Part 1: Watching Your Mother Slowly Die

May 2006:

The phone call was not out of the ordinary. Mom and I talked a bunch of times throughout the day, emailed one another. This day she dropped the bomb, “if something happens to me it’s not a sudden thing; something is wrong.” I stumbled on the words “What are you talking about?” Mom sounded fine on the phone; mom had sounded fine on the phone. It was then she confessed that recently with walking she was becoming winded; and it took more energy.

Obviously that leads me to more questioning. How so? That’s when she said “taking the trash out, going from the bedroom to kitchen.” I knew the length of the lane way, from the house to the edge of the road, that didn’t concern me. It was the going from the bedroom to the kitchen (20-30 feet) that drew my concern.

“What do you think is going on mom?” She laughed “Oh hell I probably have lung cancer.” Her saying that touched a nerve with me “don’t say that.” When I was 5 she stopped smoking (cold turkey) and she never picked up one again. That doesn’t mean someone will not get lung cancer. Her to put laughter behind it, made me uneasy.

“Have you made a doctors appointment yet?” I asked her. Then the defensiveness came out. “Can’t get one. You know how it is up here. You seem to have forgotten in your years of living in the states that you don’t just go to the doctor up here.” It was true, for years growing up it was hard to get into a doctor; the wait sometimes took 2 weeks. When I was sick we never went to the doctor. By the time we would get an appointment, the cold, flu, whatever had been gone. My chronic ear infections I had as a child, we would go to outpatients (ER) and wait 8-10 hours for a doctor to see me. I didn’t have a family doctor growing up.

I also knew my mother very well. Despite being a strong, independent woman; she had a tendency to bury her head in the sand. Something in my gut told me, she had been burying her head in the sand for awhile and this wasn’t going away and now she was concerned.

Over the next few days I did some investigating on my own. It’s amazing what the internet brings up for you; doctors in your hometown 1500 miles away. The first one I came to was a female doctor (we NEVER had a female doctor before in our hometown). I called up the doctors office in-between working up my patients and found out this doctor was taking new patients. I then called mom, “Here’s the name, the number and she is taking new patients.” Mom has always praised me for my tenacity, questioning and sheer will…accept when it pertained to her. “You can’t just demand things. That’s not how we do it here.” She also knew I didn’t like it when she told me what I can and can’t do. “Something is wrong mom, quit burying your head in the sand and go see about it. Call this doctor, they have openings. You have until the end of the week to call me back with an appointment time and date.” She paused, “Or you are going to do what if I don’t. You can’t just make people do what they don’t want to do. You can’t just come in and take charge.” I tapped my pen on the office desk, “Young lady you are not too old for me to turn over my knee and spank you.” I said with a laugh because even as an adult she would tell me that. She kind of chuckled, “If you don’t make the appointment mom, I will drive up there and drag your ass to the doctor myself while you are kicking and screaming.” She paused, “you can’t do that, you have your work, school, the kids and you don’t have the money to come up here.” Mom knew everything because we talked. “It’s amazing how our parents teach us all those years of kindness, compassion, helping others, caring for others, but yet when it comes to children doing it for our parents, apparently there is some unwritten law that children cannot be concerned for their parents, like we witnessed all those years our parents showing that concern for us.” She also taught me how to argue. “How the hell did you get so smart?” She asked. “Meh, I had this great woman who raised me.” I said.

Within hours, through email she gave me the appointment day and time. I wasn’t happy with the way I had to do this. It certainly didn’t make me feel good, to talk that way, to be that way to my own mother.

My gut on this was screaming. I had learned to listen to my gut years ago as a young child. When I would try to talk to Jack about it; he would shut me down. I was over reacting, I was a hypochondriac, it wasn’t my problem. “You mean to tell me if this was your parents you wouldn’t be doing the same thing?” No was his response. It wasn’t his problem.

I had a lot on my plate before mom announced this. I was working full time 40-50 hours, I had just started full time school in March, a dream of mine that I had put on the back burner for my family.  Taking care of two children, a husband working nights, trying to keep up with the housework, outside work, bills, finances; I had no support from Jack on any of this.

