Hindsight

by mssinglemama on September 7, 2009

“If everything works out with John, Benjamin won’t know a time when he wasn’t around.”

As my therapist’s words sink in the last three years of my life flash through my mind; from the beginning when I packed everything up and moved into my mother’s, to the quiet nights at her house in the woods wondering and wishing myself away and back to some semblance of independence and then to the moment when Benjamin and I stepped into our own sweet, little apartment – ready to begin our new life.

What followed is all here, on this blog in my eBook, or safe in my mind.

I sit on her couch, staring off into a painting on the wall as I try to grasp this idea of him not remembering anything before John Bear. The memories wash over me – the adventures big and small – like the time we were yelled at by a hair salon owner or the countless grocery store trips that typically ended in knock down drag out tantrums. Then there were the big adventures like trips to find Joshua Trees

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or deep forests and mountain coves in Vancouver.

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And smaller adventures like hours of puddle jumping for no reason

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or sweating it out on a hot summer day in August to hear our future president, a man also raised by a single mom, speak to us from about twenty feet away.

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or chasing bunnies with Sydney.

Now, looking back, it is these moments – the moments when I forced myself out of the house with him, braving the book store, the library, the festivals, the camping trips and the road trips all by myself, trying to fill the time – that are the best memories I have of the two of us.

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Memories of the moments when we both forgot where we were or when we just took our time

IMG_3828because we didn’t have anywhere else to be.

“So they’ll all be gone? He won’t remember a thing?” I ask my therapist or, as I fondly call her, Wonder Woman. She’s helping me to straighten out my trust issues and to figure out why, in the past, I had a pattern of choosing bad boys dysfunctional men.

“The emotions we all feel before the age of three are imprinted on our minds forever, but the actual memories are harder to keep so, no, he probably won’t remember any time that John wasn’t there. To Benjamin, he will have always been around.”

I am trying to see it as I typically would, to draw a clear line – a before and after, a then and now – but to me, meeting John and almost sensing that he was about to surface, was all part of one big transition for both Benjamin and I. Bringing John and Murphy into our lives is another family adventure but this time, we’re playing for keeps and we’re both falling.

Fortunately John is right there with us, helping us paddle the boat and proving his love through his actions over and over again. And even though part of me used to identify myself with being single, the fact is that, single or not I am still me and Benjamin is still Benjamin.

We’re just being introduced to some new things

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and I am seeing expressions on his face and witnessing feelings I didn’t know he had in him

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They seem so obvious now. A game, cracker jacks, a helmet filled with ice cream.

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Love from a man who knows how to love.

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“That’s okay,” I tell Wonder Woman, “I am happy and Benjamin is happy, that’s exactly what I’ve wanted all along. We’re just growing, making room for even more love – it doesn’t replace the love that already existed.” But that doesn’t mean I won’t be sneaking Benjamin off for a few more solo adventures or two.

In fact, I’ve been savoring our moments alone even more now. Not that we don’t like having John Bear around – we adore him (and so does Wonder Woman, by the way) – but this entire experience, of growing your heart and your family at the same time is something you need to take slowly. And while things have been speeding up as of late, while there is more and more talk of what is coming and as magnificent as it all sounds, it’s not perfect. Nothing is ever perfect. But, I can tell you, it’s a hell of a lot easier when you have a good, strong man there to catch you – a man who you know would never do or say anything to hurt you.

As for the imperfections, there are all kinds of things coming into play. My ex, for example, is becoming more and more agitated by Benjamin’s affectionate talk of this “John Bear.” We are also trying to learn how to co-parent… all other stories for another day, but for now I have a prize to give away.

[UPDATE: Just added photos from the baseball game to the bottom of my Recently Photo Album]

Single Mom Adventure Prize Pack

I don’t know why but I keep getting contacted by companies offering prizes too good to resist… maybe they’ll slow up soon enough but until then, let’s all have some fun and ride the contest wave, shall we? This one is particularly awesome…

Prize #1: A Shutterfly Photo Book

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I spent most of this afternoon sorting through old pictures of Benjamin. I’m collecting them all to add to my set of Shutterfly photo books. The company contacted me asking if I’d be interested in some free samples (full disclosure). I said, “Sure, but only if my readers can have some too.” And guess what? They did. I have a few copies to give away!

I don’t know about you but I’m in love with photo print books because the pictures aren’t going to fade, get lost, separated from the album, etc. And Shutterfly books are surprising affordable and they have a big sale going on right now too. (They didn’t tell me to say that, by the way. No one ever tells me to say anything about their product because if they did I’d tell to go bug off).

Prize #2: A copy of Sole Mate by Lauren Mackler

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I was reading Sole Mate: Mastering the Art of Aloneness when I met John. The author, a single mother, who had to move back to the U.S. from Europe with her two grown children after her marriage fell apart, is truly inspiring. I love this book and highly recommend it to everyone, even those of us in happy relationships.

How to enter:

The contest is open until Monday, September 14th. Just leave a comment telling me about one of your favorite adventures as a single mom and consider yourself entered.

{ 3 trackbacks }

On Men & Dogs
September 10, 2009 at 6:12 am
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May 28, 2010 at 10:28 am
And then we break up. | Ms. Single Mama
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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki September 7, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Hi Ms. Single Mama,
Beautiful post.

My favourite adventure as a single mom would have to be our trip to Disney. I never thought it would happen, but it did and it was wonderful. There were a lot of minor bumps along the way, but getting through it all as a single mom really made for good adventure stories in the end.

-Nikki

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Bobbi Janay September 7, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I am not a single mom, but my favorite adventure is the day I backed up my 89′ honda accord and drove away from my childhood home. To begin my life as an adult 3 hours away from everything I had ever known. If I would have been to scared to do that I would not be where I am today and I would change a thing about my life.

