Tag Archives: parent

Practical Changes

Below is my piece, Practical Changes, from 2007 when I was a contributing columnist to The Southern Ledger newspaper with my Practical Changes column, the night before my son’s birthday…as you all know my son graduated from High School early and will be 18 this coming May.  I wanted to share this old blog because it speaks to parenting and how it was for me back in those days where many of you are now…enjoy and hope everyone had a great holiday season.

XO, Noelle

WOW…I am writing a night early…Mr. Southern Ledger will surely fall out of his chair from shock tomorrow morning when he sits down to write that ‘friendly little reminder’ to the bloggers and notices that my column is already posted…HA

Six years ago tonight I was in a hospital in Plymouth, MA in the midst of 30 hours of HARD labor waiting for my son to make his first appearance…tomorrow he turns six and we have been counting down the days since Christmas…everything he sees goes under the ‘ I want this for my birthday’ category.  Those of you that know me well are now saying to yourselves, “just like his mother” and I can hear you.

In retrospect, I believe that was the hardest night of my life…I won’t bore you with the scenario of 30 hours, but trust me when I say it was FAR from pleasant…it taught me that if I could do that and endure that, then I could certainly do anything…what a good, smart, handsome little boy he is and funny and stubborn…sometimes I feel like the kid got a raw deal, all I do is work and it seems like some days I am always yelling…I have two modes loud and louder…it runs in my Italian family, we talk too much and most everything is loud.  Then there is that whole emotionally unkempt thing, which runs in my family too.

Sometimes I feel like I am doing such a bad job at all this…I think I should be nicer and more patient, yet someone or something is always pulling at me and I just have to keep moving because I don’t see anyone else around here paying for anything…granted this was my choice, to get a divorce rather than live in a situation that I was finished with just for the sake of security…I’m pretty sure the kid is normal, whatever that means anymore…I mean he goes to private school and has the best of everything and he is with me all the time…I have a great staff that helps a lot and without whom I would fail to function.

I think that no matter how smart we are there are always those times when we are second guessing ourselves, wondering if we are good enough or if we are doing it ‘right’…we must be doing okay around here though because we are starting year number six and that feels like a huge accomplishment.

As I sit here tonight I think back to who I was six years ago and I realize that so much has changed…I think that I am gaining some insight and wisdom as I go along…that’s a good thing…I am learning how to let things go, how to let someone else have the last word, how to walk away instead of react when someone is unpleasant, how to trust God and not be so scared all the time about everything turning out ok…I am learning how to take deep breaths and learning to remember that it will all still be there tomorrow.

I have also learned that I am too old to be blond anymore.  Recently, I had my hair highlighted and a lot of blond put in—it has been that way for about two and a half weeks and I have felt off the whole time—I kept looking at myself in the mirror and thinking how not like myself I looked, too washed out, too old and then finally this morning I wondered why I had done it, what was I hoping to prove?  In my other life I could carry blond, this life requires dark hair and ‘on purpose’ behavior—tonight my hair has been returned to a darker state and I recognize the chick I see in the mirror…  She has a messy desk, is emotionally unkempt, is a workaholic, is probably starting to wrinkle and sag, drinks too much coffee, shops too much and is not currently working out as much as she needs to, however, she knows how to get stuff done, she has a great kid, she has incredible friends, she is generous beyond measure, she knows how to laugh at herself and she understands that life is really about who we are and not what we have…I like that chick, she has dark hair and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

It’s good to mark time, to look back and see how far you have come…it makes us grateful for progress, grateful for all the gifts that we have been given…most everyone is always rushing through birthdays, Christmas Days, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days…how many times do we stop and remember the years past, how much do we acknowledge how far we have come?

We should you know, we should make a practice of acknowledging how much advancement we have gained over the years.  It is virtually impossible not to gain wisdom as time passes…life itself is such a profound teacher.

I will take my leave of you now as I have gifts to wrap in Spiderman paper and tomorrow there is a trip to Chuck E. Cheese in my future…I know y’all are jealous.

Every Mom Is A Warrior

Every mom is a warrior. We push ourselves through physical exhaustion ,financial instability and constant juggling .Who amongst us has not arrived at work with a with a mega To-Do list to tackle in your breaks , on the last of the weeks fuel but still presenting a veneer of control and competency. Every Mom is a hardworking star however for the single Mom it’s a race because at the end of the day its just you.

Our identity revolves around our children.The guilt of thinking that you have somehow let your babies down, by not being able to provide a stable second parent .That flash of jealousy when you see a happy, two parent family in the park . The loneliness of a Father’s Day stall at school when you don’t have a Dad . A single parent takes all this and tries in return to fix it all.

