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Posts Tagged ‘single parenting’

There are many signs that stamp one’s daughter as a young woman – the first bra, the first date, the first boyfriend, makeup, shaving her legs. The list is endless, but perhaps the most significant is when she is on the pill. This is a hard time for the parents in so many ways.

I have never been a parent that is afraid or hesitant to talk to my children about anything. We have very open dialogues about vast subjects. Sex and drugs have always been two primary topics. I am still old fashioned in my beliefs about sex. I do not believe that teens should be having sex. I don’t feel that they are emotionally ready for this endeavor. Many teens enter sex for one of two reasons: their hormones are raging and they lose control, or they are looking for love and hoping to find it through sex.

Our sex conversations have always been on the lines of, “You know I don’t want you having sex (various reasons given), but inevitably, the choice is yours. You will find yourself in a situation where you will make the choice. Before you get there, it is far more important to me that you are protected so come to me and we will get you on the pill.”  Of course, there’s also the talk of needing to use condoms to prevent STDs, but being on the pill has been a huge one. If and when she becomes sexually active, I want her taken care of. A teen pregnancy will end her dreams.

My daughter has not decided to become sexually active at this point. For this, I am thankful. However, her hormones are simply out of control during her menstrual cycle. During her most recent flare up, she was sure that I absolutely hate her and brought me a large knife while suggesting that since I hate her so much, I should just kill her now. Yikes. These actions have made it apparent that it is time to put her on the pill.

This scares me. She has a boyfriend and I hope that this won’t be the key that tells them that it is ok to have sex. She has shared with me that they have talked about sex and both want to wait, but the day will come when the decision will be made. I guess it is a good thing that she is on the pill, but it is very hard to watch my daughter become such a young woman.

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***WARNING – This is not a well written piece. The title should have been your first clue.   🙂

I am a firm believer in fate. I believe that if things are meant to be, they will be. I am at a point in my life in which I am waiting to see what fate is offering me. I am puzzled by it, enthused by it, excited by it. I am also terrible at waiting.

About two years ago, someone walked into my life as an acquaintance. I have never had the opportunity to get to know him due to circumstances. We had a professional relationship that really would have been awkward to breech. That relationship has since ended and circumstances put him into my life on a personal level. After having a secret crush on him for two years, we are now in the very beginning stages of dating. I hate this stage. The waiting, the not knowing, the wondering.

I have found that dating at this stage in my life is a completely different game. Well, of course it is since I was first married at 18. In adult dating, we seem to cut to the chase quicker, even breaking the “rules” of dating in many cases. We establish whether or not we want children, if we have any plans to move or are in the area for the long haul, and religious beliefs early on. We look at our list of things that are unacceptable and if the man or woman meets any of those criteria, we are quick to cross them off and move on. We have a firmer grip of who we are and what we are looking for in a relationship.

Some couples play the field more and date several people. I haven’t found this to be true for myself nor for the men that I have dated. I know at least one continued to play the field while we were together, and that was fine. I knew we weren’t in it for the long haul and it was fun while it lasted. One man told me that one woman is enough and he can’t handle trying to balance/date more than one woman at a time. I think that statement sums it up for most of us that are looking for that lasting relationship.

I find myself questioning things, not sure what to do. My gut tells me that I should do something, and I seem to have to ask someone else for their opinion just to confirm my thoughts. The reality is that I have waited for two years to get to know this man, never expecting to. We are clicking on all levels so far and I am wondering if possibly, just possibly, this could be fate…or is it just a woman looking and hoping to be in a relationship?

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I look at elderly people and I see their white hair, their bent backs, their limps, some of which are slight, others more distinguished. Often you can see the pain on their faces. They have lived full lives of which we can only imagine their stories.

Some people look at the elderly and feel a deep sense of compassion, perhaps even mustering up stories which the said person may or may not have lived. When I see the elderly, all I can think is, “I don’t want to live to be that old.”