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jen September 7, 2009 at 9:25 pm

One of my favourite adventures as a single mum is when we do something spontaneous together and we both immensely enjoy doing it, eg being a tourist in our own town.

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Amy September 7, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Too true, before 3 or 4 they do not remember or at least I don’t… Part of me is rather pissed off as I did some of my best parenting when they were babies (can you say PATIENCE?! 😉 All good though, they are now almost 12 (twin girls) and son 16 🙂 Great kids!

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ana September 7, 2009 at 10:02 pm

My 7-year-old son and I love being outdoors in our beautiful state and other spots we’ve been fortunate to visit. We try to schedule day adventures at least once a month here at home, and that’s meant great hikes, white water rafting, snowshoe trips and one tragic encounter (for me) that involved a snowboard and a lack of coordination, but I’ll never forget how brave he was to try sea kayaking and snorkeling with me in Maui at age 5, and loving every second of his underwater view once he got over being dropped off in the middle of a cove filled with sea turtles. It was amazing and so cool to do that with him.

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Robin September 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

I was just about to log-off FB and I saw your post … ironically, I had just finished writing a long note of my own just posted to FB on “Celebrating MY Anniversary”: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&suggest&note_id=145270023085#/notes.php?id=629012046 Anywho, my adventure from this weekend is one of my all-time favorites. We drove out to a Pow-wow on Long Island, enjoyed a great day of culture after which Reagan announced he was disappointed not to be an American child who could dance in the pow-wow … but that concern disappeared as we headed to a picnic on the beach. And since it was too windy and cold to actually swim, Reagan was having a blast on the empty beach running and falling and making sand angles. Then trying to out run the waves so they would catch him, but by the end he was wet head-to-toe and covered in sand. So in our stroll back towards the car, we raced along the water’s edge … and then I tip-toed into the water. He tells me, “come on … a little more, come out further” … and I hesitate a bit, trying to gather up my skirt from the salty, cold waves … and then he looks at me and says: Live a little, Sister! I am dumbfounded and as I give him a second look, the wave crashes into us and I am drenched. Forget being cold and wet, I am laughing hysterically — where does he come up with this stuff — live a little, sister?! Good grief, I think I and the kindergarten teacher he will meet on Wednesday are in for some trouble with a wise-cracker like that!

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Cammie September 7, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I have so many great memories as a single mom even some great ones when I was married. We would go on family vacations and my husband would always do his own thing (go figure). I would take the kids (all 3 of them) and we would be off on our own adventures. Whether we go to the beach, the pool, an amusement park, the movies or a cafe to grab a late night snack before bed, it really doesn’t matter we can always find something fun to do together. Married or single it has always been the same for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love spending time with my kids.

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Kristina September 7, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I booked a cabin on a whim. It was a “rustic” cabin at a state park that I went hiking in once. I did it 9 months in advance…. which is a miracle for me. LIttle did I know how much my life would change in that 9 months. I quit the high stress job, started attending massage therapy school and was scrounging for every dime to get us through. I protected that trip like a mama bear. It was an adventure for just my 4 year old daughter and I and I didn’t care if I had to sell a kidney to make it happen. Well, we did it and we had a great time. We hiked 3 miles under waterfalls and up and down hills. We made friends with fellow campers. We both did the happy dance when Mommy made a fire without a firestarter! We snuggled in our cabin and wondered if whatever was right outside was really a bear. I hope she remembers…

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Ms. Single Mama September 8, 2009 at 8:32 am

I’d say, definitely… she’ll remember. Sounds absolutely magnificent.

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tuesday September 8, 2009 at 5:16 am

When I was a single mom for a 6 month period, my best memory was how empowered I was taking care of these 3 kids on my own. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I admire single mothers even more now.

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starbright September 8, 2009 at 6:10 am

Yesterday I packed a picnic lunch, loaded my bike and the trail-a-bike on to the car, loaded myself and my two daughters, 8 and 5, into the car (yes, we are missing a bike, but wait), swung by their father’s house for the third bike (he wasn’t there but had left his shed unlocked for us, this gave me the opportunity to see that he still has his old bike, plus two shiny brand-new bikes, while I’m riding a 20-year-old hand-me-down from my sister, whatever, good for him), just managed to cram this third bike on the rack, and we were off to ride the bike paths around the Old Port. Oh wait, not quite, we had to make another swing back past our house because I’d forgotten the cotter pin of the trail-a-bike on the window ledge next to the garage door. We parked not far from the bike path, I unloaded everything from the car, I set it all up, I loaded myself down with said picnic lunch and said five-year-old-on-trail-a-bike, and off we went. This is the kind of thing that would have had my head exploding four years ago when I was first on my own, and it was trying but it was also just us, doing our thing. My two smiling, skipping little girls, watching their mummy be strong, and we were all happy and had a great time.

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Ms. Single Mama September 8, 2009 at 8:34 am

Love this because, yes, a few years ago this kind of thing would have flipped you the F out, but not anymore. We adapt. It does get easier.

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jlh September 8, 2009 at 6:12 am

my son and i went on a vacation alone to miami just recently
we flew in and didnt rent a car we took public transportation…buses, metro rail, to get around
it was quite an adventure and im glad we went. I think I spent too much time thinking/feeling too afraid to go ahead and live my life and experience things alone and i was sure missing out

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jes k. September 8, 2009 at 7:13 am

Some of my favorite memories are the simplest things. I’m very fortunate to have a huge support network, so since my husband died most of our major adventures have been to visit family and friends. I’ve had so much help, and I’m grateful for it, but it makes it that much more special when I just have an adventurous day alone with my son. We might go to the zoo, or the park, and maybe have lunch together – just us. Those are times I treasure.

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Lace Ann September 8, 2009 at 7:47 am

My fav time is when my 6 yr old son and I go to the lake to feed the ducks and run from the geese 🙂 Oh and we are huge fans of 3D movies. He looks so cute with those 3D glasses on!!