My days consisted of getting up at 5 or 6 am, getting two kids ready for school or daycare, getting myself ready for work, getting my son on the bus, driving my daughter to the daycare (a day care that was out of the way but was worth it to know my daughter was in good hands), then work from 830 to 6 most days, sometimes until 630 if it was my turn to close. Jack would drop off our son around 4:00 to my work (which luckily my boss was ok with, but still it’s MY work), gather up my son, go get my daughter before the daycare closed, sometimes have to run back to the grocery store to get groceries because that was the only time I had to do it, then finally get home. On just a regular day of pick up with the kids and no grocery store stop, my son and I would pick up lil miss by 630, and it would be 7 by the time we got home.

Once home, it was discovered my son hadn’t done his home work. I am trying to get supper cooked, while the battles of homework ensued (my son hated doing his homework) and the two year old is climbing my leg or demanding something of me, or getting into something she shouldn’t. By the time supper was done, it was 730-745 depending on what I cooked. Shit I still have to get two kids bathed and ready for bed before I even hit the books. Once I would run lil misses bath water, I would look at my son “go to mom and dad’s shower.” My son was quick in the shower, my daughter would just mosey in the tub. My son knew the routine, so by 830 he was in bed. My daughter a lil more headstrong, it would be 9 before I wrestled her to the bed. Shut the door slightly, breathe a sigh of relief. Mom dashes downstairs because the live online class is about to start (it wasn’t mandatory we attend the live sessions but it was an opportunity to ask your questions directly to the professor, and to classmates etc.) Oh you managed to put a load of clothes in the washing machine (Despite there are about 10 more loads to do). Five minutes into the class, lil miss peers around the door, with blankey bear in tow. “I gotta potty.” Or “I’m thirsty” or “I’m scared.” She won’t stay in her bed, she hasn’t stayed in her bed since she moved into it, hell she didn’t even stay in the crib once she figured out she could scale it at 7 months. You do 30 minutes of the up/down, and finally you have enough and just put her into your bed. She goes to sleep within seconds and stays there. You dash back down to the computer room/laundry room and get the tail end of the class, which you have to review the assignments. You see your other tabs on the internet, Online banking, your Quicken program opened, and also your schooling stuff opened. You are also working at home to make yourself better at your job by learning all the terms, how to make the office run better, ideas that swirl around your head that we can do. This was before my mother got sick. Add an extra tab of research once your mother does get sick. Oh and that load of laundry in the washer, you wake up in the middle of your 4 hours of sleep “CRAP!” Run down quick and put it in the dryer

Before I had started school, the advisor I was assigned to stated, you need the support of your family. I lied to her. I told her I had the full support of my husband.

When mom announced something was wrong. I knew it was big. As much as I tried to talk and express my feelings to Jack on it, they got tossed aside. What was I stressing about?

Over the next course of weeks, she went to her doctors appointment. The information she provided was vague. From her doctors appointment she was set up with an oncologist. Listen the Canadian health care is crap; when they move and your mother is visiting that oncologist within weeks, you know it’s not routine. It takes MONTHS in our area to see an oncologist. It takes MONTHS to see an OB/GYN to get your pap done. Don’t tell me I am stupid, and overreacting when my mother is being seen within WEEKS.

The end of May was when she announced something was wrong. She had seen a regular doctor, and was seen by the oncologist where they did a biopsy. July 4th as I was watching my two children play in the yard and I heard the phone ring…and it took several minutes for Jack to give me the phone. My mother announced, “it’s breast cancer.” And the phone clicks. I dialed her number back. “Oh hell no you did not just hang up on me, after announcing that!” What the hell do you mean it’s breast cancer, no one in our family has a history of it. What stage did they say? I knew I came at her with a bunch of questions she wasn’t ready to answer. It was apparent by the dial tone I got after the announcement. In a frustrated voice she said “I don’t know, the last one.” My mouth dropped, “the last one as in fourth stage breast cancer?” I guess so if that is the last one, was her response. “Mother, fourth stage breast cancer just doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in the time frame that you announced this even with the most vigorous form of cancers. How long has this been going on? You are not telling me everything.” I got it was none of my business, it was private personal information. She didn’t want to talk about it. “Get your head out of your ass mom. I know I am probably coming at you too strong and you need time to absorb this. You cannot drop a bomb of fourth stage breast cancer and not expect me to be concerned or to ask questions mom. We NEED to talk about this.” She didn’t want to do it right now. I dropped it even though I didn’t want to. Mom needed time to process the news. As soon as I hung up the phone. My phone was blowing up, a couple of her sisters called me. She was pushing all of us away. Sometimes that is a protection for the person going through it either for themselves or to protect the ones who care.

