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Once a Fortress, Always a Fortress

3 May

Certainty and security are never a commodity in a single mother’s life. Love and fatigue are our main resources. We live for our ability to love our children and the people who love them (and us, if possible), we love them endlessly. We strive, thanks to daily schedules that bring us to the end of the day breathless, and with an empty mind and weary heart. It is easy to receive our kindness, for we are full of empathy and compassion for anyone who has endured hardship. It is even possible to win our love. We’re used to caring for others. But it is nearly impossible to love us, fully. And even more difficult to gain our trust.

This is why, the single mother, is forever single. This sounds tragic, and maybe it is in a sense. But I don’t necessarily mean for it to be. We aren’t alone. We are surrounded by friends, family, and lovers, who care for us, help us out, listen to us, pick our little ones up from school if we’re tied up, or make love to us quietly, in the dark, after bed time. We have each other – other moms like us, who share the impossible bond of lonely togetherness, that I think only we can truly comprehend. And still, we are single. Even with boyfriends, or live-in partners. Even if we marry again.

The single mother’s heart is a fortress. It’s been penetrated and broken before, and it shall never be broken again. We will never again allow heartbreak to take us by surprise. We are prepared for any scenario, and we anticipate the worst. (We know that He is going to leave us, and we leave Him first.)

So in order to love us, to stick by us, it takes more than romance, more than companionship, more than terrific sex, more than love, more than trust. It takes endurance. It takes stubbornness. It takes a man who can bear never being given the benefit of the doubt. It takes a man who can tolerate the constant measuring and sizing up, the fear, the doubts, the half-truths, the “I love you – but”s. It takes a man who loves our hearts, along with the brick walls that surround them, walls made strong by the powerful forces of abandonment and betrayal.

It takes a man who has the patience to take apart that wall, slowly, carefully, not tearing it down, but cautiously dismantling it, one brick at a time, knowing that there is a chance that it will grow back in, like like a lizard’s tail, but wanting enough to try, hoping enough to succeed.

I am lucky to have found such a man.

And though, from time to time, I make an honest attempt to push him away, he surprises me with his acceptance of me and my story, and his willingness to take part in it.

 

 

 

A Meaningful Narrative – The Challenges and Pleasures of Secular Parenting

3 Apr

My son is nearing four now, what an incredible age! When allowed to freely explore, ask questions, and wonder about life – this is an age of outstanding discoveries, of vital first impressions of the world, of discovering who is trustworthy, what is permitted, where one can go and where doors are shut.

I have two strong guidelines in my parenting, that have been guiding me from the day I brought my Boy back home from the hospital. Be authentic. Tell the truth. There is a lot more of course. I try to listen to him, I mean really listen, as much as I can. I try to set boundaries where they are necessary, I try to support his urges to be independent and guide him and be supportive, and not lose my patience and maintain composure, even if he throws a fit because his sunny-side-up is leaking and now he won’t eat it.

But I honestly believe, if I’m authentic, if Mom-Me, is not an entirely different person from Professional-Me, and Intellectual-Me, and Friend-Me, and Lover-Me, then I’m doing something right. So I tell my son about my day when I come back from school. He listens, and then he tells me about his day at preschool. I joke around with him, because I can be silly like that sometimes. I say I’m sorry when I make a mistake. And I tell him the truth, or a version of the truth that he can take in, when he asks me the big questions, when he wants to know how life begins and what happens when it ends.

Yes, he’s not even four yet. But my son has already asked if everyone dies, and if I’ll die one day. I couldn’t tell him some ridiculous story. A part of me wanted to go with the heaven-story. It’s a good one, really. It comforted me when I was younger. But I didn’t. I said we live forever in the hearts of those who love us. It’s a good narrative. It’s as close as I could get to where I really am vs the death thing. He accepted my narrative the way only four-year-olds can, absorbing it, inscribing it into his own narrative, into the truths that he will now grow up with.

Now he knows, because he asked and I answered, that the male and female bodies fit together perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle, that the sperm and the egg yearn to unite and form a baby. That they have to wait for love, because only when a man and a woman love one another, can they unite to form life. He knows that I think it’s a miracle. And so he finds if miraculous as well. And it is, isn’t it? He is too young to feel confused about it. Too young to be weirded out. The narrative I chose to deliver has now become one more truth that he will measure future stories about sex, love and child bearing against.