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Nicole September 8, 2009 at 8:00 am

My favourite adventure would have to be our cross-province road trip last summer.
We took the scenic route the whole way — stopping to enjoy the nature and the beautiful sights around us. We stopped at almost every lock along the rideau canal because the munchkin loves the water so much.
Then, just the two of us, we rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere and relaxed and enjoyed it for a week before continuing our journey to the capital and taking in all of the beautiful parliament buildings!

It doesn’t hurt that it was also on that trip that I’d reunited with someone who turns out (so it seems) to be my soulmate.
It’s one adventure I’ll never forget.

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Phoenix September 8, 2009 at 8:14 am

It was August, a Friday night in Columbus – the kind of late summer night where the air’s so hot and humid it feels like the inside a dog’s mouth. Spud was 4 and already in bed asleep when I decided we needed to get out of town. I packed the car with our camping gear and then pulled out a map, let my fingers search for somewhere we’d never been before. I landed on Burr Oak State Park. We could go down via Nelsonville where we could take a ride on a steam engine train. (Why I thought that was a good idea in such incredible heat can only be attributed to jello brain!)

Spud got up in the morning, I gave him the news over breakfast and we were off in the whirl of a 4 year old’s excitement and anticipation.Somewhere in the bowels and hollers of south eastern Ohio we got lost. Spud is quieter and quieter as we as I try to figure out where we are. (The KKK rally sign was a bit frightening for Mom!) Looking up from the map, I see Spud’s face. It’s on the very edge of a tilt in total crumple meltdown mode. His voice quivers as he puts words to his gravest concern: “Is our adventure over?!” “Are we back in our driveway?” I asked. His little voice, slightly stronger, says “no.” “Well then, our adventure isn’t over yet!” It was an instant facial and attitudinal transformation! He looked like Christmas morning!

That evening after the tent was pitched, dinner eaten and the sun had set we took a walk and tried to count the millions of stars. Later, after the campfire and s’mores, Spud lay on his sleeping bag. A true city kid who routinely sleeps through trains, sirens and helicopters buzzing, complained about how noisy it was with all the crickets chirpping and the frogs har-umphing! And then was instantly asleep!

It was, in Spud’s words, one of our “best-est” adventures ever! We swam in the lake that was as warm as bath water, sweated like pigs while we watched the grizzled old white-haired train guys shovel coal into the train’s hopper and ate the coldest ice cream ever made. Spud’s still a great adventurer, his favorite these days is hiking the Appalachian Trail with his two — puppies!

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Hope September 8, 2009 at 8:14 am

I love the post. Reminds me that everyday is an adventure; I may have already done an activity or outing before but now its my little girl and i and I get to see it a different way and honestly enjoy it more. My favorite adventure was packing the car and going on a mini vacation up north to spend time in my parents condo. It was cheap and we had a road trip, 2 pools and some lake time. What a wonderful two days!

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Laura September 8, 2009 at 8:22 am

I have a lot of memories, but my favorite is when I got to take my son to my favorite beach, for the first time, just me and him. He scream at the wave, OOOhhhh mommy wook… ( he was 2) and to this day he remembers “our spot” and I adore that.
I was a single mother for a while. I admire you for writing this blog. My husband has been around since my son was almost 3 ( i left his dad really early) andI love my husband, however, like you, to this day, I still feel the “need” for my son and I to get out, and have what I call a “single mommy son day” and we love it. Even if it’s just to go to the park or what ever. My husband understands, and he even takes my son out for a “guys day” out. It all works out, but as you say when you mesh two families together, it takes work, alot of work, and nothing is perfect.
You are such a strong person. I wish you luck and love on your journey with your son and “john bear”.

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Allison September 8, 2009 at 8:25 am

I was a married single mom for many years and my biggest & best adventure with my kids was when I became a full fledged single mom. I was never so relieved, relaxed & ready to have fun. I finally had the time to look at life through their eyes & enjoy!

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ARS September 8, 2009 at 8:40 am

My favorite single mom adventure would have to be sporting events. My daughter and I love football and baseball and have pretty good pro teams near by. We go whenever we can (whenever I get tickets from work) and no matter how many times we go, she always has the most awe struck look on her face looking around the huge stadium with all of the thousands of people.

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T September 8, 2009 at 8:48 am

Ditto Alaina. To everything you said.

Fave solo adventure?

Probably when I hauled my two daughters, 5 and 2 at the time, on a trip to Florida. I had arranged for a friend to take us to the airport and she ran late. Which made us run late. So there we were, the three of us running through the terminal so we wouldn’t miss our flight. Both of my girls had their own roller suitcases and as they pulled their bags behind them, the crowd in the terminal parted like the Red Sea. All I heard as I passed everyone was, “Aw! Look at them! Aren’t they SO cute?!?”

And we made it. BARELY. My heart was pounding and I was a sweaty mess but my girls were thrilled! We spent 4 days with my girlfriend and visited the beach and saw a live mermaid show. They still talk about that trip now. I hope they’ll always remember it.

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Candy September 8, 2009 at 8:51 am

My favorite adventures are when my son and I do something fun that I would never do without him. Like camping! Or fishing! Or going to a smash up derby. I take to him guy events and do male dominated activities with him so he doesn’t miss out on them just because he doesn’t have an involved father. He knows this and appreciates them even more because I am doing them with him. Sometimes, as the only Mom in the group. The best part is I actually enjoy myself. Maybe not the activity, putting worms on hooks, but being there with him and experiencing these things with him, not just hearing about them after. And no one but a Mom would remember to take a picture of that itty bitty fish before we throw it back. LOL

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kristen September 8, 2009 at 9:20 am

My son and I do everything and go everywhere together and have had plenty of adventures. I think the biggest one for me might be one coming up. I have a chance to visit family working in Costa Rica – and I might go on my own and leave my son with my mom. Funny, I couldn’t fathom this myself. I kept trying to figure out how to do it with him, until my mom just yesterday said “why don’t you go and I’ll come up to take care of N.” It was like the whole world opened up and collapsed at once. You mean I can go by myself? You mean N won’t be with me? What will I do without him? Weird combination of delighted and sad. We’ll see what happens.

