So what’s the “average” single parent really like? According to the U.S. Census Bureau…
She is a Mother:
- Approximately 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
- 16% of custodial parents are father
Last Wednesday night I had to do the deal: drive Maycee down south an hour and half from home to the meet spot I have with her dad. She’s goin’ to grandmas and then to her dad’s. After several years of exchanging every other weekend, I still begrudge it. “Oh, it must be nice to get some time to yourself.” “Well, it will be good for you to have a few hours alone to get things done.” “You deserve a break.” Ugh. Yes, these are all true statements, but what some people (not all) do not realize is that it takes me almost an entire day to figure out what to do without the chattering and timed interruptions of my 7-year old. The toys in every room, the requests that keep coming, even the fits and tantrums that may ensue, but mostly the “I love you’s”, the giggles and laughter, and the light that she brings to my every day. Wednesday night drop off. School is out. No childcare. So, that leaves Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday. Okay, now we’re talking multiple days, not a just a weekender. A pending long date with me, myself, and me again.
I have not been away from Maycee for more than a couple of nights since back in December during winter break. I had to process what four whole days alone would mean. What could I do? What did I NEED to do? What items would I knock off the laundry list? Would I rest? Relax? It shouldn’t be that hard, right? RIGHT?
The middle of the road is trying to find me
I’m standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me
Well I got a smile for everyone I meet
As long as you don’t try dragging my bay
Or dropping the bomb on my street
Thanks, Petenders. I can relate.
Me, myself, and me again, along with the furry kids of the house, three leftover fish in the tank, and two fire-bellied toads. Well, SWM’s, or other parents the like, I think handled the four days splendidly. The hours were filled with “The Beach” playing on 95.3, ’80s rock to which I sang and danced in the kitchen–windows wide open, two chick-flicks that I could cry over without anyone giving me the eye (you know the one), a host of small to-do’s that became to-done’s, cups of tea, cookies baked from scratch, and my piano played with some new lyrics written. You name it. What entered my brain as even half of a good idea to fill in the gaps, I rolled with it. And at the end of the vacationofsorts, I felt accomplished and survived, and even a tad peaceful.
I enjoyed being married to me, having a date with myself, giving myself what I needed without really knowing it in the beginning. Of course I had moments of solitude where I felt lost, and no doubt I missed Maycee. But here is the deal: I did need this. I think we all need this. Time to reconnect with ourselves so that we can be of more service to others. When the tank is empty, the car won’t go, and instead of in the middle, you’ll be left on the side of the road.
Sunday afternoon came, and my car did its drive heading south, once again, to retrieve my ohsowonderful girl. She always greets me like en ecstatic puppy waiting for its owner patiently each day after work, looking through the window as the door gets unlocked. Maycee sees me through the glass and smiles. I open the door and hug her all over. Once in my car, I asked, “You wanna hear the Imagination Movers? I found the cd, finally.” I inquire about her weekend and share with her mine. She says to me, “Wow, mommy, you really were busy getting caught up on things.” Ha! Now how’s that for the perfect ending?
Friends, try to find a solitary space in time, if even for an afternoon…just you, yourself, and you again. In fact, make it a date, and as always, be happy.