While the person going through the cancer has a lot on their plate, they do not realize what their family and friends are going through as well. I took it upon myself to get the information my family and I needed to be there for her. I found a site breastcancer.org that provided a wealth of information. It had a chat area, where I was welcome with open arms even though I was not going through cancer myself. I asked questions; the women going through cancer gave me tips on how to help my mother.  Talking to them, getting an outside perspective was like a breath of fresh air. I knew mom, the more I pushed, or her family pushed, the more she would hold back. Being 1500 miles away and not knowing what was truly going on stressed me out. I knew my mother better than anyone.

While talking to mom, I was finding pieces of information out. I just listening to her talk, I found out about things. It was talking with her and not even realizing she was spilling the beans, that I found out she had been using a walker for months. She said that when she got pissed about a friend callin her up and said “so and so said you’ve been using a walker.” When she said that, my ears perked up, “why the hell would someone spread a rumor of you using a walker?” Silence on the other end, busted. “Mom….tell me you are not using a walker to get around. Why is this coming out now and why didn’t you tell me?” She told on herself and I was just listening. It was then she had to tell me, she was using a walker. You wonder if she isn’t telling you about using a stupid walker, what else of more importance she isn’t saying. You learn to keep your ears open in the conversation.

July 13th, 2006 was when the oncologist had her first chemo treatment set up. You ask even though you know the answer, “would you like me to come home so I can drive you to the appointment.” That morning you call her just before you go to work, wishing her all the best, and that you will not call her until tomorrow. If she wants to call after the treatment it was fine, but you knew she would be exhausted. It would be an all day trip for her.

You go to work, you do all the same things you have been doing for a long time. The day creeps on; you look at the time, and wonder if she is getting the treatment now. You wonder if she is ok, you wonder if she has asked questions. Even though it’s on the back of your mind, you get through the day; you do all the routine stuff you are used to doing. The next morning you call and the answering machine picks up, you laugh, “Tell me a day after chemo my mother is not out interviewing someone for the next front page in the paper. Call me when you get a chance. Love you.”

You laugh after you hang up because that is exactly what you thought took place. She woke up after chemo felt great, she went to work on an article and talk to people, she went out to go capture the morning light for an awesome photograph. You don’t think anything else about it. You work on your class assignments; take care of your children.

Sunday morning at 11 am; you get the call.

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Life of a Single Mom

No one ever thinks they will be a single parent. There are a lot of things we do not envision happening in our lives; that do end up happening.  Some of us have seen single mothers in action.

As many of you know my mother raised me by herself. My dad was out of the picture by the time I graced this wonderful earth. Child support? Ahhh no. There was no child support to be had. The money coming in was the money mom was making and that was it.

For me there was no back and forth between my mom and my dads. There were no sorted issues that put me in the middle between my mom and dad.  If he had been in my life; I have no doubt there would have been those issues.

Life as a mom is not easy; life as a single mother is not for the faint of hearts.  There are many of us out there; and there will be many more. Somehow we all survive.

When Jack left me in June 2010, I was technically working part-time and making about 600.00 every two weeks. Then shortly after he left me; hours got cut and I was making somewhere around 300.00 every two weeks. I was looking for other jobs, even though I loved what I did. If Jack wasn’t helping me financially, I needed to find another job that was secure. Not only secure but that would offer benefits as well. Something many Americans need to do when looking for a job. I am sure one of the first questions out of a potential employee’s is “what are your benefits like?” I would take jobs where others couldn’t because I didn’t need the benefits. I would however once Jack and I were divorced, and I no longer was eligible under the military benefits.

600.00 a month to take care of a 14 year old and an 8 year old. Jack refused to give me money. After all he was doing “me” a favor by making the house payment and other bills. No matter how much I tried to get through to the wall of China and try to make him realize, “it’s not ME you are doing the favor for; it’s OUR kids.” One thing he forgot about when he was off having an affair and so in love was hey “WE” GOT OURSELVES INTO DEBT.  I don’t care who you are, you take care of your children before ANY other partner. Kids come first no matter what.