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Kim September 8, 2009 at 9:42 am

Great post. Being a single mother, and KNOWING that you can travel and enjoy life was one thing I promised I was going to do with my son. One of our great adventures together was spending a weekend at Wisconsin Dells, WI. It was a five hour drive from our home. It wasn’t planned. I booked our hotel (with indoor/outdoor water slide) the night before we were to leave. We left thursday after I got off work. We had a cooler packed with food, clothes, and games. We were off! My son was four at the time. I was scared, excited, and ready! It was the best vacation I have ever had. We would get up go swimming, go do something outside the hotel come back take a nap venture out again. Then, come back swim so more, and crash! My son is now six and still talks about going to Wis. Dells. No plans, nothing set. Just him and I on a travel to enjoy life together.

I need to plan another trip soon. We just moved from IL to TX and I miss having all that time together and this post has made me realize how much I miss that feeling we had at the Dells.

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Single Mom Paying Off Debt September 8, 2009 at 9:49 am

Great post !! My favorite memory of my son was not such a great moment at the time. He was 3 and was upset with me for not allowing him to buy a toy at our local drug store (who hasn’t had this experience ?!?!) He was upset and walked down the aisle from me. When I went to grab him so I could check-out and head home, he screamed “I want me real mom”. I have never been more mortified in my life !!! Luckily this was my local drug store and most employees knew me (because we were in there so often).

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Mandy September 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

My favorite adventure was packing up my (then) 2 year old daughter, and moving 4 hours away from everything/everyone we knew and starting our lives over together just the two of us. When I brought her to our new home for the first time she was in awe of the hills and valleys, and everything about our beautiful new surroundings. We explored every inch of our new town, the hiking trails, the paths along the lake.
I think that because it was the first time I didn’t have to look over my shoulder worrying about her father or his extended family and the chaos that they always bring I was actually able to relax and really be in the moment.

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Rhonda September 8, 2009 at 11:06 am

I’m not a single Mom, but was very proud of myself when my 1st son was born and I realized that my adventures weren’t going to stop…they would include him. My husband worked weekends at the time, and any time I wanted to try something new, I packed him up and we went. I’m a more independent woman knowing I can handle it on my own, when need be.

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Sunny September 8, 2009 at 11:25 am

My favorite adventure was a spur of the moment trip to San Diego with Sebastian. 4 fun-filled days of the Zoo, SeaWorld and of course Legoland. At some point during the trip I stopped looked around and had to ask myself, “Am I crazy or gutsy for hauling my 4yo around a city I don’t know without the help of anyone else?… all…alone…” Conclusion: gutsy and proud of it.

I’ve even gotten a request for a repeat trip, must have left a good impression on him.

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Nancy September 8, 2009 at 12:02 pm

My favorite adventures has been just surviving our day to day life! Being a single Mom of 2 boys since right after my youngest was born is an adventure and my biggest accomplishment to date!
We have survived learning to walk, talk, going on the potty and now on to Kindergarten. I can’t wait for our next adventure whatever it may be.

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Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) September 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Hey I am already reading SOLEMATE…. and it’s fantastic by the way… but I had to leave a comment.

Great post… (once again) and my fave memory of me and the kiddos as a single mom would be any one of our vacations I have taken them on by myself since the big D. We always have a great time and they love Pigeon Forge TN so we end up there quite often… but our trips to Virginia Beach and North Carolina Beach haven’t be so bad either!!! And I takes TONS of photos … so it wouldn’t be a problem putting together one of those Shutterfly Photo Books!!

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Abbie Toy September 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm

My favorite adventure as a single mom has been this past summer as we were free for the first time and exploring our new “life!” We moved to my parents house out in the country, my little man was 3 yrs. old – we took many walks and talked about everything we saw around us…took pictures climbing trees, riding horses, swimming, picking flowers, etc. Everything was new and exciting…and we got to experience that together:) He is my heart and I can’t imagine one single day without him in it!
-Abbie Toy

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Michelle September 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Taking a week off with the punks for Spring Break and just being together. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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C September 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

My favorite adventure as a single mom… probably the night, a few weeks after moving out of my ex’s house, that I took my daughter (almost 3) to dinner and a movie. Just me and her. We ate grilled cheese sandwiched and went to see Wall-E. It was a nice time, and I think she felt like a big girl, out with her mama (and no baby brother there to distract me).

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wyliekat September 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Family happens very smoothly and easily when everyone is committed to it – you’ll be surprised, I think.

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2greatkids September 8, 2009 at 8:46 pm

what does this mean??

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Ali September 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

when t was a baby i was breastfeeding so told my company i could travel only if he came along…and they obliged. i have great memories of plopping him down in his little seat on the floor of some HUGE tech companies during a trip to the silicon valley. he never made a peep.

his behavior on those very early adventures gave me the bravery to take him to vermont, idaho, colorado, california and some other places alone before he was 3!

and alaina, even if B cannot recall those trips on his own volition, your photos and this blog will serve as a great reminder and he will take your memories to be his own…and with bursting pride.

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April September 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm

There’s many adventures I adore of the two of us: getting ice cream, dancing all around the house, but one tradition I’m trying to hold onto is us doing a 10k run every Labor Day, which we’ve done for the past 4 years now and he’s just shy of being 3 and a half! He was almost 6 months old for his first 10K. I’m so proud. This is something his father would NEVER take a part in, which is fine, that way it will always remain the two of us!