“How does the baby come out?” He asked.

“A woman body is amazing,” I said with wonder. “It widens for the baby to come out from between her legs. They in narrows again.”

“Really? It can do that?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Isn’t it amazing?”

 

 

 

Timeline of Joys and Sorrows

21 Nov

September 2011: Preggers. Feels like I’ve been waiting for this all my life. Feels like he’s been dreading this all his life.

December 2011: He goes away for 3 months. Turns out I can do stuff on my own.

March 2012: He returns to find that I have evolved into a giantess, no longer vomiting every two seconds, and about 20+ kilos heavier.

June 2012: Beautiful, healthy son is born.

September 2012: We have the talk.

October 2012: He leaves. I grieve.

December 2012: I start to live again.

January 2013: I try to love again.

March 2013: M is sick. It’s going to be alright.

June 2013: Promotion!

June 2013: ONE!

July 2013: Besties in Berlin! It’s going to be alright.

July 2013: Trying and failing to get back together.

August 2013: Trying and failing to find a new home.

September 2013: Staying put. M is still sick. Love is gone. Everything sucks.

March 2014: Hope for a new start.

April 2014: A new home. A new start. Dating again.

June 2014: TWO!

June 2014: Coping. Empowered. Life is complicated, I can take it.

September 2014: I can’t take it.

October 2014: I have to take it.

November 2014: Low point. Depression. Unkind to myself.

November 2014: I tell M about a good first date with D. I try to keep it together.

December 2014: Limbo.

January 2015: Unspeakable pain.

February 2015: Unspeakable pain.

March 2015: I slowly begin to reclaim my life.

April 2015: I celebrate a birthday, dramatically, with my best friends, with my boyfriend.

May 2015: Girls gone wild memorial. Besties in Santorini, remembering M.

June 2015: THREE!

June 2015: Officially divorced at last.

July 2015: A trip to Barcelona with D.

July 2015: Adorably insane Charlie joins our family, chewing and biting and acting crazy 90% percent of the time, being the best dog in the world the other 10%.

September 2015: OK. We’ll keep you. Just please stop biting.

September 2015: Let’s introduce our kids.

October 2015: Playing family.

November 2015: Celebrating a year together. How lucky I am to have love in my life. Hope is renewed for a future of togetherness.

Fearing January.

Knowing I’ll make it through January.

A Nightly Chat

30 Sep

“I wanted to tell you something earlier, but I didn’t want to make you laugh while you were… you know. Safety first.”

I laugh. “Well?”

“This might sound weird, but I mean it.”

“OK, come on. Out with it.”

“Well, it’s just that you really put you heart into that blowjob.”

“What the fuck? D?”

“No, I’m not saying it to be funny. Well, maybe a little. But I mean, when you do that, it feels like you’re not just doing it, you’re really.. well… You put your heart into it. Sorry, I’ve no other words to describe it. And it’s amazing, in case that part wasn’t clear.”

“Well, thanks babe. I do put my heart into it.”

“I do too. You know, when you let me do that to you.”

“Yeah, I can tell.” I put my head on his chest. “You know that’s why we’re so good at this.”

“We’re amazing.”

“If only there were sexual Olympic games. We’d totally score high.”

“There are actually.”

“No there aren’t!”

“Yes, there are. You want to go?”

“What? How? Explain to me how that works.”

“Well, you have a bunch of girls, blowing a bunch of guys, and there’s a judge…”

“You’re such an idiot.”

“And the first one who comes – ”

“Now just wait a minute. No. That makes no sense. The first one who comes? That’s not necessarily the best one! You could totally have a quick mediocre orgasm.”

“Hmm… Well, maybe they attach electrodes to your head or something to measure your level of pleasure.”

“Now, that makes more sense.”

We lay there quietly.

“I like laying here in bed with you, talking nonsense.”

“Me too.”

“I like being with you, hanging out, just talking,”

“I like that too babe.”

“And I like fucking you.”

“What a coincidence. So do I.”

“You do, huh?” He smiles. “So which do you like more?”

“What do you mean?”

“Talking, or fucking?”

“Is that a real question?” He laughs. I roll my eyes. “I like the whole package, OK?”

