The past couple of weeks have been trying ones around these parts. First, there was a change in my babysitter situation that had me scrambling to find a sitter to pick Aiden up from school and take him home four days out of the week. Then, I got sick. Then, Aiden got sick. Then, Hurricane Sandy came and left NYC (and parts of NJ) upside down and in shambles. We lost electricity, but only for a time and just got back heat and hot water yesterday.
Needless to say, it's been a hectic two weeks.
The babysitting thing I'm used to. Finding a sitter that you trust to care for your child, often on short notice, comes with the territory of motherhood.
Aiden being sick, I could handle. He's been sick before. (Nothing too serious, thankfully.) And I've dropped everything to nurse the kid back to health.
But, me being sick? And a hurricane? Back-to-back?
Ish just got real.
Experiencing those two things one after the other really was a test of my strength and will power. It really showed me what this delicious single momma is made of.
At one point when I was sick, lying on the couch all day, and delegating responsibility to Aiden ("Go get a bowl from the dish rack, get the box of cereal from the counter, and make yourself a snack." or "Yep... you can watch another movie."), I wished for a minute (or two) that I had someone else to pass him off to. Someone else to carry the burden while I recovered. Someone else to take care of the to-do list that was piling up.
Finally, I called in for reinforcements. I hit up my girl who lives on the other side of the borough and she was kind enough to bring over groceries, dinner, and a birthday gift for Aiden. (He turned five-years-old in the midst of all this.) I also hit up my homeboy D. He lives in Queens, but has a car and loves Aiden and would help in a heartbeat.
That's then I realized something. Again. It's totally okay to ask for help. It doesn't make you weaker, it makes you wiser. "It takes a village," is what they say. And I wholeheartedly agree.
It's not easy being a solo single parent. You have to do twice as much with half the resources, which is trying in and of itself. In fact, I always joke with my friends that I like the way my paycheck looks for about 8.2 seconds. And then I think of the rent and Aiden's tuition and childcare costs and groceries and all the other expenses that we have. But you know what? I can pay all of our bills without the child support. And that's a blessing.
I've accepted my life as a solo single mother. I've been going at it alone for over two years and, although it hasn't been a walk in the park, it's been a pretty sweet journey. After all, life is about playing the heck out of the hand you've been dealt.
There are far worse fates in this life than living it as a single mother. I know this much. So I don't take anything for granted. I don't take any day for granted. I know how blessed I am. I know how blessed Aiden is.
And I'll continue to make a dollar out of fifteen cents and lemonade with lemons for as long as I have the strength to do so.