Vintage Eve of Destruction: The Last Time as Single Parent
I whine, therefore I am. I knew it was only going to be for two weeks again. I also knew that there would be play dates, school and my mother around. But that also meant that there would be bickering, homework and more bickering. Of course, when Eddie would finally return from his last two-week stint at the National Fire Academy, there was a pretty darn good chance that there would be even more bickering.
Play dates don’t always go as planned. If they go too long I’ve got to bring out a video and lunchables. (The last time we baked cookies only the kids themselves could swallow them.) Last week’s homework kept Samantha pretty busy. She had three evenings to complete twenty-one Valentines. But because each heart, that was maybe two-inches in diameter, had to include her name, street address and her classmate’s name, we struggled. Without Ed’s “superior intelligence” (We’ve said this jokingly for years.) it took me a day to figure out that I needed to pencil in some lines for her to aim her efforts on. More bickering.
My mom e-mailed my brother from my house writing that she needed “disaster pay” to stay with me for three days. She KNEW I would read it and couldn’t care a hoot. Between our mother-daughter squabbles and my own daughter’s intent on defending grandma, we had, you guessed it, more bickering.
In all fairness it did help to pack Samantha off to school ten out of the fourteen days so that a trained teacher could answer all of the questions she never tires of raising. And having my mother here to color and play with her did give me a few additional hours to myself. Of course being a working mom adds another figure into the equation; but sometimes working moms may admit, it’s easier to go to work than to be a mother all day long. And I only have one child. I’m sure that real single moms don’t always have an option when they need a little time to themselves.
Before Ed left I anticipated being stressed out trying to manage everything alone. So much so that I needed a little Excedrin PM to fall asleep more time than not his last week home. Maybe it was because I lacked the inherent backbone that other single mothers have been forced, or chose, to develop.
Then about a week into his trip I was sleeping without any aids. Ed’s usual 5AM alarm was pushed back to 6:30 for me. We could skip the nighttime television. While Samantha tidied her own room I could read on the couch, the chaise, the bed, his desk and even the carpeted step alongside the tub. The entire noise level of the house dimmed when Sam and I didn’t turn on the usual Rhapsody in Blue dinner music. We were developing our own rhythm.
During the last week of my single parent stint we seemed to have found our balance. Before Sam’s bath one night she joined me on that carpeted step. She with her new Pokemon book and me with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It took only one suggestion to read to herself. And even though she really can’t read yet, she pretended that she could. Not a bicker in sight. Later at bedtime I couldn’t help myself and reminded her that we could share mommy’s bed one night before dad comes home, I owed her a visit to the revolving sushi bar tomorrow and a tour of The Canyon Theatre Guild before this weekend’s matinee.
I know I may only be adding logs to the fire but I can’t help it! I’ll never master single parenting but I think I’m finally coming around to the appeal of it. I have enjoyed not having to bounce everything off another person for approval. I liked having fast food without feeling guilty. I liked having my daughter accompany me on mindless errands, just because she wants to be with me. I liked watching “girl” movies with my girl. I liked carrying my cell phone with me in case her school needed to reach a parent in a hurry. I liked supplying a few things to her school’s fish tank without first asking Eddie if I could. I liked being in charge of her schedule.
But he will be back to muck it up now that I’ve finally got it under control! I didn’t take her to her Indian Princess meeting because I think they stay out too late on school nights; but he’ll be home in time to take her on their three-day camping trip. He’ll also be in town for the semi-formal father daughter dance recently advertised in the last Parks and Recreation guide. Of course the fact that we’ll all finally be able to enjoy a decent home cooked meal will be nice. And, best of all, she can cuddle with someone else who she needs as much as me.
I just hope that when I let him know how hard I had it these past two weeks he won’t bicker with me that it would have been harder had I cooked and cleaned like every other working single mother in the world. Yeah, but I bet they don’t have anyone to remind them of that now do they baby?