“Well, it’s a pretty awesome package.” He holds me. Just go to I love you I think to myself.

“Hey, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Every Day is a Different Kind of I Miss You

24 Jul

I haven’t written in a while. Not really sure why, I just wasn’t in the mood and decided not to force it until the moment returned when I felt that I wanted to write.

A lot has happened. I’ve finished the school year, with the end of the year show and goodbyes to my 6th graders, who will start Junior High in September. I received a shitload of validation, and a few gifts. I got time off – summer vacation. It got fucking hot and my AC began working overtime.

I went to Barcelona with D and spent 4 intensive days together. I learned a lot about us and where I wanted us to go. I confronted D about wanting to take our relationship to the next level: Meeting the kids. I listened as he explained why he wasn’t ready. I adopted a dog and learned what it is to truly love your pet. I had a huge fight with BD about custody stuff. I helped E pick out curtains for her new place to which she is moving with her husband and son, two hours drive away, after having been neighbors for the last 18 months.

Finally, this morning, I cleared out The Drawer. The one where all my old jewelry and makeup and knickknacks are. I found my wedding band, and engagement ring, and all those earrings M had bought me at various fairs she’d happened to stop by throughout the 15 years in which we were friends.

A lot of stuff happened – and she was gone the whole time. She was gone when I made her cinnamon pancakes and they came out perfect and my son ate four. She was gone when I bought “happy pills” for our friends in Barcelona. She was gone when I ate the most delicious octopus salad in the world last night.

Every time something happens to me, she still gone. She is always gone, and she will be gone forever. I can’t tell her about BD being an idiot. I miss her getting angry at him and cursing. I can’t introduce her to Charlie, our dog. She would have loved him. She would have given him a silly nickname. She would have mentioned him and asked about him every time we’d speak, completely acknowledging that he is a part of our family now.

I can’t consult with her about D and what I should do. I bet she would have thought I should break up with him, and I’d discredit her opinion, maybe even get offended and refrain from telling her stuff about him, until a couple of months later when I’d tell her how I felt and then we’d be OK.

No more dirty chai lattes in funny mugs. No more arguments or offences. No more compassion and patient, silent listening. No more funny faces to cheer me up when I’m down. I could cry now because it’s unfair she died, but I feel like I’m done with the WHY???? Now it’s just a quiet kind of sadness. A sort of constant regret. I regret that she’s gone. I wish I had been closer to her. I wish I’d made more time to be with her, especially after she became sick. I wish I could tell her how fucking horribly absent she is from my life.

 

 

Itineraries, Sexy Rendezvous and Maintaining Sanity

9 May

Today is a down day, how surprising, as it’s a Saturday and I am home alone with no itinerary. I woke up at ten and it took me a full hour to get out of bed. Finally I was up, getting some work done in my pajamas. I had some coffee, but I only remembered to eat when I felt like I was going to faint. You’d think I’d have this down by now. I just don’t know how to be alone anymore.

On a different front, things are going pretty well with D. We seem to have survived my meltdown last Saturday, and our nearly six month old relationship is slowly evolving, two steps forward, one step back. Each in turn pushing forward, and pulling away. It’s like a series of contractions, only less painful and more pleasurable. I clutch and he releases, I release my grip and he tightens his. I’m desperate, he’s patient, I’m easy, and I can sense his need.

He’s working this weekend and again we’re finding little loopholes in our schedules to see each other. It’s kind of exciting, these hastened lunch breaks and naked afternoon rendezvous. Yesterday, on his way to work, he dropped by for an hour, and I was waiting for him in a tight sheer spaghetti strap top, and a skirt that I never wear without tights, since it’s way too short to be appropriate. But this time I passed on the tights, and underwear too for that matter.

It was one of the sexiest encounters I’ve had with him, or with anyone. He was beside himself with excitement, and something more, a kid of gratitude that you can only understand if you’ve been in a sexless relationship for a long time, especially in one that made you feel emasculated. There he was, showing me in every way that he could not resist me, his body warm, built just the right amount, his biceps streching his Tshirt only slightly, his face unshaven, his bristles prickly as he kissed my shoulders and neck.  “I missed you, zalataya.” (That’s my new nickname) “A lot.”