We must beware however not to make the mistake of disappearing as a person . It is easy to give your all, to throw yourself into the all encompassing chores of single Parenting . Instead of feeling even more guilt for taking me time we need to look at the bigger picture. The life story not the chapter.

There is another life waiting . One day these precious children will be backing out your driveway ready to embrace new adventures and you will be left standing there , no longer the keeper of lunchboxes , school timetables and sport socks . Your Wifi will finally be free but you find yourself wondering what you even watch.

The Single parent should strive against this ,challenging, I grant you, but try do something for yourself . Painting , sport , an online course , anything to build your own personal identity . It is not selfish . It is single parenting en pointe”.Give your adult children the gift of not feeling guilty to leave you behind , gift them with the feeling that you are happy . Be the parent of whose life their child is proud of .It may not be an easy life but it can be an empowering one , your chance to break the mold and be a warrior.

Toni.

The Joy Of No Responsibility

Freedom!

For the past three years, I have been sending my son to sleep away camp. Started after 4th grade for a week at the beginning of the summer and two weeks at the beginning of August. I’ll never forget how much I cried (wailed and dry heaved is more accurate) when I dropped him off that first time, feeling like I had my heart ripped out from my chest. What if something happened to him? What if I couldn’t “protect” him? I had no idea what to do with myself and my newfound freedom. As an only parent without family nearby, my son and I were/are each other’s everything for a long time. This first parting was the scariest thing on the planet for me. (Mind you, I am the anti-helicopter parent and firmly believe that I am raising a future adult.) I went to the city to walk around and people watch, eating my first meal fully alone and feeling very Carrie Bradshaw about it. It was hell.

Now, on our third year at camp, he’s going for six straight weeks. I can see him every other Sunday and plan to do so, but the chance for a real mental parenting break and lack of responsibilities for someone other than myself for a bit is truly refreshing. I’ve packed my schedule with work trips and popcorn ceiling scraping and wallpaper removing so I can make the house I am buying into a home and continue to be able to pay for it. It’s a special feeling to be able to create a magical place for us to build a lifetime of memories in a place that is completely our own. I cried on my drive home today with joy of the future to come.

I recognize that I am fortunate to be in a financial position to be able to do all of this, but for those of you that say you can’t relate, I wasn’t always where I am now. Those memories are painful and will be the subject of a future post when I can bring myself to unearth them. “Ad astra per aspera”

Electra

Happy Father’s Day As A Mother

Happy “Father’s” Day!(?)

I totally appreciate all the people over the years who have taken time out of their day to recognize that I am my son’s only parent. That was a choice I made at 24 when I left my son’s father to whom I was engaged,I couldn’t take the abuse any longer. I also had a plethora of male friends who promised to step up and be there for me and for him and a new boyfriend who decided to stick around even though I was pregnant with a child that was most definitely not his.

Fast forward 13 years, the boyfriend and I split up 7 years ago (probably 2 years too late), I moved for a better job opportunity and those friends all got married and had their own kids and couldn’t find their way across the Hudson River to visit us.

So that left me to do it all alone. My father had and has no interest in being a hands on grandfather, my younger brother is a typical millennial with the world spinning on his axis and my older brother wants to be involved again, but lives too far away. On this day, I think not of all the ways I’ve helped my son, but in all the ways I’ve failed him. He can’t ride a bike because I didn’t have the patience or skill to teach him. He never played baseball because I couldn’t deal with the baseball moms and honestly couldn’t afford the sport at the time it would have started. I didn’t push him to stick with soccer or swimming, even though he had skill with both. I’m not an athlete, struggling to keep fit and healthy as a good role model for him.

What I do know, and hold in my heart is that this different upbringing for him has made him one hell of a cook, laundry doer, cleaner and helper with all things. He doesn’t see anything as “women’s” work, but just things needing to be done to keep a clean house. He understands the importance of my career and that it keeps a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs and vacations every couple of years. He also sees girls his age as his equals, yet knows to respect them and to care for those younger and smaller than him regardless of age. So today and everyday going forward, I’m going to try to forget about my shortcomings as a father, and celebrate my kick ass ability as a rocking single mother. I hope you all do too!

Electra

Adventures In Parenting: Baby Pool Fiasco

It started the way all of my best friend stories start — with a great idea! It was time that my best friend’s one year old son should have a baby pool. As the two of us rode to the toy store in her minivan, we envisioned the perfect afternoon:

Her angelic one year old would splash in the pool while the sun gently shone upon him. He would love the brightly colored, developmentally correct pool toys we would buy him. We would dip our perfectly pedicured feet in the cool water (while looking like models)

We arrived at the toy store and went to the baby pool section. We chose a green plastic pool that looked like a turtle. It was perfect. We picked out some pool toys, discussing at length how fun and educational they would be, and how my best friend could pass them down to me when I had a baby (this is an old story). I teared up, envisioning my best friend playing with ​my​ baby.

