Seeing clearly.

by mssinglemama on January 5, 2009

After pulling in from Chicago I spent a few hours in my apartment and then dashed over to Mia’s. 

No longer playing Monopoly or roller skating in her basement, we were sitting in her very adult living room while her daughter slept upstairs talking about how in the hell she is going to get through this

The pain Mia is experiencing is so familiar, yet so distant. Mine didn’t cheat on me but he hurt me… some men leave their women for another woman, others stay and ram it into their heads day after day. My words didn’t help much but I felt my presence would.

So I slept on her couch.

The next morning we were cleaning her kitchen. Stripping the refridgerator of memories – pictures, a lot of pictures – of Leah and him together. His arm clutching her around the shoulders. Her eyes sparkling from that well of her spirit, which is truly endless. 

Then, deep in her kitchen drawer we found a box of the letters we wrote to each other during elementary school, when we lived over 500 miles apart.

I’d like to say we opened them and read them, but we had shit to do – like move a massive dresser from my house to hers. Two single moms hauling a huge dresser in an alley, now that is a sight to see.

One knowing the other will pull through this… knowing her best friend will, in time, be free again – able to carry that limb around. And the other not sure what will become of her and the family she thought she had. 

Everything that was certain is now completely uncertain.

And there are no answers.

More posts from Mia are coming by the way. She wants to keep writing… and my blog is her blog. 


On the way from Mia’s to Grandma’s and Benjamin, I stopped to visit Mr. Man.

I had to tell him the truth. He’s been missing me terribly – but I haven’t. I made my decision and many of you have written me e-mails, concerned that perhaps I was too rash – wondering if I may be too picky. But as soon as I e-mail the entire story back each of you has the same, simple reply — “Oh. I completely understand.”

He is surviving some major heart ache right now… and it’s not just because of me. These are old wounds. 

Again, I can’t go into the details. But Mr. Man is facing the test of his life. 

He’s also a friend and I will be there on the other side. I won’t be dating him but I will be there. 


So then there’s sweet little Benjamin. 

With all of these stories around me – these people I care about so deeply going through so much pain – there’s one story that is still blissfully unchanged — Benjamin’s.

He’s been painting on his new easel every day. And just yesterday he figured out that if he globbed it all on at once he could rub his hands around in it, spread it on his face and then dash into Mommy’s bed after which she would proceed to freak out – pause – laugh – and grab the camera. 

If he’s not painting he’s playing with Woody and Buzz. Here is Buzz after Benjamin hurled him into the ground. I’m glad toys aren’t real.

And here he is about to mount his trusty steed (whose name is Patches) while wearing Mommy’s cowboy hat. Note paint – every where, along with sad old Christmas stuff. I can’t keep the place clean to save my life. I have officially quit, by the way, trying to clean.

Or talking Mommy’s ear off about the moon, the stars, dinosaurs and dragons. 

It dawned on my – just this week for some reason – that I have quite a happy little boy in my hands. 

It has all been worth it. Every minute of pain. That first year of absolute hell, trying to raise a baby on my own. 

Leaving him.

Escaping a bad situation.

And then maintaining that relationship so Benjamin could have a father, albeit not the best father, but a father.

I don’t know why it hadn’t hit me like this until now.

Maybe because Benjamin is finally becoming a real boy, a little boy – not a baby, not even a toddler – a boy. And he’s just so incredibly happy. I know all mothers say it, but my son is something else, something rare.

He was meant to be and I can not believe I had a hand in making him. 


Oh, and here’s a little piece I wrote for We TV that has a little something to do with motherhood.  (The super hero girl is NOT me).

Apparently, I am the new Mommy Blogger there. A single mom speaking to all mothers. To say I’m honored would be an understatement. It’s my first “real” writing gig so please check it out.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama Crazy January 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

First – Congrats on the “real” writing gig! So Awesome!!!!

Second: I actually found Matt’s blog through yours and I agree – he is the epitome of awesomeness!

And Last (certainly not least, though) Your son is certainly amazing!!!


christine January 6, 2009 at 2:17 am

i spent hours reading through matt’s blog from the beginning, crying for the unfairness of it all. it also throws my own pain and loss into perspective. his daughter is so lucky to have him.

i feel so much for mia. its amazing, in a really bad way, how many women are going through the same horrid thing. i just found out my soon-to-be-ex husband had the woman he is choosing to end our relationship over come visit for almost a week. (they live on opposite coasts, as he met her when he went to cover the DNC for work.) this was 3 weeks before our second daughter was born, and in the house we share, in our bed. and he bailed out of a visit we had scheduled with our midwife because this woman was there.

mia’s letter inspired me to write my own. knowing there are other women out there, going through this same nightmare eases my pain a bit. i am glad she will be writing more.


Sheila January 6, 2009 at 2:26 am

I feel the same way about Matt and his blog, too. It really does seem so unfair, because you know what –he really, really, really loved and still loves Liz. He’s a good guy, darn it all!

However, his story is such a good lesson in the triumph of the human spirit after adversity, as cliche as that phrase sounds. The recent photos of Madeline are so adorable and she is very lucky to have him for a dad!

I don’t know the whole Mr. Man story, but good for you for sticking to your guns. You’re my single mom inspiration!

