Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Single Parent, A House, Kids

I was going to name this blog, "Four Months, and Twelve Months," sort of like the Arabian Nights "A Thousand Nights and One Night." But that wouldn't make sense to anyone but family and an explanation would only bring a, "oh ... thanks ... but I still don't get it."

Anyway, it's really about how Mom deceived me when I was a kid and now I'm paying for it.

We were a single-parent home for a while; nothing we could do about it, as illness comes and sprinkles its germs where it will. And we were a single-parent home without warning. Twice. Well, to skip over a lot of stuff (from age 11 to age 64), I'm living in my apartment, a new one, doing laundry for two days when I can find the time. Just vacuumed the floor, which I kept putting off "until later in the day" for about three days now. Lunch was half of a leftover sandwich from yesterday's lunch. The cat just coughed up a hairball on one of my shirts, so that's going into the next load of laundry after I spray some stain remover on it.

You get the picture. We kids grew up knowing that times were tough, but never realized just how tough until we were much older and able to look back with some perspective. How did she manage to get things done without the Other Half around? I'm doing laundry for one and it's piling up; how about for a family? Shopping for clothes and food ... health matters ... school stuff. Oh -- and where are the $$ supposed to come from? This went on for 16 months and during that, it was with no end in sight.

I think Mom put in for a nervous breakdown, but just couldn't find the time to schedule it; there were always more important things to do. Luckily, many years later, she had her time in the sun and quite a while to relax with no household worries.

I don't know how she did it, but I certainly will ask when finally we meet. I know the answer; it's what she always said when a tough job had to be done: "Somebody's got to do it."


Anonymous Helen said...

It's amazing, isn't it, what a few years of perspective can do. I remember when I was a teenager, chafing at restrictions (unreasonable, I thought at the time) my mother placed on me about where I could go, what I could do, who I could be with, etc, etc, etc. Back then I thought "I'll NEVER do that to my own kids!" And now, just a few years later (okay, some 30-plus years later), I have my own 16-year-old and I'm understanding a little bit of what Mom went through back then. You just do what you have to do.

June 25, 2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Reading Reader said...

God bless your dear sweet mother. By the way, she did a fine job...

June 25, 2006 5:44 PM  
Blogger David Yonki said...

The years pass and you look at your own strengths and weaknesses and wonder how in the hell your parents did it. The sheer physicality of the work boggles the mind. It gives you an appreciation of what good and decent people we were raised by.

June 26, 2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Parenting and bad times are Moms' speciality. There is a place for them already reserved in the next world.

One parent families can also mean that both parents are present but only one can be counted on. I remember my Mom taking me to the hospital on Dec. 24 as I had broken my arm......she took me there on a bus! I remember at the age of 13 that I flipped over the handlebars of my bike and my arm had two elbows as the compound fracture gave me another 90° bend which wasn't there before. We went to the hospital in the car. Where she found the money to pay that one, I'll never know...we received Christmas baskets that year.

As for parenting. A good parent has a good memory. I always said t omy kids ( not out loud) whatever you do, I've done so don't try to weird me out, t'won't work!

June 30, 2006 9:24 PM  
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