This morning I was over at the new Single Mother’s by Choice ( SMC) blog reading an informative post geared toward helping a woman who was trying to decide. Decide if her shift in thinking away from being able to be an SMC was a normal one or not. She was asking for help from the women who decided to become a single mama, or those who didn’t. She was me seven (!?) years ago.
When I read her questions, and the wildly accurate and resonate response chronicling how many SMC’s go about deciding if this is the right choice for them, I took a few minutes to remember myself, back then. Before I had one, and then two…
I was independent then. But now I am too.
For me the choice to parent alone, and the act of parenting independently, happened with relative ease, because of my friends who live faraway and nearby. The ones I had before I became a mother, and the ones I have made along the way. The ones who came over with meals to share, and eager arms to hold babies in. The ones who met me at playgrounds, movie theaters, pizza joints, and doctor’s appointments when one body just wasn’t enough. The ones who moved in for a few days, or eighteen months to help me create, support, and sustain the family I wanted to be.
The one who traveled across the country with me to meet a birth mother and her family. The one who looked at me after being up for 48 hours and who now suddenly had a newborn child in her hands looking terror struck and saying; “What was I thinking? I can’t do this alone?!?” The one who answered; “This is what you want. Get some rest. It’ll be fine. We’ll be right here when you wake up…” The one who sat next to me on the airplane home crying as we read the letter the birth mother put in my hands hours before that read; “I know you will be a great mother to my baby.”
The ones who went to the birth classes with me, coached me in my breathing, walked me down the hall as I buckled in pain with each contraction, and who brought me the other one, to touch my cheek to his, as they sewed me up after he arrived here in his own dramatic way.
The one who texts me that it is OK to feel rage and anger and frustration, and to walk in the other room and scream when I need to. Who reassures me in all things from my attachment with Sam when he was just a few months old, to the necessity of my voice out here in the ether. Who tells me to take a break, go on a date, get to the doctor, and buy the new outfit because I have to look good too.
Of course my independence is a result of my own parents’ love for, and belief in me, and who they raised me to be. Of course it is about my older brother’s choice to sew himself into the fabric of our family with ease and willingness over the last couple of years too. Of course I cherish and praise all of my family for all that they do–but today–in framing the meaning of independence for me personally–it is my friends who I feel the need to thank today. After all, my family just intuits gratitude looking at these boys!
My independence is a choice. But our ability to thrive in that choice has everything to do with our dependence on the friendships that join us here.
With love and gratitude, thank you.