My birthday confessional.

by mssinglemama on April 5, 2008

Benjamin trying to make a jump off of the deck, near the raccoon path.

We moved a lot when I was a kid. The instant the realtor opened the front door to a potential house, my siblings and I (the bottom four of six) would plow past her and run around the place like crazy. No formalities, no adult bull shit conversation, we would just run into every single room, placing dibs on our new potential bedrooms.“This one’s mine!!!”

“Oh yeah, well, mine’s got a bigger closet!”

It was first come first serve when it came to the bedrooms. You find it, you keep it. The four of us were inseperable.

Sometimes, maybe because I had so many little siblings, I feel like Benjamin is my little brother. Like when he sticks his finger far, far, far up his nose until I shriek in disgust, then pulls it out and does it again to earn another shriek.

And it doesn’t help that he calls me by my first name. I am “mommy” most of the time but every once in a while an “Alaina” slips in there.

Goes a little something like this:

“Mommy, mommy, maaaaammmmmeeeeee!!!!!, Alaina, Alaina, Mommmmmmeeeeeeeeee!.”

I first heard him call me Alaina last winter long after I had moved in with my mother and left my ex-husband. The Alaina calling made perfect sense. After all, my mom was “mom” and I was “Alaina.” My brother, my mom and I immediately instituted a no “Alaina” rule and everyone started calling me “mommy.” I even started calling myself “mommy.” It was eerie. Clearly Benjamin was an unusual and special boy with an unusual and special beginning. He was surrounded by a dynamic extended family, but that’s a story for another time.

Back to the woods.

My mom’s place is 15 minutes from my hometown, her driveway is a steep hill and the house is nestled on the edge of the most magnificent forest in the middle of no where. The physical circumstances were just one of the forces beyond my control driving me to discover myself. There was also my newborn, my isolation, my humbling new job as a secretary and then there were … the raccoons.

My first night there I was busy unpacking. I was lonely already. I started thinking about my divorce, about leaving my husband…and just when the my throat got thick, I saw them.

The racoons. Their beady black eyes were piercing at me through the glass doors. But they just kept on scarfing down the cat food. Scarf. Scarf. So gross and so big.

I screamed and jumped back. The lump in my throat disappeared. There was no time for wallowing – I was living in the fricking woods!

“Grab the BB gun,” my mom yelled from her bedroom. What? I screamed. No way. No way this is not happening to me. But it was.

By the end of the year I could light a fire in six minutes, drag tree limbs out of the forest, haul trash up the dark steep driveway in the middle of winter and hike with Benjamin on my back – all without a flinch. And then I found an amazing job in the city – or was somehow lucky enough to land it – I could afford to completely support Benjamin.

On moving day a friend of mine found a dead racoon in a path. It had been buried by the wild dogs that killed it. Yes, there were wild dogs too. He was standing there in horror.

Then I surprised myself.

Without thinking I grabbed a shovel, a garbage bag and got to work. The body was stiff. Dead. Just like my time out there in the woods. It was over. I had paid my dues and kharma was about to pay me back.

If you read my blog regularly you hear a lot about now … but there’s an entire chapter missing – and that was the first year. It took time, a lot of optimism and quite a few dead raccoons for me to get to where I am now – mentally and financially. Divorce and single parenting is not easy. There’s a good chance you may lose your mind temporarily. The key is pulling out…and sucking it up along the way. Because there are no instant miracles.

When I walked back up from burying the raccoon in the woods the guys had all gathered, they were just staring in disbelief. I was a mom on a mission – to get back to the city, my career and my freedom – and a dead raccoon was nothing.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea April 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

is today your birthday?? its my moms birthday too. happy birthday mamas!!!!!!

my kid calls me by my first name too. i ignore it. he knows i’m his mom. i think it started when we lived with my parents as well, though. same thing, they are mom and dad and i am andrea.

thanks for posting this, this little glimpse into your immediately post-divorce self. i definitely lost my mind for a bit and the person i was immediately following my divorce is a stranger to me now, and not someone i like to admit i was.


singlemomseeking April 5, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Happy Birthday you spicy, wild, real Aries!


mssinglemama April 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Thanks Rachel…and yes, Andrea – tis my birthday. Girls night is just a few hours away! Going to get a wee bit crazy because I have a lot to celebrate…surviving divorce and the raccoons. : )


liz April 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm

I hope you have a wonderful day!!!

