Yesterday I read this post by a new favorite blogger of mine. I read it with my heart pounding and tears springing to my eyes. I felt like I was reading it about my own mother.
My mom was (and still is) a single parent by most standards. My dad has flitted in and out of my life since their divorce when I was four years old. My mom raised my brother and I on her own. Once I was old enough to understand, I did realize how hard it must've been to do it. But until reading that post, I'm not sure I really got it. I always understood the obvious things- like it must've been hard to support us, and she didn't really get to have a life outside of us, and her life was basically controlled by us. But never did I think of those other things until I read that post. And had I read that post without being a mother myself, I don't think it would've made sense in my head.
I am so glad to have B in this parenting world with me. I have someone to glance at when Henry does something hilarious or sweet. We can catch each others eyes when Henry is having a tantrum, knowing that we're in the fight together. And there's those other things- the monumental things. The first time he walked. B was right there with me, sitting on the floor across from me. We got to experience it together, to celebrate it together. We get to share the joys and we get to share the hardships.
My mom didn't get to do that. She experienced all of it on her own. And just now am I starting to understand how hard that must've been. Not just the things like endless sleepless nights or vomit. But those moments when something is just so incredibly moving that you just want to share it with someone else. You want to smile and laugh and high five and think about how freaking great life is. My mom never complained, or at least not in front of my brother or I. I never got the feeling that she was lonely or wishing she had someone along for the ride. I never knew that she struggled. The only thing I knew was that my childhood was incredibly happy and my mom loved us like crazy.
When I shared that article with my mom, in her typical fashion, she explained what it was like to be a single parent: "I will say it's a double edged sword. Good news, you get the kids all to yourself. Also the bad news. Good news, you get to make ALL the decisions. Also the bad news. Good news, the kids will grow up ok and spread their wings. Also the bad news."
So to all of you single parents out there, I don't think you hear it often enough: You're god damn superheroes.