那个周末我也了解到，单个父母没有休息（Kudos给所有单身父母那里！）。我早上七点到了孩子们在晚上八岁。虽然洗澡后的笑声和依偎在字面上the bestthing, once the kids were read to and fallen asleep, I went on to do dishes, clean, and prep for the next day. Before I knew it, it was midnight and I had to go to bed and do it all over again the next morning. Three days of this and my body gave out. I was sick by the time I dropped the boys off with their foster mom. Work did not even cross my mind. I was barely taking care of my basic needs. With tenure in mind, I had to accept that I just could not do it. I had to make a choice between tenure and being a parent. I called my agency and told them to put my license on hold indefinitely.
The first time I met M, she told me that her favorite school subject was math. I believed it was a sign! Of course, later I found out M had googled me and learned about my job. Did I tell you this girl was smart? M moved in with me and my partner last Christmas day, and I officially become a foster parent. M is a rambunctious girl who loves dark humor and physical comedy. I have learned that the joy of parenting a teenager is different. I don’t get the after bath giggles and snuggles of a three-year-old, but I do get to talk to her about her classes and what she has learned. M also likes to draw. It’s much easier to pretend to like a drawing of a teen than that of three-year-old. That said, I may or may not have teared up when she gave me the drawing… I also learned that I am that dad who would embarrass his kid at the checkout line. Turns out picking on my kid brings me joy.
然后大流行,一切都颠覆了。The plans for M’s quinceañera in March had to change. Thanks to friends from near and far, we were able to have a simple Zoom quince, not with courts, but still with a dress, a crown, and a two-tiered cake! Pozoles, tacos, and hot Cheetos, all of M’s favorites completed the menu for the night. For the rest of the semester, I juggled homeschooling, learning how to teach online, paper revisions,andputting together my tenure dossier. Stressful would be an understatement. We tried our best to manage it as a new family.
Balancing parenting, work, and life during a pandemic is nearly impossible. That said, M’s coming into my life has made me a better person, a better partner, and a better scholar. I still have not experienced that awe of meeting a baby for the first time after birth, but I feel the same sense of arbitrariness with M. I try to remind M every day that she is excellent, that she is worthy, and that she is incredibly loved. She reluctantly listens for now. I just hope that M wouldn’t wait until tenure to believe those words about herself. It’s funny, I used to think that I couldn’t become a parent before I had a partner, bought a house and had tenure. M came into my life after I bought a house and found a partner. Perhaps it’s a sign that the third thing I thought I needed will come soon, or perhaps she came into my life to remind me that everything I have ever needed has been here all along.