While we were still beaming at each other (and not really listening), the teenage cashier asked us if we needed any help. He said he could tie the perfect turtle pool on top of our vehicle for us. This sounded like a great idea. So he brought some rope and followed us out to the parking lot. He asked if we had a long drive. We explained it was only about 20 minutes (the speed limit made it faster). He suggested putting the pool on the top of the minivan so that it would look like a green turtle shell. It would fit better that way. He tied the perfect turtle pool to the top. We thanked him and were on our way.

You can probably see where this is going.

Five minutes after we started out, I heard something from the top of the car.

“I hope one of the ropes didn’t just break”, I said.
“Don’t worry so much. They looked secure,” she replied.

Just then we saw the turtle fly off of the van and careen into the lane of oncoming traffic. Our turtle was in danger of becoming roadkill!

My best friend jammed on the brakes and turned on her hazard lights. We were fine, but cars were dodging the turtle. Drivers were honking at us. Some were laughing and pointing. One guy yelled. We couldn’t just leave the turtle there. And we still wanted our perfect afternoon.

About the time we started to cuss out the irresponsible teenager who had put the turtle on the roof of the minivan in the first place, a man stopped his car with the turtle in front of it. He put his hazard lights on, and got out of the car. He helped us retrieve the turtle, and suggested that we try to put it in the back of the minivan. It fit. Perfectly.

That afternoon, my best friend’s son played in the pool, and he loved it. He didn’t even notice the scratch on the side. We dipped our tired feet into the cool water, sipped lemonade, and debated how two intelligent women who had both taken Physics in high school could trust a teenage cashier to tie a baby pool to the roof of a minivan in the perfect position to be blown off.

Then we splashed each other and her son laughed at us. It was a perfect afternoon.

Liz Possible ​is a Writer and Single Mom Extraordinaire. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. “Possible” is her attitude, not her legal name — but then you knew that. Follow Liz at her blog at ​www.lizpossible.com​ and her FaceBook page at ​https://www.facebook.com/MySingleMomLife/

Adventures in Parenting: Dignity is Overrated

Adventures in Parenting: Dignity is Overrated

I once read that children are like little Zen masters who push at our most fixed ideas, forcing us to grow as individuals by confronting who we really are. I prefer to think of it this way; when God gives you the incredible gift of children, He also gets a good laugh at your expense, knowing full well that you will learn a thing or two. I believe it is best to keep an open mind, laugh right along, and enjoy the ride.

Take dignity for example. I have come to the conclusion that it is highly over rated. Before I became a mom, people would have referred to me as “dignified”, “reserved”, “boring” or perhaps “stick in the mud”. And mind you, these were my friends.

Not long ago I went to a playground with Adorable Daughter #1. As soon as we got there, she exclaimed, “Come on Mom, let’s play!” Hoping that she will have some childhood memories in addition to the 47,562 times I tell her to “WALK”, “eat your vegetables” or “brush your teeth”, I ran after her toward the jungle gym. We climbed the ladder, crawled through one of those giant hamster tunnels, and slid down the slide. About the time I was half way through the giant hamster tunnel; I couldn’t help but think,

“Should an un-athletic woman who is inching toward middle age with alarming speed be crawling on her hands and knees inside one of these things?”

“I should have checked the maximum weight capacity.”

“I don’t see any of the other adults doing this.”

About that time I heard Adorable Daughter #1 calling out, “Come on Mom! Let’s go down the slide!” I scampered to the end of the tunnel and poked my head out. She was grinning from ear to ear, her beautiful black curls flying in the wind. We plopped on to the slide together and yelled “Whee!” all the way down.

Too soon, my adorable daughters will decide that silly behavior is… well, silly. Not long after that, adolescence will arrive and they will walk into the bathroom to do their hair not to emerge for five or six years. I can only hope that by that point I will have planted the seeds so that as they grow they will value education, have a strong work ethic, and make good choices about friends and boyfriends, knowing that I will always be there to support them.

Until those fateful days arrive, we’re going to have some fun.

The other day I was walking down the sidewalk with Adorable Daughter #1 by my side and Adorable Daughter #2 in her stroller. As it started to sprinkle, we began to sing “If all of the rain drops were lemon drops and lollipops”. When we got to the part where we were sticking our tongues out and singing “aahh aahh aahh aahh aahh aahh”, I noticed a couple smiling at us. I smiled back and kept singing.

Liz Possible is a Writer and Single Mom Extraordinaire. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. “Possible” is her attitude, not her legal name — but then you knew that.

Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/LizPossible1 and at her blog, https://lizpossible50singleandlovinglife.wordpress.com.