I think this is sad and I feel guilty about it, yet it does not change. My great grandmother was 106 when she died. I remember her. I remember the special toilet that was assembled for her use. I remember that she could no longer see to do her precious embroidery. She could not boil water or even peel an orange. She couldn’t even make it to the restroom without assistance. I don’t want to be like this.

I had a very brief period in my life in which I was humbled enough to the extent that I was completely reliant on others. Like my great grandmother, I needed help just to make it into the restroom and to get on and off of the toilet. I could not bathe myself. Although I used a walker, I could not even manage it without assistance. I could not dress myself. If it involved my legs in any manner, no matter how slight, I was not able to do it. I was a self-sufficient, 36 year old single mother who lived in a town with some friends and absolutely no family. As was usual for my personality, when I realized that something was terribly wrong, rather than calling an ambulance as I should have, I drove myself to the hospital – the whole time trying to reach someone at work to let them know that I would not be in.

For three weeks, my parents moved in with me. They left their home, their friends, their jobs, to come and take care of my children and I. Once I was well enough that I could at least shower on my own (with the use of handicap contraptions), my mother returned to her job. My father stayed with me another three weeks and would have stayed longer, but I finally kicked him out.

I had to buy all new makeup for my new medicines caused problems with the old makeup. I had to buy a new car because I could no longer get in and out of my SUV. I had to buy new clothes to accommodate my ever swollen leg and the weight gain that would follow. It’s been over a year and I’m still in the recovery stages. I have permanent damage and will likely struggle for the rest of my life, but I can at least fool those who don’t know me into thinking all is well. In fact, I believe that most of my friends forget that there is anything wrong with me.

I take this relatively short period of time and remember with dread what it was like to rely fully on others and I am reminded again and again that I don’t want to live like that. My circumstances were temporary, but an elderly person only continues to get worse. I want to die while I’m still actually living. Is that really so horrible?

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Me – Have you ever noticed all of the dating advertisements on the side of Facebook? C, we have a match for you!

Daughter – Yeah, it’s really annoying.

Son to me – I don’t know why anyone would want to date you.

Umm, thanks son!!!

“That’s not what I meant. I just mean, well people are old. Why would old people date?”

So not helping here.

Son, you have the talent of most men. You say what you mean, it comes out wrong. You try to explain yourself. You make it worse. Congratulations!!  At 8 years old, you may have achieved manhood.

😉

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My daughter has been texting D for quite sometime. I figured that there was something between them, but got tired of asking. The other day, she asked if she could hang at the mall with D and J. I had to go anyways, so I didn’t mind dropping her off. We looked at the makeup and after she picked out what she needed, she was off to meet her friends. Not long after, I text her to come back because I found a shade that I thought she might like. 

She came back walking hand in hand with D. 

I smiled and said, “Wait a minute. Boyfriend/girlfriend?”

Sheepish grin, “Yes.”

“When did this happen?”

“Last night.”

He was perfectly nice and insisted on shaking my hand even though it had make up all over it. Tonight he asked daughter if I like him. 

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t know him. I’d have to talk to him a lot more.”

Ha! How cute that he wants me to like him. He’s got a few things going for him:

1. He came to meet me when he didn’t have to.
2. He was a gentleman and insisted on shaking my make up covered hand.
3. He cares if I like him or not.

I will have to kick his ass if he hurts my girl, though. I must be perfectly clear about that.

😀

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We began by talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it appeared as if he knew he was going to die on the day that he actually did. We had an in-depth conversation about slavery, Washington DC, and President Lincoln. We talked about President Washington and even Obama. We talked about death and how it is ultimately inevitable that we all die. 

Somewhere in the midst of our deep conversation, my daughter paused to state, “You know, we don’t have your normal dinner conversations. We don’t talk about ‘how was your day’ and ‘did you stay out of trouble?’ We talk about this deep, random stuff.”

