Maybe I should’ve put something like I’ve lived as a nun for the last three years on my dating profile… Maybe it would ward off the men who think I want to see pictures of their…ahem…you-know-whats before I’ve even met them. I knew there was a reason I refused to attempt online dating until now! It’s been 24 hours, I’ve been graced with the dubious gift of close up pics of TWO men’s…(you-know-whats), and my feminine heart that yearns for a beautiful, loving man is disgusted by the crassness, and the practical single mom in me, who has only so much time and energy, says that this online dating stuff is a serious waste of time. I mean… Is it even possible to awaken…on Tinder?
He must’ve been tired, because my eight year old said Can we go to bed? Can you tuck us in? And I thought Yes please go to bed. Who’ll tuck me in? And then I got up from where we were snuggled in reading. I shivered into my robe, then tucked my daughter in after brushing her hair and scratching her back and answering some questions. I tucked my son in, raining kisses on his forehead, his cheeks; he got annoyed. I remembered that nothing lasts forever, not even mother’s kisses that give us angels’ wings right before we drift into dreamland.
I was really hoping the fog would clear but the weather was dreary again and my mind mirrored the soup I saw out my window. My patience was thin my fuse was short and pretty much everything felt like too much. Really, all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and sleep the day away, but someone had to feed the children. Someone had to make sure they completed their schoolwork. Someone had to keep the kids off the electronics Someone had to hear their questions, and put out their fires, and divert their attention; someone had to ask them to step outside and get some fresh air. Someone had to make sure that they bathed. Someone had to tuck them in bed. Someone had to tuck them back into bed after removing the iPad from the closet. That someone was me. That someone needs to go to bed.
I was too tired last night to even think about writing. No wait. I did think about it… And that’s as far as I got. Even the thought But I haven’t missed a day in a while wasn’t enough for me to push through the exhaustion and string a few words together. Now I grieve the loss of yesterday’s poem. What would I have written if I had had the strength to stay awake?
You know when you go to sleep angry and wake up angry and try as you might to change it you go through the day angry? And then you feel depressed because you’ve been angry and the anger is exhausting and you’re looking around at your messy life, wondering when you’ll have the energy to get organized, but then you remember that you’re a single parent, and there’s already too much to do, and so you look at the mess and think, Someday I’ll…? Yeah, that.
What will take away the rage, the fatigue, the sheer exhaustion? What will make all of this seem ok, so that I can get up and do this again (and again and again and again and again)? How many days like this until it won’t be like this anymore? Tonight, I feel solidarity will all single parents everywhere who just want some help, because it all feels like too much.
It’s beginning to finally look somewhat like Christmas around my house. We have a tree; my kids and I decorated this evening. We listened to Christmas carols and hung up ornaments. I’m going to bed thinking Not bad for a single mom.
The resistance rises up. Wanting to be more energized, less tired. Wanting to feel more confident, less worried. Wanting to feel more supported, less alone. Wanting to feel more peaceful, less stressed. On the heels of the resistance, stories… Stories about injustice, mistreatment, a wish for vindication, retribution. I can feel my body contract. I know this thinking isn’t healthy and I feel powerless to stop it. I know I need to pray, and even this evokes anger and the question Why do I have to try so hard? I guess I haven’t really surrendered yet. I guess I’m still trying to control the moment. I want to let go. Lord God, show me how to let go.
So tired. Kids came back today, and it took all my energy to help with homework, make dinner, and get them to bed. (And tidy and take the trash out and moderate arguments and put them back in bed five times.) I want… I want to cry out like a wolf, I want to be heard by other single parents everywhere. I want them to respond to my cries, my messy wolf pack, saying You aren’t alone. I hear you. I feel this way too. Howling in the dark together raising a ruckus strength in numbers Can we change this heaviness together? I don’t know. I’ll just keep howling until I can sink into sleep.
I said a final goodbye to the old house, handed the keys over, and closed that chapter. I drove away feeling free, grateful. Then it was time to teach. My students were open and lovely, willing to slow down, breathe, and try their best. Back home my kids were darling; I’m just amazed at how naturally positive they are; they are focused on the good, they get excited about sweet, simple things. We watched a movie and ate popcorn, then I pumped up the tires of our bikes and we road around the court. Chicken soup for dinner, then homework, then reading together. Ah, it’s the sweet, simple things that make life so blessed, so enjoyable. I vow to be grateful for all of it. This life is a miracle.