The other side of being a single parent
Posted Friday 7th November 2014 By Ericka Waller
So I’m learning there are positives to being a single parent. Like only having three children to look after, not four… ha ha ha! But seriously. I’m eight months in and finding my feet now. My morning starts when I pad downstairs to find I very kindly prepared morning tea for us all the night before. Sometimes I find a note I forget writing myself which says things like, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings” or “The cold never bothered me anyway”.
I feed the dog, who is immensely grateful for his dry biscuits in a slimy bowl with a slug half drowned at the bottom, eaten outside in the howling wind. Imagine if I actually cooked anything for him? I bet he wouldn’t ask me for Tabasco sauce “to add some flavour”.
After his breakfast, the dog does not ask me where I have moved things. I don’t have to go and retrieve them from right under his nose. I can sing loudly and off-key as I tidy up and make the beds, sometimes the children even join in. I call these Mary Poppin moments.
On the days that my ex has the children, I can eat red velvet cake in bed, watching back to back episodes of Everyone Loves Raymond and doing crosswords. I can fall asleep to audio books of Jane Austin classics and wake up late with lines such as, “The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” flitting about in my head.
Sometimes I go and hang out with brother and we act like a teenagers. I give him a dead leg each time we spot a mini on the road. He drives us too fast over humped-back bridges and for one second, life is suspended in the air. In that second I am no-one other than me. I am not a mother or a ex-wife or a chairperson. I am not heartbroken or stressed about money and school runs. I am just in a moment, as I always was, with someone who will always love me, just as I am.
And now I see, finally, that the mountain I am climbing has a peak at the top, and I am going to reach it, with my flag in my hand. I am not there yet, but when I am, I shall look down at where I have been, what I left behind and what I have taken with me. One day I will truly feel on top of the world.