Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Widow Wednesday--Single, only parent

A single mom. Something I never thought I would be. When I got married I knew I had met my person and would never be divorced and then that all changed. Ray had worked a lot and I was the primary caregiver, but he was a ton of help when he was around. He was a very hands on dad. He also was a huge help around the house. Now it was all on my shoulders.

I have always been the mom that prefers to have my kids with me. I never complain when they have a snow day or are on summer vacation. I love having them home. I mean why have kids if you don't want them around?

Do I have help? Contrary to what people seem to think (from what I have heard) my kids are normally with me. My parent's are retired and are rarely home and they are my main source of help. My girls are best friends and they love each other (more so than most siblings from what I can tell, they really have a special bond) but they do need time apart from each other. They need individual attention. When Ray was around he would take care of one while I took the other shopping with me, etc. As they grew older I figured we would do the same with activities, etc. but that isn't possible when there is only one of you. If one has something to do the other has to join too or go. For a while I would make them just go, but then started making those my individual times with them. On Sunday, Lily has yoga, I leave Summer with Grandma and spend the day with Lily. I will leave Lily sometimes and just take Summer to do things she likes to do. I rarely don't have at least one of them. The only time is if I am doing a photoshoot and they pretty much always go with me on those too.

They have gone to doctor's appointments, hair appointments, you name it. It is easier for me to just take them. They don't like to be left with anyone outside of my parents.

My "me" time is usually when they are at school. I try to plan what I can at that time and get done whatever I need to get done. Sometimes I am able to, sometimes I am not. When I don't they go with me.

My girls are very attached to me. They feel safe only around certain people. I don't push them to be around the ones they don't. I allow them to make up their own mind about what they want to do. I think as children that lost a parent they probably have anxiety about losing me. My mom said she felt that way growing up since her dad died when she was a week old. I remember one time leaving the girls a few days to do a photoshoot in Florida and when I came home Lily was running through the airport crying like she hadn't seen me in forever and telling me how much she missed me. I have never been able to leave them after that. The entire time all I could think about was how they would have liked to be where I was. Whenever my parents would pick the girls up from school they would come out and first thing they would ask is, "Where is mom?" I try to reassure them I am not going anywhere, but I know I can't promise that.

Vacationing I have always felt more at ease going with other people. I am tiny and look younger than I am and sometimes feel unsafe traveling without someone. Not because I think I couldn't do it, but for safety. Usually we travel with family or go to a destination we can meet with other people. This has worked out well for us so far and we have spent time with a lot of people we love by doing this.

I struggled when Ray first died with how to dress, etc. I have always looked younger than I am and thought maybe I should dress older, more mature. I started to lose myself by doing this. I also struggled with if I should wear my rings or not. I wore them for a year before taking them off. I will always be married to Ray. I would get asked quite often if I was the babysitter or 16. I hated that and felt the rings and dressing older detoured that, but I was losing myself.

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