I would have to call him; and GOD knows I hated calling him for money. I dreaded the phone call. Because I would have to hear, I am paying the house, I am paying this I am paying that. Well I didn’t want to hear his whining because he got handed over ALL the bills when I requested  the money to upkeep the house come to me. He said no and the stack of bills got slide across the dining room table at him. Welcome to my hell buddy. I refused; outright refused to deal with any of the companies we owed money to when I didn’t know when money would be coming. Let him deal with it.

On top of the bills were the children. I needed money for this; I needed money for that. Any time I called him it was the same old same old, what you can’t manage your money? Oh I don’t know you make about 4,000.00 a month and I make 1200.00 a month and have two children to take care of. His famous line, “its all you.” Would he give the money? Sometimes yes and sometimes no.

I had suggested he give me what the estimated child support would be each month and then we would figure out the bills. No, Jack was riding his lil bus. “He” was in control.

The problem, he believed me to be this money monger. Somewhere along the way he decided I had used him all those years we were married. Please buddy if I was going to be using someone for their money I would NOT have married a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.  Quit drinking what your mama fed you.

Despite not getting hits on my resume I stuck out the 300.00 every two weeks as long as I could. I had learned how to use coupons  in the ending stages of the marriage. I was trying to get us on the path of better finances. With not much help from him. Jack was working an extra duty job in a local grocery store,  when he wasn’t doing his police officer job.  The extra duty was a sore spot with me because I didn’t want him working that much. Even he was impressed when I asked him to pick up some items once he was off duty. If I recall he ended up spending .13 cents and came out with 10-15 items. So you penny pitch where you can to make that 300.00 last for two weeks. It was costing me 50.00 a week to go back and forth to work. So I only had 200.00 to get the kids through the two weeks. Kids being kids are going to ask for things. I mean really just because my mom was a single mother didn’t mean I didn’t ask for stuff. They are kids for crying out loud.  10.00 here for a school function. When you go through that grocery line and you “pray” your debit card accepts the charges; it’s a good day. But there have been times I have had to put back items the kids needed so I could purchase the items they really needed. Lunch meat becomes a luxury. PB&J and ramen noodles become necessity.

To say you do not become a little resentful of your soon to be ex…he is still technically my husband is an understatement. Especially when he shows up sporting a new tattoo on his forearm to pick up the kids. It’s great he’s being all big and bad….look what the new girlfriend let me get that you would have freaked out about. Meh we’ll see how long she “let’s you” do this crap…I “let you” do this crap and we were on the verge of bankruptcy. The  kids to his place for the weekend and when they come back , it’s “look what daddy bought me. Look what omit her name bought me. My tongue bled I bit it so hard. “Oh that’s great sweetie.” or “bud” Meanwhile back at the ranch….

Of course every time you say something to the ex that you need more money or you complain about his lack of support, he says to you “Give them to me.” Meaning the kids. You have to hear that he’s got the money so it makes sense for the kids to come live with him and his girlfriend while we are still married.

In the beginning you try to be nice then you realize he’s doing everything in his power to make you miserable. Jack would say no, but this is typical Jack.

Finally things in the job aspect start turning around. I found out about this job; the same job I was doing but with a little bit better pay and the benefits were awesome. I applied, went through the interview process and then got hired. I was on cloud nine. It’s funny, I have told my friends while married to Jack I would have never taken this job because his job came first whether he wants to believe it or not. You even call Jack and try to talk to him about the fact you have a new job and you are going to need his help. For the first little while he would  have to call out when the kids are sick until I could  accrue sick and leave time. This job was a whole different ball game. He tells me that he will and I take him at his word.

In true fashion lil miss gets sick within my first week of work. I had to call Jack and I said I will just meet you at the front of your apartment parking lot. He agreed, didn’t say anything else. Once there, I sit and I wait…and wait. My first week of work and guess what I’m all ready late because of him. Then the truck comes rolling in and you want to scream. You don’t. Instead of telling me he was coming from his girlfriends place and he wasn’t at his apartment he just made me come to his “stage” apartment as I called it. I handed off lil miss, and didn’t bother saying a word to him about his lack of consideration. You just beat feet to your job. Upon getting to the job you get a little talking to from your new boss about being late and this can’t happen anymore. You try to explain the situation of why you were late but you do not want to go into too much detail….at your new job about your personal life. You take the lumps that are given; it wasn’t bad really but still you don’t want to disappoint the people who hired you, you don’t want to disappoint yourself because you are good at your job; not the best but good.