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Nicole B. September 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I’m not a single mom, or a mom at all, but I was raised by one for the first 10 years of my life, and honestly, the best “adventure” I can remember are ones that weren’t adventures at all. Some of my favorite memories of those days, before my stepdad, when it was just my mom, my brother, and me, are of us singing into kitchen utensils standing on living room furniture while watching MTV (back when they actually played music videos). See, my mom was young…very young, so we were able to have some really fun, crazy times together…in our living room, with only each other. Those are the best adventures I can remember…

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Sally September 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm

My favorite adventure to date, as a single mom was probably when I drove 9 hours with my kids down to Crater Lake, Oregon. it was our first big trip without anyone else. We went horseback riding, swimming and just had a fun time being together.

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Julie September 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Hey Alaina,
LOVE YOUR BLOG! My favorite memory of being a single mom is taking my boys camping. Anyone that knows me knows I am a city girl, and that is not my idea of fun! But it was my birthday, and I wanted to do something relatively cheap and memorable with them, and we still talk about it to this day! It rained the first morning for about 4-5 hours, and there is only so much you can do in a 3 man tent! 🙂 We ended up getting in the car and listening to music, and when the sun finally came out, we had a blast. I am thinking its about time to go again! ugh, all that work though! No one helped me! I was able to put up the tent, and put together the stove ,cook on it all of that! I even baited the hooks when we went fishing! But then again that’s probably why we didn’t catch anything!

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Helen September 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm

My favorite adventure is easy- it’s a 600 mile drive to visit a friend for a week. My friend was an online friend that caught me when i was reeling from marriage imploding. We spent hours on the phone, she talked me through panic attacks and crying jags. When my crying was done, the house sold and us secure in a new normal, she invited us down for a week. My ex had always told me I couldn’t never do a road trip alone. But you know what?

I did it. Me and 3 kids spent 9 hrs. driving to MO and 10 hrs driving back home. Unsure if we were on the right path or if Google maps had lead us astray. Finding cool little things along the way. Stopping for quick breaks and trying something new. Not only did I get to finally ‘meet’ my friend in person, I found my confidence as a single mom in those 19 hrs of driving.

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Kathryn September 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

My favorite adventure as a single mom was earlier this summer. I took my 2-year-old daughter to the Southeast Alaska State Fair – walked on to the ferry, camped out in the woods, and hung out at the fair for a long weekend. It was the first time we’d ever done something completely on our own; we didn’t go with friends or even run into any there. It was the best weekend we’ve had together, ever. It was so peaceful and carefree.

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Jenna Jean September 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Even though I know this is a mamasite, but I wish there was a way for single middle twenties girls to participate with memories, maybe a single lady option? I still enjoy and love reading this website even though I don’t plan on having children for like 50+ years.

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Speedgirl September 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm

My defining moment single-mom-adventure came 8 months after the divorce. My children were 18 months and 3 1/2 and my grandmother was dying. I rented a minivan and drove 10 hours to southern Illinois to see her. Just me and my two babies. I had to change my daughter’s diaper on the seat of the van because a gas station didn’t have a changing table. I couldn’t stop to go to the bathroom without bringing both of them in the stall with me. And after lunch at a Bob Evans somewhere in Indiana, my son open the door while I was peeing. The door that, due to a horrible floor plan, opened right to the back tables of the restaurant. I made that trip, and the return trip, by myself. I still had my hair, even though I lost a little bit of dignity.

I knew that if I could travel with two little ones without another adult to help, I could do anything.

Since then, I have made a point to travel with my kids. This summer we went to Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio. And we did something in each state, we didn’t just drive through. I saved tax refund and end-of-year-bonus money so that we could see a little bit more of the world. We examined St. Louis from the top of the Arch, and went to museums. We hit the Newport Aquarium and got to pet sharks. It was a great way to reconnect with my kids, and show them that, although people live in different places and have different types of houses and look different, we are still basically all the same!

I’d love to put our vacation into a photo book so that we can easily revisit the adventures we had on our trip!

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Lee Ann September 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Having been a single mother since the moment i found out I was pregnant, I’ve had tons of awesome experiences & memories with my daughter, Alexandra, now 2. I live on the Cincinnati, Ky border & the labor day weekend WEBN fireworks are a huge deal out here. This past Sunday night I got to experience them with my baby girl. Holding her on my lap & seeing the colors flash across her face brought tears to my eyes. She was yelling & clapping right along with the crowd & her excitement was contagious. What really got me though, was her holding my arms around her waist. Every time I’d move them she would grab my arms & pull them tighter around her. The fact that she knows she’s safe with her mommy means the world to me. I know I have a long journey ahead with her & so many more memories, but it’s the little things like this that really stick in my head.

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Alexis September 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Oh I just loved everything you just wrote, it’s how I feel too. I am trying to let a man into our lives, but it isn’t easy- I seem to have quite a wall up, or maybe it’s just the mama instinct protecting her cub? My favorite adventure with my little boy is going to take a bike ride when you know it may rain outside…then it does start to rain and we have to get soaked as we ride home. For some reason, this makes us both laugh and we just feel like we are on an adventure.

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arscuore September 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

OK, we’ve had a fabulous summer, and have been a single-parent family for about a year. I could pick a million happy moments, but recently we had a truly single-mom-with-kid moment at Ikea. Last weekend, we planned to head to our local ikea store (we just moved into our house, and I’m trying to pace myself…), and I had exactly the things I wanted in mind. I snagged a cart when we went in, and grabbed the things we needed as I went. When we got to the warehouse, I realized I would need another furniture (heavy-duty) cart, but only had myself to push both. Then I get the heavy-duty cart to the furniture, and realize I cannot physically get the furniture from the shelf to the cart (enter nice man offering to help – problem solved… er… sort of). Furniture on cart, 7 year old maneuvering cart behind me, while I have one hand on his cart to help him steer, and the other steering the heavy-duty cart with the heavy furniture. After checking out and getting to the car, I realize, “How am I going to get this all in my little Ford Focus?”… In the end, it worked out beautifully. My 7 year old proved he could help, and I proved (yet again) I don’t need anyone but him!! : )

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Anonymous September 8, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Here is a poem I wrote 2 nights ago and another I wrote a few months ago. My adventure has been and will be lifelong…finally learning to sail my own ship without feeling shameful or guilty..my 5 yr old and 20 month old are my passengers and single mama is at the helm!