Sending love to Mia – Mia, you are a lucky gal to have such a great friend. 🙂


Lisa D January 6, 2009 at 7:34 am

Congrats on the gig with WE TV! That is so awesome!

Matt’s blog is so touching and awesome. I’ve been hooked since I started reading it last April. It was great to meet him when he was in Minneapolis for Liz’s 5k this fall.

Good for you for putting yourself first with Mr. Man. You sound so at peace with your decision. Good for you for putting yourself first. It’s so easy to get caught up in the luster of a new love/relationship and let certain words/deeds/scenarios be ok, when you shouldn’t be ok with them…

Benjamin is happy. And who cares about the clean house thing – he won’t remember that from his childhood. He’ll remember that you let him make a crazy mess with paint, laughed about it, and even took his picture. You are doing an awesome job!


Laura January 6, 2009 at 8:13 am

Fantastic Photography!

I have saved Matt’s blog…putting his journey down in words will be a true treasure for his daughter.


Wyliekat January 6, 2009 at 8:17 am

I actually picked up and moved house when we split up. I needed that purge. Helping her erase him from her space is a good step. She should make a list of the house projects SHE wants to take on, to make it hers. It doesn’t all need to be done right away, but it’s amazing how much that kind of thing can help.

To whit, when my ex left, I bought plug in air fresheners. A lot of them. And I plugged them in everywhere I could. Why? Because he hated them, and I’d lived without them for eight years.

I also bought new bedding. Allow me to highly recommend making the bed your own.


Kati January 6, 2009 at 8:52 am

Great article! I appreciate your blogs everyday. They remind me that I am not failing at my job as a single mother when sometimes I wonder if I am.

Enjoyed the video with Matt. I only hope to be loved one day the way he loves Liz. His story breaks my heart.


pisceshanna January 6, 2009 at 8:59 am

Thanks for the insight and the constant wisdom of your blog. I really find comfort here. Sometimes I feel like all my blog offers is anger, pain and fear. Coming here, reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful for. I hope to one day be as grown-up as you are.


Serkan February 4, 2015 at 6:33 am

And I was just wordineng about that too!


Laura January 6, 2009 at 11:13 am

Matts story is a heartbreaking one – it is one of the few blogs I actually made my real life friends read!! But he does seem to have immense strength!!

Sorry for what Mia is going thro – and Mr Man – it sounds like they both have huge challenges!!

I have moments like you had with Ben – small things where I realise that my kids are ok – I have made them ok 🙂 Its very cool moments – we need to give ourselves more credit!


lilcyndiluwho January 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

I just read your story about your X for the first time. Wow. Sounds sadly familiar, except mine was already a citizen. One of these days I’ll get around to telling the whole story on my blog… or maybe not. Point is, good for us!

I found Matt’s blog through some friends right after everything happened but had lost the address so I’m glad you’re in touch with him so I could get caugt up. So heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine.

Congrats on your new gig!


Sheila January 6, 2009 at 11:59 am

I discovered your blog through Matt’s. I discovered Matt and Madeline last year sometime. He is amazing and that baby is very lucky. THanks for the video AND for your blog. Best wishes for a FINE 2009.


J-fo January 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Ah, congrats on the new assignment with WE! Book is on it’s way…you’ll be an entrepreneurial superstar in no time!! 🙂


Dawn January 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I’m without words seeing the universe magically align itself for so much good … just goosebumps and a friendly “hello!”


Maxcy February 4, 2015 at 3:03 am

I’ve been looikng for a post like this for an age


LTP January 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Oh gosh…..I read Matt’s blog a few hours ago and I can’t get it out of my mind. My complaints and issues seem so insignificant to his….I just can’t find words. Yes, we are all single parents–more of us “single” than others….but I know we all strive for the same thing–and that is to provide our child/children with as much love as not only two parents but more and beyond. I am fortunate that my ex and I are “friends” and that he, with some minor faults, is a great dad….Matt’s story, along with many other situations that I come across on your blog, make me so thankful. Keep up the wonderful communication you have with readers and other single-parent bloggers (myself included)….you truly are making a difference.

By the way, Matt is so charming (even with curse words) that I’m sure someone will become smitten with him soon as I suspect some have already–he just needs time. : )


movin' down the road January 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I love this post. Very sweet. I just went to Matt’s blog and mesmerized by the beauty of it and lost in the sadness. He’s amazing. That baby girl is amazing. I want to borrow her. Love everything you write here and our gratitude for the things that we have and the things that are hard and make us stronger and the things that bless us, all make us up, don’t they? Happy New Year from one single mama to another.


CME January 7, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Wow. What a way to put life into perspective for me. I have so much gratitude because of this. Thank you for sharing. Wow, what an amazing man. His daughter is so blessed to have him as a father.


Amber January 9, 2009 at 9:44 am

Way to go Ms.Single Mama! Thats a hell of a piece you wrote (as is all of your writing.) You definately have a gift. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Your little guy is freakin adorable. Dont they just have a way of making the worst day bearable?


Amber January 9, 2009 at 9:48 am

I have been reading Matts blog for months. I feel like i have watched him and his daughter grow. He is truly the epitome and a great father, a great man. His story is tragic but the legacy he has made for his wife is inspiring. His daughter will never wonder what an amazing mother she had.


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Kabayan February 3, 2015 at 12:56 pm

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