My mother has been a single mother for almost 22 years now…she’s a total pro.
But unfortunately, I think people are quicker to judge single mothers than they are to give them the respect they deserve for putting in all of those overtime hours or working a second job or playing the role of dad or going to parent-teacher conferences or neglecting their needs on a very personal basis to put their children first.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents tried their best to make divorce work, and my father is a great parent…but there is nothing quite like the single mom. And knowing my mom, she will probably read this post about 6 months from now when she remembers that I have ‘this blog thing’ that she promised she would check out. I love her so much, and this post is just part of my saying thanks, for everything.
… I grew up poor, really poor. My dad would say that i dont know what poor is, and poor is growing up in a Palestinian refugee camp, stabbing your older sibling for an extra kibbe ball (yes, that really happened). But it’s all relative, and in comparison to my other Peabody friends, I was as poor as poor gets.
My mother and I lived in this tiny 1 bedroom apartment in Central Peabody (a.k.a. the poor part). Excuse my language because I am about to swear…i fucking hated that apartment. It was tiny and carpeted, my neighbor a few doors down hated children and would complain anytime we were in the hallway playing. We also had a cat that I hated…so much so that I called Animal Control on her once. I’ll never forget the operator asking me “ok, and how did the cat get into the house??” .. me: “no you don’t understand…it’s my cat”.
See the thing is, I was an only child until I was 13… so for the majority of my childhood it was just me and her. all the time. in that shitty apartment.
I think its unnatural to spend that much time with anyone….it starts to drive you crazy. The truth is, I’m not quite sure if married moms spend as much 1 on 1 time with their kids as single moms…Really, it’s not healthy, and pretty soon enough you’ll want to kill each-other.
And my mom and I used to fight like sisters; brawl, really. And when we were at each-other’s throats, in that tiny, ugly-carpeted, 650 sq. foot shitty little apartment in central Peabody, things get claustrophobic really quickly. Right when it seemed like neither one of us would give-in, my mom would grab me by my hand, drag me downstairs, throw me into the passenger seat of whatever run-down car with one headlight out that she was driving at the time, and would close & lock the doors.
“Are you mad” my mom would ask. “YES!” I would say with some attitude I’m sure. “Really Mad! mad at you!”….
and then my mom would just look at me and say, “then Scream!” ….
“you want me to scream, mom?” …”Yes, Ahlam…Scream!” At which point my mom would scream first, to reassure me she was talking about a real scream and not some half-ass holler. And I screamed. And screamed, and screamed. Three minutes later, we were walking back upstairs talking about what movie we were going to rent.
And that’s the genius of single mothers; the genius of my mom. Because for the most part, life is pretty shitty. Things are never done the ‘easy’ way, but my mom always made it work. She always took what she was given and made it home for she and I. She’s unorthodox, free-spirited, borderline feminist, and really is the happiest woman in the world, and I hope I become half the woman she is.