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  • Writer's pictureMaia Dunkel

Who Knows How This Will End?

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

’Tis the season to be social. I guess all seasons are but there’s something about summer; bbq’s, block parties, meet-ups in the park and picnics with friends. I love it all. I’ll be the first to volunteer to do a cook-out, picnic or go camping.

But I will be honest. There is always a part of me that thinks, “Oh, those people won’t want to go because it’s just us two.” There’s not another male who can talk about whatever…business or sports or being a Dad. Meanwhile, I should note that NEVER have ANY of my new friends made me feel this way. This is solely MY issue. It’s something I put on myself. I think, “Oh it’s not going to be as fun for HIM.” I am embarrassed by how I feel, but it is how I feel.

Today I had a friend come over (who I haven’t seen in a couple of years from the music class we took together with our kids) with her two girls. I watched as she parked in front of my building and emerged alone with her children. I was relieved when I saw her husband wasn’t there. He had to work. Don’t get me wrong, I like him very much but I felt that by her coming alone, somehow we were on “even ground.” It was officially a “moms” event. It’s silly, I know.

It made me think about how much of my situation is in my own head. And it's a feeling I may never get rid of. Am I OK with that? I mean, of course our feelings are OK but I don't like it. It makes me feel emotionally weak. I hope I can reconcile these emotions.

The notion of "Dad" has been top-of-mind lately. Maybe because June includes Father’s Day. The other night Mila saw a picture of her Grandpa, “Pop-Pop”, in my computer photos. Outright and very confidently, she said; “Pop-Pop was my Daddy, but he died.” I corrected her, “Mila, Pop-Pop was your Grandpa.” She thought for a moment then corrected herself, “Oh yeah, I don’t have a Daddy.” She said it very matter-of-factly and then walked away to play with her doctor's kit.

I felt like a knife had entered straight through my heart.

I knew “this” was coming and I know it is going to get harder and more complicated. What can I do but be honest? She is four and a half now and can only understand so much. Or maybe I am not giving her enough credit. There are some families (um, maybe one) that have only "Mommies" at her school. The teachers are all great and understand my situation and help. But let’s be honest, it’s only a matter of time before the real questions come. I am scared. I feel alone.

I can not believe my father is dead.

The other night we were looking through pictures of when I was pregnant because her teacher is about to have baby and is getting very big and very close to her due date. I wanted to show Mila what it looked like when I was expecting her; "I got huge because YOU are in there!" It’s a miracle. Mila couldn’t really understand she was in there, but she sort-of could at the same time. She was delighted and giggling. We did not get into the details of the delivery because she did not ask.

In that same series of photos, I had the three pictures of her sperm donor that I did not breeze over. One was him at about 8 months, then 4 and 7 years. (Those were the three pictures I got in my packet from the California Cryobank.) She looked at them and rather awkwardly skipped over them. I calmly asked Mila, “Who do you think that is?” She looked carefully at all three and then said, “Me!”

PHEW! YES! That was the BEST response I could have imagined. If she had said, "No, who?”, I honestly don’t know what I would have said. I breathed a sigh of relief and moved on to the next set of pictures of Mila in the hospital after she was born.

“Who are they?” I asked. “That's my Baba and Pop-Pop.”

Yes, Mila. That is who they are.

Grandparents seeing Mila for the first time
Baba & Pop-Pop, 12-12-2014

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