solidified that for at least the next 21 years, it will be just me doing all of these things solo.
Yes, Jay has family. Yes, I have family. But at the end of the day when my face meets my pillow, Jude is mine, and the responsibility for him is mine.
Jude will have a good life, of this I’m sure. We are in God’s hands.