My husband was an only child as was his father and even his grandfather! My father's sibling was a brother and my Mom's a half-brother she was never close to and whom died in mid-adulthood. Besides my sister and two brothers there is not much family for me to rely on. I suppose in some ways that has been the reason for the new parenting style I adopted after my husband's death. I was always what you would describe a very affectionate, doting, and involved mom to my sons. But when I became an only parent my focus on the boys increased and I became an overprotective and extremely committed mother overnight.
There was no one else to share the parenting chores or worry - mainly the worry. That is what will end up eating you alive. Will the boys make the baseball team, will they pass their math class, will they be safe as they start driving, will I be able to keep them protected and happy on my own? It is a double-edged sword. Not having a partner or family to rely on forces one to take on more than is probably humanly possible. Knowing that you're the only one out there raising and caring about these kids makes one even more committed to the task.
It is very trying to be the only one making major decisions for your children. I have such a fear of making a wrong one. These boys have already gone through way more than most kids their ages will ever encounter. I agonize over my decisions because in the end, my greatest hope is that these boys will be spared more pain and suffering.
I now worry about the boys being able to get into college. What will they study? How will we afford it? What kind of future can I provide for these boys continuing to parent and live on my own? There is no ex-husband to call and say, "We need to meet at the school counselor's office to discuss Junior's bad attitude." Or, "I need some more help here. Can you take the boys an extra weekend so I can have some time to myself. I need to regroup and recharge."
There is such pressure on me to raise these boys to the best of my abilities. But when you can't share some of that responsibility it wears and breaks you down. That is where I'm at right now. No one to mull it over with, talk it out, decide together on the best course of action. Just me.
"It takes two to tango." "Two heads are better than one." Yes, I believe all those sayings. I'm so tired and worn out now. I'm not sure how much I can trust myself with those decisions I have to still make.
You care and care and look out for the kids (even bigger ones) and then there is no one to help you. Just a little bit is needed. A hug, being brought a cup of tea, having someone remember to pick up a needed item up from the store. It is like running around on empty all day, every day for weeks, months, years on end. I just have to keep going for a little longer - gas don't run out on me, we're almost there... And more often than not, the gas gauge IS on empty! There is always a sense of anxiousness inside me, almost a sense of dread. Running on empty, always trying to be ahead of the game to fend off the potential evil forces.
I have come to know that everyone needs someone sometime to lean on and rely on. It is a given. I have needed help and tried to find it but have been turned down. When I told my second husband that I needed help cleaning out the garage to start the house selling process he sneered at me and growled, "You are so weak and pathetic." When I needed help for food and medical insurance, I was turned down for making pennies over the predetermined financial requirements. When I got the job at the big box store it was accepted based on my being given extra hours but that fell through very quickly. The food pantry I went to didn't have enough food to pass out!
And here is some irony - in the new state Sam lives in we would all qualify for free or reduced health insurance without a hitch. We are close to the free qualification but if I had to pay it would cost me only $40.00 monthly compared to the #350.00 I am currently paying out-of-pocket! Is that a kick in the pants or a sign that I need to move?
The point of my ramblings is just that I think all of us have times when we need to lean more rather than having others lean on us. But sometimes it is hard or maybe even impossible to find that. Except I believe I have with Sam. But he has had to move and now the boys are sobbing and screaming and wailing and blaming me for having to leave their school and community. So what is my choice now? They are each getting 3 Fs at the new school and one F on the report card disqualifies them from playing sports for a full year. Here at home they were passing with Bs and Cs.
Sam has given me the greatest gift by calling me this morning and telling me that if I decided to stay here in Illinois he will support that and we will work out a sort of "visitation" schedule to be together on weekends. But he honestly doubts I can make this work financially on my own and it will be expensive to drive back and forth 400 miles on alternating weekends. That will fall into my job category since he works on weekends.
Do I force the boys to move and then deal with the consequences whatever ends up happening because I want to live with Sam and try to assemble some sort of family life for all of us?
I have prayed for my deceased husband and my Mom to please come to me with some kind of message and advice but none have come forth. I have begged the Universe for guidance and a sense of direction but again, nothing is speaking to me. No inner or outer voice. Except to hear the sobs of anguish from my sons. And I am the only one listening. The curse of the only parent whose frustrated cursing is also unheard.