Being widowed at 28-years-old is thankfully not something that will happen to many people.
My son is also in the uncommon place of not enjoying a living mother in his formative years.
And because of this reality, our reality, I am acutely aware that gender stereotypes can be wrong, not only that, but that they can be a little upsetting too.
Or at least, I should be.
In the winter months I took to the hockey field again, and now as a *coughs* senior *coughs* player, part of my self-appointed purpose is to encourage and coax along the younger members of any side I turn out for.
Taking advantage of my natural mannerisms, I mainly use positive abuse to achieve this.
One lad, let’s call him Jack (well, it is his name), was improving week on week and working harder and harder in each game.
This resulted in his usually pristine kit being absolutely filthy after one match.
My quip to him, intended as a backhanded ‘well done dude’, was:
“Your mom is going to absolutely love you.”
The moment those words left my lips I was regretting them, and I was angry with myself.
The lad’s face had changed too.
It had changed to that of my own son.
I don’t know what actual reaction I got because all I could visualise was the deflated expression Max gives when someone has made the incorrect assumption that his mom is waiting for him at home.
It’s difficult sometimes when folks assume that we are a 2.4 family, and I have some idea of the feeling my boy must have when someone makes an all too innocent remark that doesn’t really have the intended impact.
Not great basically.
He deals with these moments very well, generally without saying a great deal, and I am convinced it is often to save embarrassing other people, rather than him feeling he can’t point out his mother is dead.
A fact I should always pay great respect to. If there’s anyone he should be able to look at for understanding it is me.
I’ve beaten myself up over these words, and rightfully so.
Jack’s dad does his washing.