Minutes later he was naked and on top of me, my skirt rolled up, his arm firm around my neck and his other hand grabbing me by my waist. He moved me, positioned me, and repositioned me, and I loved him in control, molding our bodies like an artist. There’s a moment during sex when my mind goes foggy, and even if I tried I wouldn’t be able to think of anything. All systems shut down. I love that moment.

It was such good sex, that when we were done, I kissed him and said thank you. That made him crack up and he said, “I’m crazy about you.” and after a pause he added, “A lot”. And that made me laugh. We lay there in bed, holding each other and smiling to ourselves, and I wanted to hashtag the moment #Feeling blessed motherfuckers.   

Yesterday was an up day. I was at work in the morning, then running errands, meeting D, family dinner, and meeting up with J for a beer later that evening. All time accounted for. No time to overthink my life or sink into melancholia.

I really should stick to what I know.

Sexy Rendevous & Really Weird Dream

28 Mar

D was called in for reserve, and even though we sometimes do not see each other for a full week, this time, since he was physically far away, it felt like forever. When he was unexpectedly released for a night in his own bed, we mutually decided on a night in my own bed, even though it was against our new rule of no sleepovers when my Boy is home. I needed to see him, so I made weak rationalizations in my head. He hadn’t had bad dreams in over a week now. And he’d had a long day, he would be too tired to get up in the middle of the night and come into my room.

A knock on the door and then a bone crushing embrace that lasted a full minute, and then his lips on my neck, and in my hair and on my mouth, soft, slippery and comforting. It was the best I had felt in a while. I missed you, he said, I had missed him too. Missed his mouth, and his neck, and his shoulders, and his biceps. Missed pulling his shirt off and feeling his warm skin against mine. Within minutes, we were making out on my sofa like a coupe of teenagers, fingers caressing and groping, tongues tasting, hips dancing. And then we moved into my bedroom, where we allowed ourselves more freedom, to explore each other’s bodies with our own, to turn off lights and thoughts and just be, easing in from a jumble of arms and legs and breasts, and hips, into rythmic movement, growing steadily deeper and faster, until that magnificent moment of complete oblivion, in which nothing has place, except the intense sensation of his final thrust and my legs wrapped around him, and my head tilted back as I muffle a groan.

But that night, back in our clothes, sleeping deeply, facing different directions, our legs still tangled like the roots of an ancient tree, I awoke abruptly to see his little face in the dark, “I can’t sleep”. Thank god for his little body, his head barely peering over the edge of the mattress. The darkness. D tucked away under the comforter. I got up immediately and took my Boy back to bed, patting his back for a full twenty minutes, which felt like forever, until he was breathing heavily again.

“Do you want me to leave?”

“No. It’s OK.”

D held me as a made an honest effort to go back to sleep. Finally, there he was, my son. It was morning, the sun beamed through the open shades and he was asking me, “who’s this, mom?” With surprise and sleepiness I woke D up. I said, “This is D. He’s a friend.” And I put my boy with a bowl of cereal in front of the TV. My sister was suddenly there. And she was playing with him, as the doorbell rang. Shit. Must be BD and his new girlfriend here to pick up my boy. Quick, D, out the back door.

They came in, smug, and went straight to the Boy’s room to pack an overnight bag for him. A couple of minutes later, it was too quiet in his room, as it often is with young children, and I felt worried, that something was wrong. I opened the door and found them: D, BD and new girlfriend, and they were getting dressed. When I confronted them, they admitted to having had a threesome, right there in my child’s bedroom. What the fuck?? I was out of my mind with rage, but all they did was shrug it off. D even said I was making a big deal out of nothing. I remember thinking miserably, how gullible I was, how I allowed someone, once again, to become close to me, and hurt me so terribly.

At 5 am the alarm rang, a few minutes after I had woken up. D’s arms were around me again, consoling me after I’d nudged him and whispered “bad dream”. When I told him about it he laughed and quoted the Lonely Island singing It’s not gay if it’s in a threeway. Then he did an Eddie Murphy impression and said, “You know what? Yeah. I fucked her. OK? I fucked her. But I made love to you.” We laughed it off, and he went back to his reserve, and I woke my son up with oatmeal and smiles, awaiting the weekend, when we’d have the house to ourselves, making new promises to avoid sleepovers on weeknights, at least until D’s called in for reserve again.