I’d never thought about it before, but she’s right. We aren’t your typical family by many standards. We don’t tend to piddle in the small talk which is somewhat ironic because I consider myself very involved in my children’s lives and my teen daughter is pretty open with me.

I have my children 24/7, for better or worst and as such we really are a close family. A typical day consists of the three of us sharing our one bathroom to get ready for school and work. All three of us then pile into the car and head off to begin our day. My son attends my school and spends the morning in my classroom with me until the bell rings and he leaves to begin his day. My daughter catches the bus at my school and takes it to her school. 

During the day, my daughter and I will text each other messages during recesses and lunch. I usually check in with her to see how her day is going. She often asks me to bring her a coffee knowing full well that not only is it not possible, but I wouldn’t anyways. We have segmented conversations in which I get a glimpse as to how things are going for her.

Having spent roughly half an hour with me before school, my son and I generally see each other once again at lunch time. Although he pretends horror at my appearance, I have been told on good authority that his face actually lights up when he sees me and that what we have is a little game. We have finally agreed that I will not kiss him and in exchange he will give me a side hug. At 8 years old and in second grade, he is too embarrassed to be seen with his mother. 🙂

After school, my son and I spend another approximately two hours together before we pick up sister. During this time, he and I have had our small talk. Once I pick up sister/daughter, she and I have some more small talk as we drive home. Once home (or out to eat), the dinner conversation begins. We have great conversations. I love how deep our conversations go, how anything is fair game, how both my 15 year old and my 8 year old are comfortable and capable in having these conversations. 

Life is good.

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In summary, today was a good day. Here are a few good things:

  • My 2nd grader decided to read Harry Potter today. He’s already on page 64. The book is a 5th grade level book. As such, he reads better than several of my 5th graders. 
  • I had a 2 hour meeting today. I dragged my son along. He behaved excellent and I received several compliments. In fact, he was better behaved than I was. True story.
  • I love when people look at me and try to ponder how old I am while stating, “I would have never guessed you old enough to have a 15 year old.” Yep, I’m plenty old enough. On the same lines, she looks older than 15, so it’s also fun to go out in public and watch people try to figure it all out. I don’t know how old they think I am, but not old enough to have a 15 year old, let alone an 18 year old. Nice.
  • One of my 5th grade students calls me Mommy. He is from a gang family and yet he calls me Mommy. He even told his home room teacher that I am his Mommy. This has gone on for most of the year and I find it very interesting and flattering.
  • I walked into a classroom today in which a couple of former students were. One of the girls told the assistant that I am her best friend. I’ll take that.
  • Another student who has only been here for a couple of months and has remained very introverted asked me today if I would write him an office referral so he could play an April Fool’s joke on his mother.  I wrote that he beat up another student causing a black eye and a bloody nose. I signed it Tooth Fairy. I can’t wait to hear how that one played out. 
  • When I picked my daughter up from school, one of my students was there to get her sister. She came to my car and talked to me. Most kids, especially as they get older,  are too embarrassed to seek their students out in public. 
  • One of my cats just went and cuddled with my dog. Long story, but the cats were adopted in August and were afraid of the dog for a long time. From a cat perspective, who wouldn’t be afraid? The dog is nearly 100 pounds and a lab/rotweiller mix. That’s a lot of dog. We adopted the dog nearly 5 years ago after she had spent about a year and a half in a shelter. She had one prospective family who took her home and brought her back because she chased the cats. We have 4 cats. The only time she chases them is when they run by her and all are participating in play. In fact, a year after adopting her, I felt she needed a puppy. I wasn’t going to get a pup, but I did get her a kitten. She has treated that cat as her puppy ever since. They can be seen snuggling at any given time. 

I’m sure I am overlooking more things, but it’s always nice when we have enough “simple” things happen in a day that it constitutes a good day. These are what make life good. The big things are wonderful, but they tend to be fleeting happiness. It’s the small things that sustain us.

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