Tomorrow marks Kai’s 7th year around the sun and officially the 7th year mark of becoming a mother. It also the celebrant of the 5.5 year anniversary of becoming a solo parent. A single mother. Yes, doing it alone, no other parent, no co-parent…just me, myself, and I. Kai turning 7 feels big. He is becoming an independent young man – not the slightest bit of “baby” left in him. He is opinionated, clear, knows what he wants and how he wants it (not that that is much different from the terrible 2s, or 3s, or 4s!!) but this day in time feels different. I feel as though I am living with a mini-adult. He prides himself on calling himself a teenager…he likes being a teenager at the age of 7! Oh my. He is also developing his expression through his dressing/clothing choices. I am noticing he goes through themes around what he is wearing and loves the attention that he obscure outfits draw. For awhile it was frustrating for me, as every time we leave the house it is an ordeal – I thought only girls did this not a little boy!! I also cringed at what others may think of my child wearing a Mohawk wool hat on an 80 degree day or tucking his extra long shorts into his extra long socks or wearing his clothes inside out to keep with the color scheme of the day…admittedly, I still have moments of that social anxiety but they are fleeting and what I feel in me rising rapidly is pride at my boy feeling comfortable enough to express himself so outwardly in such a bold and confident way. He wants to stand out, he likes the attention for being different, he prides himself for theattention he gets, and….fucking AMEN Kai!! May we all learn from your lead.
Kai turns 7 on Mothers Day this year – we have the opportunity to celebrate together – this wild ride we have been on. Together. Kai and I do not have any semblance of “normal” or “regular” mother/son relationship (not that any mother/son relationships are of the norm) but what I am quite aware of sitting in the place of 5 and ó years of it just being He and I, is that we have grown up together. We have navigated some unbelievably hard terrain yet we have always had each other. This is not to say that we are in some fucked up co-dependent relationship – far from the contrary – yet, it is different and hard to put into words. When it is just a mama and a baby or a mama and a toddler or a mama and a little boy or a mama and a young boy….the dynamic is different/unique and not always pretty. We do the best we can in the moment but the relentlessness of not having that backup adult residing with you (or, in our case, even accessible) presents another layer of challenge and opportunity. How do you take space from a little person when you really really need it but they really really need you and there is no one to say “hey, I need a quick 5 minute pause here could you please take over?”?? Hiring a babysitter has not been an option as I also do not have the backup of a trust fund or husbands salary. I have had to remain self-employed all of these years as SOMEONE has to show up for Kai and his incredibly special needs. Someone had to field the clusterfuck of the various scenarios that have occurred in his schools. Someone had to be available to show up for this kid and, someone STILL needs to. So, I have remained self-employed so that I can create my own schedule and truly be there for my boy. BUT, with that self-employment comes unpredictability in income and, quite frankly, many opportunities to panic over having enough resources to get by. I have learned over the years, many wrinkles later and a couple of grey hairs popping up, that things really do always work out. My stress level has gone down immensely and I have learned to TRUST. I do feel held by that greater Universal energy and, despite all that has come our way, I know that everything is showing up to support me in growing and shape shifting….and, oh how I have grown and shifted….in ways that I could not even imagine possible. I do not feel bad for myself – I do not pity my situation at all – the alternative of raising Kai in an abusive situation with his dad or for myself jumping into another dysfunctional relationship just so I don’t have to “do it alone” is just not an option. I have remained Kai’s one and only on purpose. I have chosen to devote my life, my resources and my energy towards being Kai’s mom for these past 7 years. My career and potential relationships have remained on the back burner as Kai has needed me – and continues to – and SOMEONE needs to show up for the little guy.
Of course I have had family support over these years – in time spent with Kai which is so super special as well as resources paying for clothing, events, etc for him….I am so grateful and continue to be. But, I remain in the space of feeling the depth of aloneness, the depth of solitude in parenting. The harsh reality that I do not actually have any backup on any level with Kai – that is, except for the professionals that work with him of which my family pays for. When Kai is sick or in need, it is I as it has always been.
So, on this Mothers Day – this celebration of Motherhood – the day my boy turns 7 – I actually am in the place of feeling gratitude and praise for those fathers who are really showing up for their kids. I honor those dads who are able to drop their selfish bullshit and be men….be fathers to their children that they chose to conceive. Parenthood is not easy no matter the configuration, and those men who have taken their role as Daddy seriously is what moves me the most. When you choose to have a child, they require your time, energy and resources – it is a no bullshit, selfless job – and those men who are in celebration of their role and job of daddy is incredible to me and not to be taken lightly. I never really thought about it, honestly as I hada dad (still do!) who showed up for my sister and I on every level. He was present, he worked hard to support us, and did the best he could to meet our varying emotional needs (yes, he had 2 emotional Scorpio women so not easy!!). I was not exposed to the realm of absent fathers growing up and I certainly NEVER thought I would have that in my configuration with parenting.But, alas, here I am….here we are….Kai and I. Again, I am not singing a “poor me” song by any means….this journey has been incredible on so many levels and has molded, shaped, and strengthened me beyond words. I have been cracked open and humbled day after day moment after moment. I am so far from the same woman I was 7 years ago – even from a year ago. I am not a martyr – not a victim – not bitter, angry, or resentful. I am clear, a bit worn, openhearted, compassionate, and beyond grateful for the ride that becoming a solo mother has taken me on. I write this not to bitch and moan, simply to acknowledge the incredibly different path I have been on in parenting Kai….the loneliness in the hard times and also in the joyful times. No co-parent to laugh with, to share those monumental moments with, those firsts, those unique and rare moments of time with. But, despite it all, I am good. I am whole. I am surrendered. And, I am totally in love with my boy and our amazing life together as a solid unit.