I've been doing a lot of thinking about the labels that are created to define each of us within this society. Since Jeff's death, one of the labels that has been thrust upon me is that of 'single mother'. While I understand the reasoning behind this title, I don't feel that I properly fit this definition.
I don't feel single. I still love my husband and if he were alive, we would definitely be together. My status as a singleton parent was not my choice whatsoever. Neither of us chose to desert the other. Neither of us would have left the other's side if we could have helped it.
Often as a single parent (although I realize that this is not always the case), the children still have the benefit of contact with both their parents. The children still have two parents who love them, watch soccer games, rejoice in their accomplishments and hopefully, accept and support their difficulties and learning experiences. My children have me. Only me. Yes, they have grandparents and friends, but I, maybe mistakenly, feel that it is different than the truly unconditional love of a parent.
The single parent usually has a break every so often when they send their children to the other parent and they know that there children are with someone who loves them and has a vested interest in their survival. Again, I know that not all single parents feel safe sending their children to their ex and are quite justified in this feeling. If I need a break, I feel the need to carry it as long as I can before I am unable to hold on any longer. Then I must ask someone who has no obligations to my children or to me. I feel guilty as this imposition that I am thrusting upon others. I feel guilt for needing time away from my children when all they have is me.
Many times, there is anamosity between divorced parents. There is anger. Hurt. Sadness. Fear. As the child of divorced parents, I feel that I get this somewhat. But (please correct me if you feel that I am wrong here) I feel that at one point you loved this person, you cared for and wanted to be around this person. Most of the time, you didn't wish for their death. Now that you have chosen to seperate your life from theirs, and possibly you 'hate' them, you still know they are there. Breathing. Living. Their 'being' may irk you, but once you loved them, they loved you and they love your children. It may not seem like it, (and you may hate me for saying this) but the ability to share the world with them and still hate them is a luxury. You may have gone through hell with them or because of them, but you created children with them. Your children are here because of them. You have learned so very much because of your experiences with them. You are, hopefully, a better person because of this learning.
I hate that Jeff is gone. I am bereft and lonely. I am angry. I am terrified. But I am learning. I am picking one foot up and walking. I am a better person. I am more empathetic. More caring. More understanding. But I am alone. I am not trying to imply that one is harder than the other. I am merely saying that they are different and I don't feel that I fit the mold properly. Maybe I just need time to get used to this title. I don't know.
I am completely alone as a parent. I am a sole parent. I can't hate Jeff. I can't express my love to him. I can't ask for his help. I can't ask him how he feels about certain issues involving the kids. I can remember what we thought was right for our family before and follow this path. But things have changed and I have to sometimes make a new path and carry the kids along alone hoping that what I am doing is right for us now. It's scary and, fuck, I wish he was here even if we weren't together. So the kids could have the support and love of their other parent and I could know that someone else out their cared about their lives and would speak up if they could think of some thing that might make their lives easier or better....and actually know these little people as well as I do.
So instead of a single parent, I am declaring a new title. Sole parent.
P.S. I realize that I have over simplified many of the issues involving divorce in order to make my case for a new title. I apologize to any of you that feel offended or slighted by my definitions or assumptions. I absolutely meant no harm and I am so very sure that divorce is a truly hard and difficult road. I can imagine the fear, also, of sending your children to the home of a parent that does not share you feelings or ideologies and having this imposed upon your children. It must be terrifying to send your little ones to the home of an ex who is violent or bitter. I am blessed that I have not have to experience this as a parent. And I feel terrible for those of you who have.
The Firehouse Chronicles Episode 12
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