Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Single Mom

McLovin is leaving for the next five days. It's not very long, but by the time he gets back, I will be gone with the IHPs for six days of Spring Break.

I've also been asked to come in to work for these same five days. Which is *awesome* because it's money and talking with adults and doing all that cool job stuff that I used to do. And, lest anyone ever forget, I get to wear real shoes. And it's spring and I have a pedicure, which means cute shoes with toe cut outs...really, this is pathetic, and I know my boss on occasion reads this, so....hi, yeah, please disregard this whole paragraph. However, I also figure if he read Lydia's Five Guys post, he'll never be back here again...

I mentioned this all to Lydia -- well, not the boss and the Five Guys part -- and said something like, "it'll be like being a Single Mom again." And then, after today's List of all the crazy stuff I have to get done just to go to work for five days, I'm exhausted and I haven't even worked yet.

And then I got to thinking about when I was the Single Mom. Most of you know that, at one time, there was Season One...and now there's McLovin. And what I've always sort of glossed over was that time in between.

In between was The Hibernation.

I think for about eighteen months I basically just crawled into the Single Mother Cave and hibernated for a while. Oh, no, not like I got to rest and rejuvenate for spring or anything. But more that I didn't see anyone, didn't do anything, didn't go anywhere...nothing...just pushed through that long dark cave of wake up / shower / kids up / breakfast / teeth / school / work / home / dinner / homework / kid shower / stories / clean up / bed routine that lasted forever.

And I had help. We had a nanny that was -- and still is -- wonderful and amazing and she teaches my kids Spanish so when they're irritated and in public the can mutter things in another language and people think they're precocious little bilingual savants and not mouthy little ingrates. Plus, I get to scold them in Spanish so no one knows that I'm actually threatening to lock them in a cabinet with a snake. In Spanish it's all sing-songy and rhyme-y. Gabinetes and serpientes...

And Season One was great too. As I may have mentioned, we live ridiculously close to each other. By choice. And I dig his company. And Lefty and McGee think he freakin' walks on water, which sometimes makes me jealous, but kids should think their parents are awesome. Even Happy digs him, and would rather sit with him in church than with McLovin' and me. [Yes, they all go to the same church, too. And we sit two rows behind them and watch the kids wander back and forth between all the parents. It's like watching a two-headed dog juggle or something. - Lydia]

Anyway, the Hibernation. Even with all the help, and the complete lack of animosity and a total willingness by both Season One and myself to help each other and make our schedules jive, the hibernation is hard. You're alone. It's a really long time and more work than you ever thought possible. Plus you're not sure you're doing the right thing. I mean, sometimes you're sure, like when the future ex is a douche or John Edwards or Jesse James or Tiger Woods.

And it's like it's dark or something. I tried not to think. Because thinking made me...think more. And, I'm no idiot, but that much thinking isn't good for me. It's those "I'm gonna be alone forever" and "Oh, right, I can totally compete with the still-single thirty-something career professional with the just-purchased BMW and condo in the city, perfect figure and the hoohah that wasn't used as a slip-n-slide..."

Oh, and my personal favorite, "Yes, me with my ex-husband and kids and the Louis Vuitton 9-piece Deluxe Edition set of emotional baggage, which would be awesome were it not for the fact that every suitcase, carryall, satchel, makeup bag and purse-size tote were all full of metaphorical used hankies of drama."

So when I hit these times when I'm by myself for a week or so and everything rests on me, it reminds me of when I was by myself all the time. And it's hard. And I think about you moms who still do it all the time, whether by choice or by fiat, and you step up and you do it. And you do it really, really well. Even on the days when you don't do it well. You know why, because while today they're being IHPs and LTSs and -- let's just say it -- little shits -- they still got dinner and a story and a roof and a kiss and a mom who would jump in front of a bus for them. And that means you did a great job.

I read this newspaper article a long time ago about a baby whose mom died in childbirth. And the mom's mom -- the grandmother -- somehow was at peace with the whole thing, even though she lost her daughter. And I had to tear it out of the paper because sometimes I think we forget how terrific we are at being moms because we're so busy being moms...anyway, just read it...

"The last full measure of devotion is that of a mother who gives her last breath for her child."

Shut up. You're totally crying too. Lydia is gonna square up on me for this one.

Point is: You're Mom. MOM. Which means that today, you did an awesome job. And anyone who says different can suck it.

I remember one day when spring had finally arrived, and I went outside and was like, "when did the leaves come out?" and McGee looked at me like I was an utter moron and said, "ummm, mom, you said that last week...it's May."

But then one day something comes along that snaps you out of that Mrs.-to.-Ms. Funk and for me it was seeing a friend I hadn't seen since way before my hibernation. And she was jogging by my house, and stopped. She looked amazing, all rested and in shape and -- sorry, Becks, I'm gonna out you here -- she looked better than I had ever seen her. I can totally say this now because she was always awesome and now her looks matched her fierce personality. And I know I must have looked stunned, and she, being her amazing self, hand-hipped me and said, "yep, lost 185 pounds..."

Physics said that was impossible. You can't weigh a negative. I know. I've tried.

"Got rid of that @$$hole. Lost 185 pounds overnight...sorry I dropped off the planet, by the way."

So I told her about how I had been in hibernation. And she told me she had been blasted into outer space without, well, anything. Just floaty and dark. And no direction and no idea what happens next.

So, to my Single Moms. You are amazing women. You took a crappy thing and make it, every day, a great thing. And you deserve a freaking medal. But you're happy with a T-Box. And you need to know that someone has your back. And that person is me. And I'm kinda bad ass...

And now I'm going to go get a tissue because I have stupid mascara running down my face. But the best part? The IHPs still think I'm awesome.

And anyone who says different can go suck it.

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