Since May 2011, I have been the sole parent living at home with our sons for what will total around four months. Right now, the kiddos and I stayed put, letting Slim finish his prekindergarten year, while R moved ahead to Pennsylvania. And his job brought him out to Kansas before we left Florida last year. When you add up all the time that R was traveling since we joined him in the Midwest and his work kept him away so that he was usually only around for bits of weekends, it's even more than that. It's two different challenges: he's missed out on over a half year of their lives and I have been alone with them.
I have come to appreciate single parents so very, very much.
My status as a temporary single mother is just that - temporary. It is trite and I loathe hearing it, but there is an end to it all and we will be a family again. The hated platitude has truth. Our family of four and a family with our parents, the kids' grandparents, living in the same town, awaits! We've never had that.
As I consider the upsides of this move, little things, like the ability to list the grandparents on the school emergency contact list, rather than an acquaintance met through a mom's group that intuition (fortunately) correctly predicted as a friend (oh yeah, I did that when we moved here around school start time), rank highly.
In the meantime, the end is not here and, when living through it, does not feel near. I have to be the one responsible for two kids, five pets, and one whole house. I can't have that bottle of wine I'm desperate for because, again, I have to be the responsible one. When one of the boys or one of the dogs needs to pee in the middle of the night? I'm the one that gets up with them. When one or all of the cats starts the hungry fidgeting as I'm clinging to sleep? I'm the one who tries to ignore them and fails when I can't get back to cozy dreamland. When the house gets messy? I'm the one who leaves a lot of the mess for another day because I'm so damn tired and wind up creating more work for myself.
Thank goodness for increasing responsibility, thoughtful friends, and coffee! Slim and Curly grow more capable all the time, to the point that I need to remind myself that they can do more than what I ask of them and let them do. The generous women who I am so pleased to call my friends, here and in Florida, are and were eager to ease my load when I am and have been by myself for months. And Starbucks and Keurig might as well sponsor me on this journey.
I need a nap. I need time to run outside, instead of on a treadmill. I need to start off with just a glass out of the bottle of wine that I want; I imagine I'm a quick drunk right now. I need reassurance that I'm not messing my boys up forever since I yell more and let them watch more television than I would if I had my husband, their dad, as a partner in life and parenthood with me in the house, rather than hours, states, and a timezone away. I really need to set aside my negative emotions and soak up the time I have left in Kansas - yes, I want the moving process over with, but not at the expense of wishing away time spent with great people and in a part of the country I've come to love quite a bit.
I'm not perfect. I reckon (shut up, I've had Firefly on the brain lately, which may make me more or maybe less perfect in your eyes) you aren't either. How do you make the most of your life during hard times?