This shit ain’t easy (a bedtime story).

by mssinglemama on July 31, 2008

Today sucked. Everything caught up with me.

Working full-time, being a mom, trying to date – mix all of that with a good dose of self-doubt and you’ve got the ingredients for one grumpy mama. I’m also dead tired.

Last night Benjamin kissed me good night and prounced off to my bedroom, jumped into my bed and curled up on my pillow. I caved when I tried to move him and he said, “NO! I go nigh-nigh Mommy.” He’s so independent. So fiercly adorable. I had to respect it and besides, he was passing out. Seemed like a good idea.

But then he kicked and stirred all night. Bad idea.

Because of my hazy, foggy day of dead tired doom – Benjamin got ice cream for dinner. Yep. You heard me. Ice cream for dinner.

On the sidewalk in my little urbanized neighborhood, the happy couples are out in force.

Some are at the start of their relationships… flawless outfits, perfume and cologne dripping out of their pores and sheepish gazes. They’ve found each other – a different kind of haze.

Then there were the veterans. The happy married couples. They’ve been in their haze for a while. Their eyes are different. The spark isn’t new but it’s there – gleaned over time, so wise, so sure. Each holding one of their children’s hands. The kids say hello to Benjamin while their parents smile at the strange little boy pushing his stroller- swerving through people, avoiding curbs and silly potted plants. He can’t see over the top and has no idea where he’s going.

He’s shouting too, “I wok to muh house, see? I wok! To muuuu (crescendo)hhhh house!!! Bye!” And his mom is snapping pictures like a dork. Because I love this stuff, have to capture it. Can’t let it go.

Across the street is the bar patio where Benjamin’s father kissed me for the first time.

We were on our first date. They’ve replaced the old iron tables with shiny, metal tin things. The building is one of the oldest in the neighborhood but, like the tables, the people on the patio are young and fake looking.

Drunk laughter is seeping into the air just like the cigarettes they’re dragging. The single and childless. So free. I used to drink myself into tears at that bar or run upstairs to dance to live music. If I didn’t have Benjamin tonight, after a day like today, I’d be there. Commiserating with friends, chasing something or momentarily forgetting all of my worries. The place where Benjamin started.

And then he snaps me out of it. No longer the feeling after a kiss or a distant soul I have yet to meet. He’s here. And he’s about to push the damn stroller into the street.

While balancing my steaming hot mocha, I grab his little body with my free hand and use my leg to pull the stroller back onto the sidewalk. Not a drop spilt and my son is still alive. Single mom reflexes, either physical or emotional, are a force to be reckoned with.

But even bad ass single mom reflexes can’t save me from the occassional bad day. 

Today was one of them. I needed someone to care. Someone to try to lift my spirits because I couldn’t lift my own. Annoying thoughts. Pointless thoughts. Then – after the ice cream, after the stroller and after his bath – an amazing thing happened. I was crashing on the chair in Benjamin’s room when he pulled out an Elmo book, smiled at me and then played one of those musical buttons. He looked at me with a wry little smile and said, “C’mon mommy! Sing!” Annoying songs were sung. Tickles were freely flowing and all was right in the world.

Bad day is over now. Thanking the world for Benjamin. And don’t worry about me, this funk will be lost in my dreams and as soon as I hit publish. Writing it out, sharing it – seems crazy – but it really helps.

Cheers to tomorrow and to single parents – because this shit ain’t easy. May we each find our way, whichever way that may be and no matter how tired or grumpy we may be when we get there.

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