SS Gemini
Like a boat come to rest
On the shore, after weathering too many storms
I sit alone and view the wreckage
There is beauty in what has been,
The fish that have been caught, the ones released
The rotting wood, akin to an aging body and a weary soul
In a storm, did the boaters claw for solid ground,
being tossed around, like my mind tosses around thoughts,
sometimes aimlessly, always tirelessly working
as hard as I can to figure out this life
I sigh, like the boat on the beach creaks under a strong wind
and think of memories, like barnacles, that gather on us over the years
I see a lighthouse far away and my mood at once changes
This is what I have been looking for…
some sort of navigation device for life
Only to discover it is in inside of me now
Guiding my way and ensuring my safety
So my wood may rot, and barnacles gather..
but never again will I be shipwrecked

GUILT

Although I sit here alone
It doesn’t feel much different
Than when we were together
I guess that says it all
I am sorry for what is has become
And what I have made of your life
But at some point I learned to stop
Backburnering my own needs for others
It is the hardest thing I have ever done
Sometimes I think the guilt of hurting you will kill me
The gravity of my decision hits me every day
But I try and look ahead, through my tears
To the life I was meant to lead
I wish you nothing but Godspeed

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2greatkids September 8, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Here is a poem I wrote 2 nights ago and another I wrote a few months ago. My adventure has been and will be lifelong…finally learning to sail my own ship without feeling shameful or guilty..my 5 yr old and 20 month old are my passengers and single mama is at the helm!

SS Gemini
Like a boat come to rest
On the shore, after weathering too many storms
I sit alone and view the wreckage
There is beauty in what has been,
The fish that have been caught, the ones released
The rotting wood, akin to an aging body and a weary soul
In a storm, did the boaters claw for solid ground,
being tossed around, like my mind tosses around thoughts,
sometimes aimlessly, always tirelessly working
as hard as I can to figure out this life
I sigh, like the boat on the beach creaks under a strong wind
and think of memories, like barnacles, that gather on us over the years
I see a lighthouse far away and my mood at once changes
This is what I have been looking for…
some sort of navigation device for life
Only to discover it is in inside of me now
Guiding my way and ensuring my safety
So my wood may rot, and barnacles gather..
but never again will I be shipwrecked

GUILT

Although I sit here alone
It doesn’t feel much different
Than when we were together
I guess that says it all
I am sorry for what is has become
And what I have made of your life
But at some point I learned to stop
Backburnering my own needs for others
It is the hardest thing I have ever done
Sometimes I think the guilt of hurting you will kill me
The gravity of my decision hits me every day
But I try and look ahead, through my tears
To the life I was meant to lead
I wish you nothing but Godspeed

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cibele September 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm

My mom remarried when I was 3, after by biological father just walked way… I don’t remember my life before him. He is my father, the only one I remember, the only one I love! Even though I don’t remember life without him, I o remember my happy early childhood!

This summer was filled with special moments with my baby girl. After coming out from a long winter of sadness and tears I felt alive again and strong enough to tell the world that I am a single mother, a proud single mother. One very special moment was to take her to the pool for the first time They joy on her face was just priceless. I waiting for a next adventure, I just bought our ticket to go to Brazil to visit our family after 5 years way from home
Those are vey cool prizes, I love both pictures and books!!!!!!!!!

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Star September 8, 2009 at 8:22 pm

It seems like just accomplishing every day tasks ends up being an adventure. Just one of my favorites today was creating a “superhero” cape out of thrift store shirts that were previously a “pirate” costume so that my three year old would wear it to the park instead of his Batman pajamas, followed by a trip to the grocery store where we sang and danced our way down the aisle before purchasing a new Batman toothbrush for the 3 year old that just had to have it (a child who has never even seen Batman) and a Winnie the Pooh one for the 1 year old (who has never even seen Winnie the Pooh.) Then, we made the exciting trip to the library to get some books out about Superheros. Yesterday, we made the trek adventure to a remote beach BBQ involving switching to a more off-road able vehicle (also switching two carseats into a two door car) and treking down a LONG but terribly interesting sand road with two kids and assorted beach/warmth paraphenalia to an all adult party that indulged my three year olds constant need to “roughhouse” and play ball related games. Our life is one big adventure!

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thisnewplace September 9, 2009 at 6:09 am

this is where I am with my guy, my kids remember a time before him, but before him, they didn’t know the affection and trust that could be there like we have in our household now, since we all live together. Their dad didn’t like it at first, but he sees how great the girls are doing and manages to accept it and agree that they are happy and things are good for all of us. It’s a good place to be and happy to read about your place!

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erin September 9, 2009 at 6:24 am

i love just climbing in the car with all three kids and going. same with airplane rides. people look at me crazy when they see me with all three by myself. they ask how i do it. i ask them if they expect me to stay at home for always?

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Cat September 9, 2009 at 8:17 am

My son and I went to the beach one morning a few weeks ago. There was no one else there that early (my son wakes up at 6am), and my boy and my dog crawled around the beach for over an hour, playing in tidal pools, digging in sand, and just sitting next to each other. I was so happy I thought my heart was going to burst.

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Lauren September 9, 2009 at 8:49 am

I am not (yet) a single mom as we are slowly moving into the process. This summer, I took my two boys to Cape Cod with my best friend and her family. We had a blast swimming in the (freezing) ocean, “treasure” hunting on the beach, cooking, playing, shopping, you name it. We had rainy weather and a few disastrous tantrums but we made it and have fun memories to share. I wanted them to feel life as it will be-me and them-and it was a success!

