window at Christ Church from inside

window at Christ Church from inside

Life has been a little crazy here this last week.  Yesterday Max and I went to the dentist.  He is OK, although he has a few cavities.  The loose tooth that made me so crazy the night before will fall out on its own in a matter of weeks.  While the dentist wouldn’t have given me the prize for Dental Mother of the Year he also refrained from calling me a bad mother.  And perhaps I only imagined the dirty looks.

Last night when getting ready for bed Max was complaining about his foot.  He has lots of small aches and pains my wee one.  Nevertheless I turned on the light and took a good hard look.  A foot that was perfectly fine just hours before when he was running and jumping at the pool was inflamed.   A strange sore had grown upon his big toe and the infamous red streaks all moms dread were creaping up his foot.  I took one look at his foot, and bundled him up to take him to the emergency room.

I was a mama bear acting on pure instinct.  I had put shoes on that foot just hours before when it was dirty but otherwise normal.  Who knew how bad the infection would be by morning?  As I rocked him while the doctor lanced his wound, cleaned it out and gave him a shot of antibiotics I knew I was no bad mom. 

This morning we woke up to a new crisis.  A stomach bug and bronchial thing had taken hold of his poor little body. I called in sick.  My beautiful little angel needed me more.  He was having a  rough couple of days.

I have been back to work for all of half a week and already taken 2 days off.  I will need to take Friday off as well to shuttle him to follow up appointments.  I think about the work piling up, the patient colleauges who are getting restless, all the things that are getting put on hold.  I think about the house which in the matter of three days has turned into a complete disaster zone.  About the laundry to be done, the lack of clean underwear, the lack of healthy food in the fridge.

At times like these I have been known to throw open the door to a pity party.  I want people to feel sorry for me and to acknowlege how hard it is to be a single mom.  I want them to give me permission for my bad mood, my frustration.  I want them to give me a pass on the things that won’t get done and to give me permission to stop at Cold Stone Creamery and buy two half gallons of ice cream.  I want them to let me sleep. 

Other times I steam with the unfairness of it all.  I even indulge in a little envy–the friends with partners who will split the staying at home with the child shifts, who have the grandmas who live close and will run to the drug store or better yet will take a shift.   I think about how much easier it would all be if only I could JUST be a mom and put the crazy career on hold.  If managing the stuff of life could be my full time job.  I dream of winning the lottery.

Sometimes, I plow through these days with humor, laughing at the absurdity of it all so that I won’t break down and cry.  I keep my head down and pay attention to the most important things–Max, trying to work from home, getting to the drug store, the doctors office.  I step over the clutter piling up in my house and triage the crises at work.  I try to block out the voice inside me that likes to lecture and blame. 

 And sometimes, like tonight, it dawns on me that this suffering that I am feeling is really quite universal.  I am grateful for the moment when I can feel at one with all the single moms who are trying to keep it together.  I think about the moms who can’t work from home: the waitresses, the store clerks–the ones who lose a days pay on days like this or worse yet lose their jobs.  I think of the moms whose “helpful” families make them feel small.  I think of the moms and dads who need to calculate how many days off they will need to give up in order to pay for the visit to the  emergency room, the dentist, the doctor.  Knowing that my frustration, suffering and pain, while real, is just a tiny drop in a great sea of mom suffering doesn’t make me feel better, but it makes me want to take a pass on the pity party.

Sometimes my life needs a little unraveling.  Like when I am knitting.  Sometimes I will look at the last week’s work and realize that it is just not right.  It always pains me to throw days of work down the drain as I pull out row after row but ultimately the finished product will be better.  There is something to be learned when the universe pull on our loose ends and unravels our supposedly perfect plans.   And I dear friends am a work in progress.  A little unraveling won’t hurt.

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