Today as I dropped our little boy to the school bus, it struck me that it was the last day before the school closes for summer vacations. I had gotten a note from his teacher few days ago that there was a class party planned today and I was to send cup cakes and cookies. So last night I stopped on the way back from work to pick up the goodies.
It’s the trivial moments like these that hit you the hardest. An entire school year has gone by where I’ve been a single parent. I’ve juggled work, parenting and struggled with my own grief through this year. There are times I’ve felt like a failure, times I’ve felt it was beyond me to get through this. But at the same time, something has kept me going as I have labored through each day.
I don’t know how I’ve done, perhaps it doesn’t really matter. Every morning I’ve gotten up, woken up my son, coaxed him to finish his breakfast and got him ready for school. Every morning after waving him back as the school bus disappeared from sight, I’ve returned to the loneliness in my life. I start work later in the day so mostly my mornings are not rushed.
These few hours in the morning are still the most difficult. Many days I just slept through them, many days there was nothing to do but to just lean into whatever emotions surfaced. Sometimes I wrote, some days I read blogs and tried to find hope. I tried meditation, listened to calming zen music and it all helped keep me sane.
I’ve taken care of my son when he’s been sick, helped him with his homework, done his class projects and the million other things that come with raising a child. I’ve felt profound sadness that I’m all that he’s got left. I’ve struggled with the thought that I’m doing what his mom loved to do,that she was denied her motherly right to watch her boy grow up.
And then there have been times I’ve just not been there because of my work responsibilities. I’ve felt guilty about it but it’s just amazing to see how strong my little boy has been through this, perhaps he gets it from his mom. Courage is in his genes. I wish I could be in the moment and look forward to the next thing like kids do. But we are grown ups tethered to the emotional chains of our past.
The last summer vacation was a blur, I was so deep in shock that I don’t even remember. My superiors were supportive and I worked from home many times just to be with my son. A year later, the shock has dissipated but the deep sadness remains as it always will. I remember the fun both of them used to have during the holidays – playing games, going to movies and doing the many other little things that only moms can do.
I can’t do many of those things simply because I’m not there, I need to also earn to give him a good life and that means mostly I’m away during the day. He has his grand parents to take care of him. I guess we are all trying to do the best we can but the void of her absence is just so deep that no one can ever fill that space for both of us.
I often wonder what goes on in his little mind, what he thinks of how life has turned out to be for us. It’s hard to know what goes on there, we can only do the best we can and hope that when he grows up, he will remember that this was the hardest thing anyone can go through but we still thrived,we came through.
So this morning I asked my son if I was invited to his class party and he promptly replied “No, it’s only for those who are in my class”. I love the pristine honesty that children have. They never hesitate to say what is right. I’m both proud and sad today – proud because I’ve been there for him every single day in the year and sad that I’ve been there alone without the person who deserved to be doing what I’ve been trying to do all along solo. It’s just the way our life has turned out to be.