Watching him glance at the door between every punch during karate class.
Sensing him get increasingly anxious as the week goes on in anticipation of his dad showing up or not.
Having to join the “regular” class instead of the father / child class because his dad didn’t make it on time.
Trying to help him hope for the best but not be disappointed if it doesn’t happen is heartbreaking.
But as his mom, that’s my job.
This week at karate class my son had a father/ child karate class. Having divorced parents and not living with his dad, an activity like this brings a heightened level of stress and anticipation.
I tried to start early. I told my ex about the day. Told him that his son was looking forward to having him there. Tried to convey the importance. I told my son that we would try our best but sometimes dad was busy and might not be able to make it (still making excuses for him).
My son was anxious and irritated all week. Not sure what his dad would say. Not sure what would happen. And not sure how to say all the things he is feeling.
He said he would go.
I tried to encourage them to spend some time together before or after karate class. I tried to arrange for him to pick him up and bring him so they could go together. His dad said he couldn’t do that.
On the way to karate I get the text. “Running late”.
Class begins and they ask kids with their dads to go to one place and kids without their dad’s to go to another part of the mat.
As he begins class in the other part of the mat, he watches the door. Glancing over his shoulder between each punch, kick, move. Mouthing to me “where is he?” Waiting. Watching. Hoping.
His dad does come. 15 minutes late. But better late than never; right?
After karate he asked his dad and his girlfriend if they could do something together. They said “no”. He asked when he would see them again. They said “soon”. He thanked them for coming. They gave him some stuff they bought him. And they left, 15 short minutes after they arrived.
My son packed up his karate bag came over to me, gave me a big hug, and said, “Father / son karate was fun. But I liked mother / son karate better.”
I beamed. Me too buddy, me too.