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Morgans Mom September 9, 2009 at 9:44 am

This post hit home for me today. Single Momma of a soon-to-be 3 year old little girl. The other day after a day just like the one before, one of routine (get up, drop Morgan at daycare, go to work, pick her up, come home) we walk in the door and she looks and smiles at me and says “just Me and you Mom, just Me and you.” I look at her with her eyes staring back at me with a smile that would cut through any bad day and melt. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be, (just me and you baby).
I hope to find a love with someone who travels in a boat of the same speed as ours, because that person is going to be one lucky duck!!

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Allison September 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I have a 3 year old Morgan too! 🙂

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Samantha September 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

“technically” speaking i am still a single mom with 2 kids… engaged (not married). but most days, we go it alone- just me and the kids. there’s lots of learning and growing up and things to do before we even talk about getting married (that’s why we’ve been engaged for almost 4 years… i’m scared to go there. and then end up here…). but almost all of my favorite trips and things we’ve done, have been just us. like when Kaden was just 13 months old, we went on a trip, with my parents, 800 miles away to see my grandma in the hospital. we were afraid it would be the last time she was able to see her great-grandson so we had to make that memory. thankfully it wasn’t the last time he’d see her, but it didn’t last long… she’s been gone 2 years (9/7) now. so thankful for the time he was able to spend with her. i so badly wish she was able to meet my daughter (who looks just like her!) but we’ll save that for another time and another place…
another favorite memory that was just created a few weeks ago was a road trip to Lake Michigan to visit one of my best friends since elementary school. she was home visiting her family and it was so great being able to share my little family with hers. we try to get together once a year and it was a fabulous time taking the kids to play at the sandy beach and crashing in the waves of COLD Lake Michigan instead of waiting until Christmas to see her. we picked blackberries on their farm, Kaden got to ride the 4-wheeler and jump on the trampoline, we stopped and got Red Haven peaches before we headed out of town. it was an awesome trip, just me and my kiddos! so glad i’m able to take time for those things, even if they won’t remember these memories… i always will.
this post was very inspiring Ms. Single-ish Mama 🙂 i love reading your writing. you and your handsome little Benjamin deserve all the best this world has to offer. much love <3

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Irene September 9, 2009 at 10:31 am

I’ve been a single mom since I was pregnant, my daughter is almost 11 months. My favorite adventure with her is flying to Florida to visit my family and go to the beach. She is a great traveler and we had a blast. We also go to the pool and take nature walks together. She is mesmorized by the trees and the birds. Can’t wait to take her on more adventures as she gets older! I just started dating and met a really nice guy…definitely finding it hard to let my wall down, and the thought of someday having someone else with us on our adventures makes me feel both excited and sad.

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Lesha September 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

Oh, that would definitely be my first single mom vacation! A week at the beach with G, and my family, without a negative influence to bring any part of it down. We road a bike together, watched the ocean, buried cars in the sand, ate tons of wonderful food and swam so much. It was one of those moments where you go “This is how my life should have been from the beginning, but I’m getting there now!”

I’m looking forward to more of those adventures.
And to a picture book. I finally accumulated enough Pampers points to redeem for one and they discontinued it on me! Ah man! *grin*

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Jody F. September 9, 2009 at 11:40 am

A trip to the lake cottage. It’s just such a different world there for us. Life moves a little slower.

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Karen September 9, 2009 at 11:47 am

My most meaningful moment as a single mom started two years ago. I decided to get out of an unhealthy relationship with my ex. So my kids and I got on a plane and flew across country by ourselves. Four hour flight with a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old, we each took turns crying on that flight. But it was the best decision I’ve ever made. That decision led me to where I am today. I just married my own version of a “john bear” on 07/08/09 and reading what you wrote about my kids not knowing a time when my husband wasn’t in their lives really struck a chord with me. Sure, starting a new life with new memories will be scary but I’ve been through some scary stuff and survived. Finding someone that loves you is the easy part. Finding someone that loves your kids and that your kids love in return…they are a keeper. Love your blog.

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Hanna September 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

Hey girl. I think that photo of your red shoes and Benjamin looking down a manhole should be the cover of your book 🙂 Still so exciting to see your life taking off in such awesome ways!

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Abby Carter September 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm

My best adventure with my kids was a trip to Paris last year. Using a child’s book (Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Cristina Bjork, Lena Anderson, and Joan Sandin) that I had given my daughter when she was three, we followed the title character’s trip to Paris and then to Giverney to visit Monet’s garden. We stayed in the same hotel, visited the same museum and even brought a picnic to Giverney just the way Linnea did. We all had a wonderful time. This year my daughter went to art camp and did a series of paintings in the style of Monet. Its a trip that will never be forgotten by any of us.

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Melanie September 9, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Wow — you have such amazing and endearing stories to tell, Alaina. You’re right, nothing is perfect. But I hope you are counting your lucky stars. Right now you are truly blessed and highly favored.

On to my contest entry …

Picture this — Third pregnancy. Due Date quickly approaching. Twins this time. Legally separated and in the midst of a bitter divorce.

Now picture this — Two amniotic sacs breaking at once. Puddling and gushing involuntarily. Intense contractions. 8-yr-old and a 10-yr-old poised like statues with eyes glazed over in frozen stares.

What happened next — Quick trip to the hospital. Emergency c-section. Two more beautiful girls. Grand total of four.

That was the most memorable event in my life as a single mom. Eighteen years later, I’m still a single mom with four of the most talented, bright, and resourceful young women you’d ever want to meet!

Melanie Kissell
P.S. The twins just started college. Do ya think it’s time to start dating again??!

