But I’m not here to complain about the single-mom thing. (For those just tuning in: I am still married. My husband, however, is working out of town six days a week. As a matter of fact, he is working Sunday this week, too.) (Whatwherewhy? We are not at liberty to say.) (As a matter of fact, he had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. However, anyone who stays abreast of business news may have heard about the major Internet company building a commercial facility in the Pacific Northwest.) (And apparently all of the construction workers on this job must grind themselves into dust for the good of improved Internet search engine-ability.)
But back to me!
People keep sympathizing: “It must be so hard,” and “If I can do anything to help, let me know.”
It is hard.
It took me one lunch hour to get the right Bionicle and a second lunch hour to choose a couple of undemanding books for M, whose birthday was today. It took a third lunch hour for me to make dentist and veterinarian appointments. I got my hair cut on Thursday’s lunch hour.
It’s my turn to drag the trashcan out to the street. Every week. And the recycling.
The meals? All me. All of them. The laundry? Ditto. The drifts of dog hair? Like I said, I’m slowly starting to lose control.
I’m on top of other stuff, though!
I remembered to find a plaid flannel shirt for Cole’s farmer costume … to go with the overalls I got off eBay, and the straw hat (donated by my gardening self, minus the girly ribbon). Reminder: the costume has to be at school Monday for Thursday’s show. (Why?)
The dog has a vet appointment Monday, and Cole’s guitar lesson will be Tuesday next week instead of Friday. Little League practice starts soon. Don’t forget to buy a new suitcase for spring break vacation! (When?) Remember, the big one fell apart on the last trip.
M’s dad called this morning at 10:25. “My car battery is dead.”
Four adults and three boys later … we were all loaded in the trusty minivan, motoring toward Safari Sam’s. Yay for me – I was a hero! It made beating a hasty retreat impossible, however, once the party was over. The birthday boy was in no hurry to leave the place of climbing and video games and presents. I pictured my many errands withering on the vine.
At last we motored home and I deposited everyone at their assigned drop-offs. Cole was scheduled for a few hours at his best friend’s house, leaving me free to purchase a few necessities: maple syrup, unsweetened chocolate, and mushroom compost. Oh, and chicken manure.
I rushed home and wolfed down a salad with turkey and cheese and way too much ranch dressing. Really. It wasn’t pretty. I was starving. Think: ravening cheetah on hapless gazelle.
Then I spent one happy, happy hour digging in my garden plot. See, I can’t have a garden in my back yard because of the very cute, very tail-wagging, very destructive creatures who live with us. They don’t mean to trample stuff. They just get to rampaging and next thing you know: churned up dirt is my garden’s color scheme.
So I applied for a community garden plot last fall, figuring it would be years before someone died and I got a spot. But no! The overly optimistic mom of small children gave up trying to get her kids interested in growing things and voila! The plot … she is mine. It’s one! Block! Away!
How lucky am I?
Look how sad and neglected it was a few weeks ago:
I have since turned some earth, re-erected the beanpoles, and added a compost bin. Today was the blissful hour of digging in some compost and manure. I was all alone at the community garden, too, which made me happy. I think I actually grunted out loud a couple of times while I was wielding my pitchfork. Hurray for honest toil! Hurray for solitude!
(Oh, and by the way, when someone tells you, with great excitement in their face, “I got a garden plot!!!” don’t make a moue and say, “I don’t get it. When will you have the time?”
The correct response is, “How great, honey! Now you can grow all the corn and raspberries and ground cherries you want!”
Or, you know … something nice. Because hi. Have we met? I like to garden, man-who-has-known-me-for-over-twenty-yea
Wow, this is turning into a long post. I must be lonely.
My point WAS!
Yes, it’s hard. Single parenthood. I’m lucky. Mine won’t last forever.
But you know what? The part about being alone with the kid?
Not hard at all.
We’re really having a fine time. He’s just the right age. When I call him on some unacceptable behavior, he turns the Misbehaving Bus around right away. What a far cry from the half-hour tantrums of his toddlerhood! I don’t think I would have survived this experiment when Cole was two, and waking up five times a night and defying me 24/7.
He’s fun and interesting now. I enjoy his company. And he still likes me, too! He thinks I’m fun and interesting! Believe me, I’m lapping it up right now. I’m an ant storing the crumbs of love for adolescence/winter.
Today after dinner he asked to watch the U2 “Vertigo” DVD. I assented, and settled down with “The Gilmore Girls Season Three, Disc One” on my laptop.
When I heard “Mysterious Ways” come on, I did what I always do: I got up and started dancing. (He’s used to it; he can process the trauma with his therapist later in life.)
This time, mid-way through the song, he said, “Mom! Why are you shaking your booty so much?” (He called it something else, but I can’t remember what, now. ‘Booty-bubble?’)
“Because dancing means you move your body, honey!” I panted.
“But why do you always do it to this song?”
“Um, because I have to practice. I have to be ready.”
“In case Bono invites me onstage someday.”