Cydney’s Lament

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Cydney pretending that she's on her cell phone talking to a friend of mine.

A little over a week ago I wrote about how Cydney is grieving the loss of her mother. Somehow I was hoping that it wouldn’t happen, but it was inevitable. I hate to use the term “acting out,” so I’ll say that she is expressing a brand new feeling that she doesn’t know how to articulate: heartbreak.

This isn’t Cydney’s first venture into being heartbroken. I had a friend that she got really close to. Life happened and people grow apart. We did. My friend and I met up one last time and it was pretty awkward. No eye contact and it was as if we both knew this interaction was the “exit interview.” As they were getting ready to leave, Cydney thought she was going with them. She cried and cried in a way I hadn’t heard before. It was crushing for all parties. They even sent me a text message saying “that was heartbreaking.” It was.
Cydney still remembers this person. From time to time she asks about them and says they were her friend she doesn’t see anymore. That was a year ago.

Recently it seems as if Cyd is putting the pieces of the puzzle together. She talks about Timile a lot more. Last Saturday night she looked at an old balloon that was in the living room and said “We sent a balloon to the sky so Timile could catch it in heaven.” Here it is, mid-July and she’s remembering February 14th, synthesizing information, and drawing her own conclusion with literally no discussion about it in five months.

Cydney wants a mom. Children especially toddlers-are intuitive geniuses with nothing to hold them back. I believe everything my three year old says in moments where thoughts come out of the blue. Out of nowhere she said “Timile wants you to be _____’s boyfriend.” I just looked at her and said “Oh really?” She nodded and gave a “mmhmm” in lament.

The next day, I was talking with my mother about taking Cydney to the beach. While playing to the stereotype that black people can’t swim, I mentioned “I guess I have to find someone to teach you to swim.” She responded “I can swim. Timile taught me how to swim.” I said to her “No, Timile didn’t teach you how to swim.” She paused and said “_____ is gonna teach me how to swim.”

After a pause Cydney then blurted “_____ is my mom.” My mother responded “No, she’s not your mom.”

“She’s going to be my mom” Cydney vocalized with all of the confidence in the world; yet the timbre of her of her voice suggested casualty. Cydney is truly a chip off the old block. The juxtaposed expression of her innermost thoughts and feelings with a relaxed demeanor is so off putting one can’t help but pay attention.

After a short pause, “I don’t have a mom” was Cydney’s next statement. It was as if she was rectifying who Timile is, who she wants a certain person to be, and realizing where she currently stands. She didn’t pout at all or show any indications of sadness; but i felt for my little girl.

With much more experience in handling children, my mother quickly changed the subject. That quick, she was over it.

Later that afternoon, Cydney came running into the den where I was watching TV with her toy smartphone and letting me more that _____ was on it and they needed to speak to me. I was told that I am buying the three of us cokes. Right after, Cydney wanted the phone back so that they could finish their discussion.

I told said person that Cydney needs her right about now. They’ve made sure to call and speak to her. Cydney gets too excited when she sees the phone ringing and knows who it is. Aware of how cell phones work, Cydney puts the cell phone on speaker so that she can look at their picture as she speaks. This is her way of having face to face contact. She’ll do things on the phone and ask “Did you see that?” The other day she had Disney Princess bingo cards that she was clapping together. After she did this, she placed the cards next to the phone as if they were in her right and left hand and asked if she was doing it too. They played along and Cydney couldn’t have been happier.

Maybe Cydney sees something that I don’t. I’m an adult who is more than jaded by life and the ways of the world. However, she isn’t. I won’t read too much into it, but I am paying attention. For right now, my little girl is a little happier than she was before. That’s all that matters.

One last thing…last night while playing with some toys Cydney uttered “Timile, my mom died because she was sick and I want a mom.” I told her “Well, I’ll find you a stepmom.” She didn’t hear a word I said and went right back to her toys.

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11 thoughts on “Cydney’s Lament”

  1. I know what you’re going through but my son is not as vocal. When he encounters a man you can see him reaching out for the love and attention he is missing. It is very heart breaking! As parents we want the best for our children and seeing them go through something like this that we have no control over is very hard. Good luck on this journey and many blessings for you both!

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  2. After my divorce I went into protective mother mode. I didnt want to date or allow anyone around my children, for the fear of things not working out. I didnt want them to get attached.to anyone then he would disappear just as fast as he appeared. I did fall in love again (which was great) I never knew or thought I would but I loved him more than my children’s father… We are no longer together but I thank him for opening my eyes and my heart… I always said I wanted to get remarried and have one more child but time waits for no one and well age has tapped me on the shoulder so me having a baby is out of the question but I pray that my true love will come… I also pray and I have much faith that you will find your queen and your daughter’s step mom…. Also trust her judgement children see people for who they really are we are sometimes blinded by other factors…

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  3. Dear Dad–The last thing Cydney needs is for you to feed her fantasy expectation that you are going to find her a “mom.” Perhaps she is reacting less to the loss of her birth mother and more to the trauma she experienced as a result of the breakup of your relationship with a woman who apparently had become deeply involved in your daughter’s life, someone who became important to Cydney’s sense of wellbeing, someone who helped to shape her consciousness. Unlike adults, children–in their own way–admit to themselves and others that they like to feel the safety and security of consistency and order in their lives. They need to know who’s on first, who’s on second, etc. Children need to know that they can rely on people and situations for the long haul. They can manage truth, they just need that truth to be something they can count on. Rule Number 1 of singleparentdom is not to expose your child(ren) to fleeting circumstances or random relationships. Discretion is the better part of valor. In other words, until you have determined that your partner is someone that you are going to marry, your child need not be exposed to that person. Date away from your home and outside of the purview of your daughter. Until she can fully understand, your daughter does not need to know that you are dating at all. Meanwhile, through family, your daughter’s classmates, neighborhood families, or organizations, help your daughter to build lasting relationships with other women, appropriate mother figures. Both of you have experienced trauma concerning the loss of her mother and the contention concerning custody that followed. Perhaps counseling is in order for both of you.

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  4. Sir I pray and ask God to continue to cover you and your little princess !! well as doing a wonderful job. I can truly understand the bondage of your friend and little girl and you not taking it away and also experiencing similar but different situation with my little girl In bondage ..continue to do what you do and I promise it gets better .. My God bless

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  5. Oh wow…that really touched my heart! She is beautiful…keep your eyes and your heart open and in time, the right one will present herself. Stay blessed!

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  6. Reading your stories breaks my heart even more. I know this will be me in a few years with my son. His father was murdered in a failed robbery attempt in June. My fiance was blessed to see our son turn 7 months old.

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  7. I saw this as a post on FB and had to come leave a comment. Bless you for having the perception to see your daughter’s grief and empathy to feel your daughter’s hurt. She is lucky to have such a father as you are lucky to have a clever little doll for a daughter. Hope your search for her her new mommy is short!

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  8. This story truly is heartbreaking. Being a single parent is hard enough without dealing with your own grief as well as the grief your child(ren) may experience. Thinking about what might happen to my two boys if anything should happen to me is a nightmare of mine. You seem like a very understanding father and she is lucky to have you.

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