Jack was not going to ruin this for me. Most especially Jack was not going to ruin this for the kids. Yes, my job was so I could provide better for my children. My new job no weekends were involved, once I accrued time I would be able to take those days off the kids asked for and still get paid, or when they were sick still get paid. My other job as much as I loved it and as much as I hated leaving, my family came first. My family whether Jack ever gets it’s through his head, always comes first.  So you start laying down the law. From now on Jack will meet me a parking lot in my work and we will exchange sick kids there.

Of course like in our marriage what is any different than when we are going through a divorce; Jack doesn’t like to be told what to do. Of course when you tell him this he gripes and moans. He complains about the driving distance and how much it’s going to impact him. Guess what? I no longer care.

Leaving the old job to the new job, I went 3 weeks without a paycheck. Stress levels go up but you keep on trucking.  I have always been so used to saying “I’m fine, I will make it.” You are stressed about bills, about making it the 6 months probation you are on with your new job, kids need this, kids need that, added the stress Jack was putting on me with the crap he was pulling. I knew what Jack was doing and is still doing, is wrong. Of course you have the years of being married to him where he has convinced you it’s not him it’s you. Then when you tell people what he is doing…male and female they affirm your thought process of what he is doing is wrong.

Jack and I can’t even talk without it going into an argument. Why? Because Jack is a bully. He wants it his way or no way at all. It’s quite funny actually for years I had to listen to Jack tell me I caved all the time. I couldn’t make a solid decision and stick with it. Then I realized when I would say “NO” and give my reasoning’s why. It didn’t matter, Jack went and did it anyway. In the marriage I learned that. So I finally stand up and say NO and mean it. Jack did it anyway.

In January while you are dealing with lil misses head lice. Which by the way Jack made it my fault, that she got head lice. You don’t even have the money to buy the head lice shampoo and if it wasn’t for a very dear friend running out and getting me the head lice shampoo, my daughter wouldn‘t have gotten treated. You work all day and you are up to your elbows in head lice shampoo until midnight. This was truly the week from hell. While I am dealing with head lice, I check the mail and there’s the foreclosure letter on the house. We had to be out by February 7th.  Your son is sick…you have no money for the co pay. You have no money for meds. You are still pulling eggs out of your daughters hair and Jack calls and says “I can take him to the doctor if you want.” Oh just kick it on in the driveway why don’t you on the 500 mile trip. It’s when you have had you FILL of Jack and the crap he is pulling. “No Jack here is what you are going to do. I have all ready taken the day off….I got this. What I don’t have because of you is money to help me financially raise our children. So you are going to call up the doctors office and you are going to make payment arrangements for the measly 12.00 co pay…I don’t have. THEN you are going to call up the pharmacy and let them know YOU will be the one paying  for any all medications that the doctor sees fit in prescribing.” Stuttering on the phone. “I don’t think they will do that.” I rolled my eyes on the phone, “Jack do you really think that this is the first divorcing couple the doctor’s office and the pharmacy have seen? I mean really. They can do this. How do I know they can do this, because they have this thing called a credit card machine that one can manually punch in numbers on. It’s great. We did it all the time at my old job. Now do it.” In this conversation I also told him the 1100.00 he was going to pay on the mortgage…that was now in foreclosure…not to. When he asked why I said “because you are going to set aside that money so when I call you and tell you the kids and I have found a new place to live the kids and I will be able to move in. Otherwise you make a payment and the mortgage company will apply it to the loan and still foreclose on us.”

