It has always been important to me, to let the kids keep their own last names. I never wanted them calling me dad, and I never wanted to confuse or blur the line between me, and their parents. While not many people understood this – it has always been important for me, for them to remember and respect their parents – no matter if they are here or not. I never wanted to confuse the roll, or take the place of their parents. I always wanted them to know that I was NOT their parent.
Yes, they may be mine, but I am not their parent. I am not replacing their parents. I will never try to replace their parents.
With Josh, things have been a bit different. While I wanted much of the same things for him, there was one thing I wanted – and that was for him to get rid of the last name he carried. I didn’t want him carrying the name of the person who abused him. I didn’t want him associated with that part of his life. I realize it probably doesn’t mean much to him – but for me, I didn’t want him to grow up and carry that name on any further. Call it selfish. Call it an attempt at revenge. Call it whatever you want. I didn’t want him to carry that name any longer than he had to.
Unfortunately, the way things worked out – he has had the name for the past nine years.
But all that is about to change.
While he has been ‘mine’ for the past five years, there has still been a small part that was left unfinished. The problems that occurred, the therapy required, and everything else that came all at once when Josh came back – left the door open, just a crack. It was supposed to be a short term thing. An attempt to see how things would work out, and since no one really knew – it just stayed that way.
For the past five years, it has bounced back and forth in my mind. Do I close the door for good or do I leave it open – just in case. Do I settle this once and for all, or should I leave SOME sort of reassurance to others – that incase I mess up – there are other options.
I tossed the idea around for a few years. I toyed with the idea that MAYBE this wasn’t the best option. And then I landed on a thought that stuck with me for some time. As long as I had the “option” I would never consider it really “Over.” There would always be the “option” out there. And that wasn’t fair for Josh. Not that it makes a difference to him one way or another what name he has, not that he really even knows about the options, but because the option is still there – there is still that tiny fraction of hesitancy on my part, when it comes to him.
And that? Isnt fair to him. He deserves it as much as the other kids. He deserves a shot at this life. He deserves a fair fight. And so I gave up the idea that there was another option. I left the idea behind and plunged full forward into living life as if there WERE no other options. And things happened. Things changed. Josh changed. I changed. We changed together, and apart – and somehow – we have made it work.
I decided that this year, was the year. Enough was enough, and he was going to rid the name once and for all. Over the course of the last few months I have worked to get things in order to put the final piece in place. Ridding the old, tossing out any last reserved thoughts that this might not be the best thing – and marching full force into what was about to happen.
Today was the final court date. The final step in this long process. He will shed the name that has been with him for nine years, and officially get rid of the last piece that reminds us of that part of that past.
Some things need to be forgotten. Some things need to be buried. Some things. Need to be changed. And sometimes you need to never look back.
Tonight when I put him in bed, whether he knows it or not – I will remind him once again, that he is here to stay. He’s not going anywhere. And he will never have to live down to that name again.