Sunday, November 29, 2009

Death and Life

So, my dad died a week ago today from injuries sustained in a car accident.

I have been "fatherless" for a week, technically speaking. But based on our rocky relationship, I have been fatherless for far longer due to numerous understandings and misunderstandings. But I have to say, this past week I've been acutely aware that I have one less layer of protection in the world, even though I stopped needing a dad years ago, even though he hadn't been my "dad" for years.

I spoke with a pastor today who commented dryly that single parenthood wasn't a very sexy cause, so to speak, but that single parents impact us all--individually, societally, corporately. We need to be committed to them, to each other, even though our life's not terribly glamorous, even though it's often a slog, day in, day out...first right then left.

I know a little more about my father now that he's died. I know more the reasons of why, perhaps, he didn't have it in him to do the daily slog with me.

I know that God in His mercy has seen fit to give me the best rental dads a girl could ask for. And one special one who's considering a lease-to-buy option. :)

I know that I didn't want to need things from my dad. But maybe he needed to be needed.

As I continue to process his death and my new place in life, I'm reminded that I need to stay anchored. It is easy to feel alone and untethered as a single mom, and especially easy now with the thought that occupies much of my time and brainspace these days: Huh. He's gone. Some friends who've lost parents already have been especially tender with me, knowing the questioning, understanding the floundering and for that, I'm especially grateful.

But as much as I ache for a different ending with him, I know that I must continue contributing to a different ending of my own. It's why I want to continue this good work started here with Eve's Daughters and why I continually invite others to join me.

Maybe we'll get to the point where there's community instead of polarity, of a miles-traveled marathon versus a quick check-in. Maybe our glamorless status will become nearly comical in its irony: Because we'll have each other, and that's a thing a beauty.

And perhaps most important, those relationships create another layer of protection: of caring, of concern, of listening, laughing, crying, an uncertain world. And maybe that's plenty more than any of us can hope for, giving or receiving.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Do Over...

Is it possible to get a “do over”? I want one…not because I feel I need to right a wrong; not because I want to take something back that I said; not because I simply messed up. No, I want a do over because my kids have grown up and I’m not ready…

How does it happen? It seems like just yesterday I found myself a single mom. Then E was 7 months old and J was 3 years old, and now E is 15 and J is 18…a man…an adult!

Today E and I walked to the elementary school so that she could work on her hitting and pitching. When we were done and I was walking the track…silent tears hit my cheeks. Why can’t I have the time back? Why can’t I be sitting in the gym waiting for J to play a revolutionary soldier and E to play a recycling cheerleader? Where did all the time go?

I write this as J heads to watch the Westview girls play in the state soccer championship…his high school career finished. Where did the time go? Just yesterday we were checking mountain passes for snow so we knew the best route for a soccer game in Bend…

One of the hardest things about being a single mom is that we tend to just survive the moments…instead of enjoying them. We are too exhausted to do otherwise…we have so much to do…so much to organize.

Today I want a do over…I want to stop trying to orchestrate everything, live in each moment, and love each interaction with the kids. The interactions of today are different, but they are still moments…still memories…still love. It’s never too late. I may not get the do over that I dream of (starting back at kindergarten and reliving the moments), but I do get a do over in terms of attitude…I can look for the good in each interaction…each moment…each word. I can smile at past memories and focus on living in the new ones…

I’m not ready for E and J to grow up, but I am getting used to it. Life isn’t over…it is a continuation. I do get a do over of sorts…today I choose to enjoy each moment and make new memories to add to the fabulous ones of the past. Today I get a “perspective” do over. I challenge each of you to do the same...whether a single mom, a married mom, an aunt, or in each moment...make memories...and think upon the good in it all...past, present and future.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Lonelies

Cath & I were just discussing yesterday how we've kinda dropped the ball with regard to blogging. It's not for lack of work; there has been lots of activity, not the least of which is our first fundraising effort. But if you're like me, you know it's easy to put your head down, dig in, work a lot...and feel totally disconnected from the human race. And *then* I wonder why I feel so lonely...

I'm always amazed that my daughter is so young but she *gets* it. She knows, every now and again, to declare it Jamma Day and just hang around, chilling. I'm sure she did not learn this from me. She wants to snuggle on the couch, watch too much TV and connect with me, while I'm...looking at my watch and thinking how much there is to do.

Call it the Clash of the Types: I'm an A (maybe even an A+!) and E is somewhere lower in the alphabet. Perhaps a Q or so. But I don't sense in her the (sometimes inherent) loneliness I feel from moving constantly. It seems she knows how to unplug, charge up and re-group.

I wonder: Did I know this long ago, before life caught up with me?

I'm so thankful for a business partner like Cath, to whom I can say, "I'm just struggling and I feel alone" and know she doesn't feel tasked with fixing anything. My friend Rebecca filled that bill last weekend, and my brother the other day. Perhaps as single moms, we need that connection even m0re, so we can turn back around and plug into our kids again, successfully, rather than losing all our juice. Not to mention plug into each other so we can keep encouraging and keep going.

I know the disconnect is temporary, and that I'm less alone than I think. But maybe it's during these times that we learn the good reminder to stop and reach out, instead of treading even faster.