I had told him months ago it made sense for the kids and I to stay in the current house. Not just because it was the only home the kids knew, but financially. Because finding a “decent” place for the kids and I to live would be about the same cost as what the mortgage payment was. It made sense.  First and foremost as a mother I was trying to keep the kids lives as normal as possible given the situation they were in the middle of. They knew the possibility that we would end up moving. Both kids got apprehensive about it. Whether Jack wants to accept it or not, that house was their safety net. It might just be four walls but to our children that was home. To any child it’s more than just four walls. Yes we all know in life one must accept change and kids also need to be able to deal with change.  Jack’s response to everything I tried to make him see about the kids and what this was doing to them was “they will get over it” “Tell them to suck it up, it’s life.” By the end of the week I had found the kids and I a place to live. Great neighborhood. Friends they all ready had at school. I called Jack and said I needed 1600.00. He said he didn’t have it I would have to wait another two week. Then I stated that I realized it wasn’t 1100.00 so he could give me the 1100 and in two weeks give me the remaining. After all he had set aside that 1100.00. Guess what he didn’t have it. Of course I got the there are bills to pay that we all ready have and I didn’t know. I pointed out oh yes I knew, even after almost 1.5 years of not handling the bills, I knew the bills we had. When you do the banking from the time you were 20 until 32…you know exactly the financial crap the two of you have gotten into. “You had no intentions of making that house payment like you said you were.” Then you make the jab, “it’s not so easy supporting two households is it? You never thought of that when you were having the affair. Semper Fi Marine.” click.

So here the kids and I are 3 weeks until probably the sheriffs department comes and evicts us from their home. I had been in constant contact with my lawyer, here’s what he is doing now.  My lawyer contacted his lawyer. His lawyer wrote a letter back to my lawyer. I read the words and I got pissed.  Jack likes to take credit for what others present to him. All those months of me telling him it made sense for the kids and I to stay in the house, we were established in the house, moving would incur costs of start up. Jack’s lawyer wrote verbatim of what I had been saying to Jack for months. Kick it on in the drive way, buddy.

Of course by now, financially, common sense wise from a single mother’s stand point. No! Staying in that house was not making sense anymore. We all know there are pros and cons to owning and renting. I wrote this to my lawyer and told him he could use whatever he so desired to use. From a single mother’s stand point and providing for her children, staying in that house, no longer made sense. The house was 10 years old and stuff starting to go. The HVAC for the 4th time ate up another compassitor….150.00 repair. The last repair when I mentioned to the HVAC guy about us thinking about changing out units said that’s gonna be a hefty price because codes have changed since the unit was put in. It wasn’t just a simple replace the unit, you had to replace everything, including duct work. He nonchalantly said as he as putting in the compassitor “that will run about 7,000-13,000.00.” We were on septic and the last time we had it pumped out it was 500.00…that was in 2007. The honey sucker was probably about due to come out. So as a single mother what made sense was to rent. Why? Because the landlord is responsible for these repairs. Given the fact Jack wasn’t helping me financially with the kids, it made even more sense.

My lawyer got me that 1600.00 to get into the house. The kids and I were down to the wire; 1 week to get the entire house moved. I was so worried my kids were going to see us evicted and I didn’t want them to see that. Jack didn’t care, him and his girlfriend and her 3 kids were shacked up in their little abode. Meanwhile as you are helping your children pack up their worldly possessions and crying because they are packing up with tears in their eyes, holding them because there’s nothing you can do other than hold them. You keep telling them, “things will get better” and you yourself are wondering when the hell  things are  going to get better. You have to remain strong for your children.

You have all ready had to take a humble pill when within weeks of your new job, bags of groceries end up in the break room, because somehow they know. Christmas was provided by a church and if it hadn’t have been for that group of people, your children’s last Christmas in their home would have sucked big time. Even though their dad’s plan was to have them for Christmas, the kids refused to go because they wanted to be home for Christmas.

Thanks to a dear friend we moved the entire house in one weekend. I was so proud of the kids. Because as hard as it was and as tired as they were they kept plugging a long. There were times we stopped to cry a little bit, there were times we got mad at the situation and just kept loading.

Once we moved into the new house…Jack stopped helping. Even though once again you ask and you ask that he start giving you something his response is. “Not until I am ordered to by the judge.” What kind of man does this to his children? What kind of man thinks that this is ok?  It’s no longer just my opinion, it’s many people’s opinions about him. As much as he wants to think he has integrity; he has none.

I have had women and men tell me they have a lot of respect for me. The fact that I refuse to back down and I remain standing up for what is right. It’s not right that you ex shares the divorce papers with your oldest son and then says “see what your mother is doing to me?” It’s not right that Jack is not helping me with the kids financially. None of this is right; but you keep going. At some point someone will hear your screams, because you refuse to sit down and shut up to make it easier on yourself.

It’s through this experience I have affirmed what I have always known. I am strong. I am stronger than most. I am even stronger than Jack. What I do as a single mother, Jack needs two. 😀 It is what it is.