Great post…I love that you are so upbeat and positive but I appreciate the reminder that like all us other single moms, you have your moments, too!

I am in the middle of doing a shutterfly photobook of 2007 — the year of the divorce. It’s been painful to face some of the moments again…but getting through that year is what got us to where we are now. Thanks for sharing your moments with all of us!

Happy Birthday!!!!


Jose February 3, 2015 at 4:23 am

Wow, if I had to choose .Loved Brad! Loved Raskel Flats!! So many good prmrofeances. I only wish we could see more! How about making it a 2 NIGHT SPECIAL next year and giving us another 3 hours???????????????? Please Don’t you think that is a FANTASTIC idea??? 7 million would have tuned in one more night for sure! Oh, I loved the AI newbees Lauren and Scottie, just fantastic. Martina .great! Blake!! OMG too many great moments!


sparklingmama April 5, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Happy Birthday!

The dream of buying a house is one of the many dreams that went out the window as result of my divorce.

It’s awesome that you are in a position where you can buy a house!

I think it’s amazing that it only took you a year to get to where you are now. Its been nearly 2 years since I split with my ex and I feel like I am still trying to find my way.


mssinglemama April 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Liz…ahhh yes, the pictures. Looking through my old pictures to find one for this post got me all teary eyed…and smiling at the same time. Odd. And yes, I definitely have my moments.

Sparkling Mama – It’s been one year since my divorce was finalized but it will be two years in July since actually leaving him. So we’re on the same schedule! You’ll find your way…soon enough now and spring is here … so that’s even better!


sparklingmama April 5, 2008 at 8:01 pm

We are on the very same time line. I filed for divorce 2 years ago at the end of June! My divorce was contentious and took quite a bit longer to finalize.


singleworkingmommy April 6, 2008 at 12:58 am

Happy birthday!

You should totally buy a house. I have one, and I’m SO glad I do. It makes me feel good that Son has a house to live in.

The ex made me try to convince me I needed to move to an apt to save money, but I’m not gonna. I figured it out, and the money I’d save, if any, would be negligible, at best.


Paperspoons April 6, 2008 at 3:36 am

Happy Birthday! 🙂


The Queen Chimes In April 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Buy a house! Buy a house! Buy a house!
If a single parent can own something that is theirs and provides stability and security for them and their children than Go On With Your Bad Self!
I can’t tell you the pride I get from knowing I am a home owner all on my own, all by myself, and that is sure something to feel proud about! So buy one for you and the boy! Y’all deserve to have a house a home a place that is yours!


The Queen Chimes In April 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Oh and Happy Happy to you Ms Mama. My Elana will be 10 on the 15th, she is an Aries too. I hope she is a strong independent Aries Woman like yourself.


dadshouse April 7, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Happy Birthday! You’re an Aries… like my kids.

The part that hit home (no pun intended) for me with your post was the part about there not being an adult partner to make sure you got a present. My kids are great, but they aren’t the best shoppers, and my ex sometimes doesn’t help them make sure my birthday or father’s day is covered. It’s a drag. I turned 40 without a blip on the social radar…

Good luck on the house hunting!


mssinglemama April 7, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Queen – I know, I’m feeling the urge. Just have to take the plunge and settle down. Man or no man. And that’s so cool your daughter and I have the same name and nearly the same b-day. Very nice. You’ve probably got a fire cracker on your hands… : )

Dad’s House – tks! I know … it was a giftless birthday (well, one sweet thing from Kris) but nothing…however, Benjamin’s dad came up today and brought me some Lilies. So that was nice!