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Charissa September 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I think my favorite adventure to date is actually what’s been happening over the past month. My 1 1/2 year old daughter and I moved into our first apartment mid August, an hour away from my mother (who we’d been living with.) We’ve been shopping the flea markets and paging through hundreds of freecycle posts to decorate and fill our space with fun, funky things. My favorite find was last weekend (a drummer carved out of wood). The lady at the yard sale told me that her grandmother brought it home from Japan. We hung it on the wall in our kitchen. I also started graduate school last Monday. It’s a scary thing, taking on all that student loan debt…but I’m hoping we’ll come out the otherside next spring with a killer job.

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Andrea September 9, 2009 at 7:07 pm

“Memories of the moments when we both forgot where we were or when we just took our time because we didn’t have anywhere else to be.”
You so touched me with this, I feel like that so many times, it doesn´t matter if it is lunch time in the park or if it is going to rain, we don´t have to give explanations to anyone. It´s nice this freedom but sometimes it´s a big empty hole. I´m so in that stage now, tantrums included.
Right know my kid doesn´t want to eat, to sleep or anything, so I quit for today and I am writing this and checking my mails out while he plays on the floor all by himself… xoxo

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Maria September 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

We have adventures together every day, but I think my favorite so far has been when we go on little walks around my new university campus to see the ducks and geese and squirrells. We’re truly on our own here in a new province, with just a few friends within an hour’s drive. It’s so fun to see my daughter, nearly 14 months old, making friends. She just recently learned the sign for “friend” and signs it after meeting little children from our building, and not to mention the birds and squirrels that are around here so much.

We’re actually planning a new adventure — a road trip to the new Yankee Stadium!!

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karen September 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm

My favorite adventure was moving to TX from FL. We drove, stayed at a hotel overnight and ate out many times. Both girls we amazingly good and we had a blast.
🙂

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Shonda September 10, 2009 at 10:40 am

My adventure with my daughter was also a way to prove to myself that I could do it alone. I took her ice-fishing when she was about 12 years old. We set up the portable ice house, started the propane heater, drilled the holes with the ice auger and proceeded to catch more than 50 perch in a few hours time! We had a great, great day together, and my daughter still talks about it now, years later.

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chrissy September 10, 2009 at 11:19 am

i LOVE your blog. I even got your ebook yesterday. I have been trying to win it for quite sometime, but a friend purchased it for me because he was sick of me talking about it. Your stories are so sweet.

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Stefanie September 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Trips to the forest area always our best adventures.

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Norma September 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

One of the many memorable moments was graduating nursing school. Mak was only 2 but she was soooo proud her Mommy was a nurse. And I was soooo proud because I had managed to PASS and FINISH nursing school being a single mom with no help or support from “The Other”. I did it on my own for me and Mak. Awesome!!!

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mssinglemama September 12, 2009 at 3:34 pm

So beautiful.

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Alexis D. September 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm

I love your blog so much! First time commenting – want to have a chance at a prize. 🙂 I found it when I was going through a rough patch, being a single mom most of my son’s life (he’s almost 4), and coming here reminds me that I’m not the only one doing this! Biggest adventure(s) with my son were moving to 1600 miles to live with my parents when he was 6 weeks old (that was an adventure with Grandma, me, new baby, 2 cats, and my honda civic piled with stuff). Then there was moving back to my home state almost 2 1/2 years later – just with me and him driving the 1600 miles. Sometimes I wonder how we’ve made it this far!

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mssinglemama September 12, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Wow. Now, that is amazing.

Keep it up, Lady and comment more often for crying out loud! ; )

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BK Mom September 11, 2009 at 7:44 am

my most recent memory is a trip my 7 yr old and I took this past winter to Costa Rica, just the 2 of us. We arrived in the capital, and flew in a 10-seater to an isolated peninsula, in the middle of nowhere, where we stayed right on a volcanic sand beach. I only became anxiouse shortly before we left, as I realized that he would be with JUST ME for all that time, and unsure whether or not there would be other kids around. As it turns out, there were only four other adults staying in the beachfront bungalows on an empty, unspoiled beach, and my son managed to charm the pants off everyone and make a memorable impression. We were woken up in the mornings by 4 different types of monkeys and scarlet macaws, and had the most amazing, relaxing time in this tropical, untouched paradise…no whining, complaining, etc. It was magical!

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Deborah September 12, 2009 at 6:41 am

For me, it was my oldest Daughters 3rd Birthday. we were all alone. I was newly single and didnt know many people as I had wrapped my entire world around my Ex.
One of my cousins from So CA (I was in Sac)0 called and asked if he and his wife could hosts my daughters bday at their house to insure she wasnt alone.
It was great! His wife made her a Barbie cake and they even got her a bicycle for a gift. Several neighborhood children also came over to celebrate.
To see the look on her face I will never forget it.
I will also never forget how loved that made me feel.

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Liseanne September 12, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Although I didn’t know it at the time (because I was scared to death), my favorite adventure as a single mom was when I traveled to Ethiopia to get my son. It was everything wrapped into one…. I met my son, became a single mom, and my life was forever changed. I’m still scared to death, of course, but I can’t believe the memories I already have in just 6 short months. I can’t wait to see what the years to come will bring…..

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Alyssa September 13, 2009 at 7:45 pm

my favorite adventures are trips to my daughter’s happy place, otherwise known as the local aquarium. she’s 2 and the look of amazement on her face everytime we go there is priceless.

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Rebecca September 14, 2009 at 8:06 am

My favorite adventure so far was our trip to Disney World. Just the two of us, no one else around (except the millions of other people there). I wouldn’t trade that trip for the world 🙂
http://thingsthathappentomeandnotyou.blogspot.com/2009/08/my-happy-place.html

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Cat May 30, 2010 at 2:06 am

Amazing post. My son is 21 months old, and I’m in my first “serious” relationship since my marriage ended while I was pregnant. The thought that this could go somewhere and dramatically alter who we are as a family… and that my son might not ever remember it happened- mind-boggling. Not bad, not negative, just a lot to process. Thanks for writing about your experiences!

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