Between playing with our shadows, Benjamin squeezes my hand as we walk in the alley behind our little apartment.
We are relieved it’s finally Spring, so we can get back outside every day – into our alley, the alley that leads us on all of our walking adventures. Being outside is an antidote to feeling completely cramped in our apartment.
I can’t figure it out. But our apartment seems to be growing smaller every day. Could it be because Benjamin is growing, literally growing. Whatever the reason, I feel like Alice. And I can tell you, outgrowing your space (imagined or not) is not a comfortable feeling.
There was plenty of room on the hot summer day three years ago when we first moved in. I hadn’t been able to find a spot in the packed truck for my cowboy hat so I had slapped it on my head before jumping into the driver’s seat of the massive U-Haul. Everything I owned had been in storage for a year while I lived at my mom’s with newborn Benjamin, trying to re-build my career and my finances after leaving my ex-husband.
When I had told him I was leaving, he refused to leave our apartment. So I had to leave, to pack up everything and move in with my mother. Anything I couldn’t fit in our two rooms at her place would have to go into a cold, dark storage shed.
“Don’t worry,” Mom told me into the phone as I was sobbing at the thought, “You’ll forget you had all of this stuff and then when you unpack it, you’ll be in your new place, and it will feel like it’s all new. It will be one of the best days of your life.”
Her words had echoed over that year, something to hang on to – this idea of actually surviving this mess and finding our own place. And now it was happening. Now as I drove this stinky U-Haul with music blaring, a high school buddy who needed a lift in the passenger seat and the pleasant sound of all of my stuff, my forgotten possessions now found, bouncing around in the back of the truck.
I had left Benjamin behind with his sitter, giving me one afternoon, one night and one morning to unpack as much as I could. The next day when she brought him through the front door he toddled into the living room and then started squealing with excitement. He was only 17-months-old, but he knew. He knew this was our place, just ours.
It didn’t take us long to discover the alley behind our apartment. At first I would have to carry Benjamin most of the way to the park or the coffee shop, then I’d watch him peddle there on his tricycle, next his bike and now we are walking – side by side. He is usually running ahead of me, teasing me and stopping only at a street crossing. But today he is holding my hand, listening and talking.
Maybe because we are headed to somewhere absolutely magical – we are heading to John’s apartment. We are going to hang out with a man we have both fallen deeply and madly in love with. I have proclaimed on this blog for quite some time that we don’t need men, we only want them. This is true for material reasons. We don’t need men to survive or even to thrive. But I have found that I do need John.
I need him to balance my ferocious passion with calm.
I need him to guide me as I create this business on my own, his counsel is the only one I trust with everything.
I need him because he is my true love, my best friend.
I want him for a million other reasons.
And I also need and want this blog. I am not going to quit writing.
I completely changed my mind. But I am going to go back through the archives and delete quite a bit. (So get your fill now before it’s all gone.) I am also going to give Ms. Single Mama.com a complete make over. Need to clean this place up in more ways than one.
I didn’t do this to tease all of you, as my haters will quickly say, I just changed my mind. Which, if you ask John Bear, I do a lot. I just can’t let go yet. And I can’t let fear be one of the reasons why. Your comments, your outpouring of e-mails and support also nudged me in this direction.
Two comments were particularly striking and they were two of dozens from non single moms.
I hope that you trust that you’ve raised a son that is an independent thinker, that knows who he is and that he knows who is his Mama is and what’s she done for him. Even the cruelest and most disgusting words by strangers won’t influence him when he’s old enough to Google. It just won’t happen… you didn’t raise your son that way.
And then Bear wrote:
I’m glad that you’re moving to another stage; if you’ve outgrown this blog, so be it and best wishes for the next one.
I do think there’s something fundamental about this one that you might have overlooked, though: this blog, like most others, not only serves its primary purpose (to disseminate wisdom or knowledge on a particular topic) but serves as a Rorschach test for its readers. The patterns we see in your life as you tell it reflect our own experiences; our responses tell you more about us than they do about you. And your comment section paints a picture of a pretty fascinating world. Many people will sign in just to send along random kind thoughts. A lot of people have been hurt, some in truly devastating ways. Many are achingly lonely, and some have experienced grievous loss. But, crucially, very very few have abandoned hope. And the number who sign in just to be anonymously hurtful is actually relatively small.
I realize it’s difficult to discount that last group, especially when safety is an issue. But I’d offer, as something to consider over the course of the next year, the thought that the snapshot of the world that you’ve captured here might actually not be such a bad thing, on the whole, to pass along to your son.
So, I am staying – for now. For a long now. And when I do decide to permanently throw in the towel on Ms. Single Mama, there will be no fear involved.
Thanks for all of you for being patient. I hope you stick around for my makeover.
Definitely time for a new chapter.