In the year 1960, 45% of all households were composed of married couples with children. As of the 2000 Census, that figure is only 23% of households. The 2000 Census also reveals that during the 1990s in the United States, there was a 25% increase in the number of households headed by single mothers. In all, there was a 71% increase in the number of households headed by unmarried partners during the last decade.
I like statistics only to prove to myself how not alone I really am. When I feel like I deserve some sort of special treatment (a.k.a. a gift), I can humbly remember that there are so many women in my shoes (and in worse shoes or no shoes at all), and I know, too, that there are also a host of men taking on the full boat of raising their kids, working to pay the bills, and trying to do it all, complaint-free.
This morning I woke up, immediately in “blog mode” and decided that today I was going to write about something positive that has come from being a SWM. Yes, I am still trying to get my laundry done, as in yesterday’s post, I have two loads going right this very moment, but that issue aside…here’s a truth:
Since I have had to work so hard on fixing my mistakes and doing the best I can to provide for my child on my own, struggle way more than I ever had to when I was married and lived close to family, the whole nine yards, I have a much broader appreciation for life. This is TRUE: MUCH BROADER APPRECIATION FOR LIFE. There are other truths, as well, but today’s topic is this one. I can relate it this way…I tell Maycee when she says she wishes every day was Saturday that if every day was Saturday we wouldn’t really know how wonderful a day off could be because it wouldn’t be special any more. She says, “Huh?” But, this is the way I’m coming to view SWM-hood.
Face it: I took nice things for granted. I took having my family close-at-hand to help with Maycee when she was younger for granted. I took having a wonderful daycare provider just up the street for granted. I even took her dad for granted. While he may not have qualified for Father of the Year, he was another adult in the house with me. He COULD watch Maycee when I needed him to…he COULD be there if I needed to go to the market alone so as to maximize the potential of actually walking out of the store with what was on my list. I took money for granted-we actually had enough. I looked at otherslessfortunate with a sort of detached emotion, trying to have empathy, but not fully understanding. Un-wed mom yelling at her kids? Well! I swear! What on earth was her problem?! I took having help, in any way, shape or form, for granted–I couldn’t see the gifts.
Yesterday I received a phone call that was in response to an email I sent a horse riding trainer last week. On my New Years Resolution List for 2011 (and previously 2010) is to take horse riding lessons with Maycee. Why? Because we both love animals and love being in or around farm country and because I figured it was something she and I could learn together that didn’t involve an “every week” commitment, which, I cannot necessarily do. Well, the trainer called me yesterday and talked to me for over 20 minutes. She, too, is a SWM. Without me saying much more than that about myself, she understood my situation. I told her I didn’t have a whole lot of time or money to spare, but that I wanted to try this out. She said “no problem” and that she would keep me “on-call” when she had availability AND that she would charge me less since I wanted to take the lessons with Maycee at the same time. Then she invited us to the ranch for a tour. We went there tonight. I felt peace, joy, satisfaction, and accomplishment. We will get to take our first lesson on Saturday. The horse’s name? “Casey.” The only thing that would make it more perfect is if the name were spelled with a “K”. “CASEY.” Wow.
I absorbed the beauty of all that happened between yesterday and today. If I didn’t live the life I have now, I might have missed it…the beauty of it, that is. This is only one picture frame. GIFTS. So many gifts, and more to come…Saturday’s almost here…and my laundry…it’s almost done.