As a single mother I have learned many things.  Just keep going. With no help from Jack, I am hanging onto this house by myself.  I explained it to my friend as I am hanging onto the edge by my nails to the point splinters are digging up under my nails. She laughed when I told her that. I think she laughed more when I said, I have a darned good finger nail file to get the splinters out. The 1600 dollars Jack gave me to get the kids in the house until the end of April when he gave me 500.00 has been the only money since the kids and I have moved, he has given to “help out.”

Here’s a simple fact ladies. That pretty house, those nice counter tops, the big SUV, the fancy vacations.  85% of women would NOT be able to enjoy solely on their paychecks if they were single mothers. That’s my opinion; I could be wrong. We all know men make more in the work field. Yes I also understand there are women out there who make some big bucks in yearly salary.

Ask yourself this. If I were a single mother with what I am making right now would I be able to afford what I have right now? Nope you do NOT get to factor in child support because you have an ex called Jack. I think a lot of you are a little sickened by that thought aren’t you? Oh and guess what if you do not have an ex husband that is helping you if you make 30,000 a year here’s one little enlightening thought; YOU DO NOT QUALIFY FOR FOOD STAMPS. Despite that you have worked and you have paid taxes you do not qualify for those services.

This weekend I saw my 8 year old daughter do something that hurt but yet I was so proud of her. She shouldn’t have to grow up this fast, but she is. She set up a lemonade stand; her and her friends in our yard. I was actually surprised the kids made money. Friday the kids made about 4.00. Lil miss divided up the money evenly between her friends. Yesterday the girls did the same thing and today the girls did the same thing. What did my daughter do with her money. She went to a yard sale just down the road that was selling girls clothes and bought herself clothes. Again it hurt as a mother, but yet it was a proud moment. She knows that mom can’t even afford to go yard saling at this moment. I got paid Friday and the money is gone on bills to keep the kids in this house. Again holding on by my finger nails with splinters going up under the fingers.  She is exactly like me. At 14 I was out earning money to take the burden off my mom for all the things I needed because mom couldn’t get them for me. By the time I was 16 I was buying my own school supplies, clothes, bought my first car at 500.00,  got it inspected, paid my own insurance, put gas in it. I did this without any help.  I wonder if my own mother hurt to see her daughter out there so young working to take the burden off of her.  I don’t have to wonder however if she was proud of me,  I know she was.

My son who is a teenager is still learning about all of this. Yes kids will ask for stuff they always will. It’s part of being a kid. I have a wonderful opportunity for both of my children now.  Unlike my mother who raised just daughters as a single mother; I am raising a son and a daughter as a single mother. Guess what I cannot say the things my mother said to me about men. That would be a huge injustice to my son.  This is an important time for a 14 year old young man. This is also an important time for an 8 year old little girl. How this mom proceeds is going to impact them as adults. How their dad proceeds is going to impact them as adults. It’s like the therapist said in the court ordered parenting class that all divorcing couples in the state of Georgia are required to take before their divorce. “the kids will figure out who the smuck is and they probably all ready have.”

One thing I have had to learn how to do is,  not worry about Jack anymore and what he is doing to our  kids. I cannot be responsible for what Jack does or doesn’t do. He has to figure this out on his own.  I don’t wish Jack any ill as much as he ticks me off; I don’t even hate him.  And my friends  when they read this will say “she’s right, that’s her.” I know I am not perfect. I know at 34 years old there is still a lot of growing inside of me left to do. I am not always going to get it right with the kids. There will be times they will not like me. We have all hated our parents, we have all thought we were better than our parents. There are times I cry because the stress of it all gets too much. Crying is not weakness; crying is releasing what bothers you inside when you are hurting. Crying releases the bad so you can continue to be strong.

Why do I write this blog? Why do I share my experiences with you? Because I know there is someone right now going through exactly the same thing I am going through and that woman or even that man is wondering how the hell they are going to get through it. You will, I don’t know when, I don’t know how. I don’t even know how long it is going to take. It hasn’t even happened for me yet. It will. I have always rooted for the underdog. I believe in the Rabbit and the Turtle. It’s one of my favorite stories as a child. Believe in yourself. Most of all continue being you and what you stand for. In the end, the truth shall prevail. You are stronger than the individuals who try to knock you down.