Mother’s Day – My Son Is Grown

For a good part of my adult life, I wanted to be a mother, but as I got older, I worried that it might not happen for me. I hadn’t met the right man to marry, so how could I become a mom? But then, one day, I realized that even though I hadn’t found my life partner, I could be a single mother by choice. There was even an organization that provided support and information to women like me: Single Mothers by Choice (SMC), for women who were mature, ready for motherhood, but single.  It WAS possible. Months later, I had made my dream a reality.  I was a mother.

Motherhood was the joyous center of my life for many years. I had enjoyed my career and had a pretty satisfying life, both before becoming a mom and throughout my mothering years. But there was something about being a … Continue reading

Girls Can Drive Dumptrucks and Boys Can Dance

“I wish our family had two moms,” Sam says, and I am caught by surprise. I am loading the dishes into the dishwasher while Sam puts the head on his new Lego alien minifigure and Eva pulls at my pants leg begging for her bedtime cup of milk.

“Why is that?” I ask. Our family has one parent. One mom. And it’s never going to have two moms.

“Because moms are great, and if there were two moms one could play with me while the other mom puts Eva to bed.”

I’ve recently been talking to Sam about how all families are different. We have books that talk about big families and small families, families that adopt, families with two moms or two dads, families with just one parent. We have books that explain IVF and how a child can come in to the world without a dad.

“That would … Continue reading

Family Month at Daycare

It’s family month at Norah’s daycare and we were asked for family pictures. They make little collages and write the names of family members by them (“Me & Mommy,” that sort of thing). I was so worried about Norah feeling like the odd girl out with our little Single Mother by Choice (SMC) family that I totally overcompensated. I brought in about 6 different pictures — including ones of Norah with me, with 2 different sets of grandparents (my parents are divorced and remarried), and I also included pictures of our dog. I told the teachers that I probably went overboard, and they should just pick a couple to use and give back the rest.

Well, I went in the next day and saw that they made Norah the biggest collage with the most photos and the most family members in it. There were several other kids whose mat just … Continue reading

Why I Try Never To Say “Well That Was Dumb”

I had just finished a twelve hour overnight shift in the NICU where I worked as a nurse. I was riding the bus home in the early Saturday morning hours, bone tired. It was sunny, I think, and I was feeling regretful of my need to sleep before the next night’s shift, wishing I could be out in the land of the living, enjoying the beautiful weekend with my boyfriend instead of shut up in a dark room with a white noise machine.

I laid my phone down on the bus seat next to mine.  Just for a moment, I thought.

But when I got home a few minutes later, I realized my phone was gone.

Dammit.

That evening, at a pre-work dinner with my then boyfriend and now dear friend, I confided in him about my lost phone. Although I had a full time job in the NICU, I … Continue reading

Twisting the Tale

An alternative to the old (and outdated) ‘Once upon a time…’

I never had much interest in princesses, preferring jeans and sneakers to ball gowns and glass slippers even as a young girl. But that’s not to say that I didn’t grow up thinking someday I’d experience my own fairytale romance. When I reached 35 and was still single, though, I started to think that fantasy would never morph into my reality.

In the two years since, my ‘Once upon a time’ has taken some drastic turns. Tired of waiting for my prince to arrive and fed up with unsuccessfully scouring the suburban realms for him, I decided to skip the being-swept-off-my-feet stage, at least for now. Instead I chose to jump right to the chapter of the story entitled Motherhood. As any writer does, I made a few edits and a few errors. And life threw in some plot … Continue reading

It’s Just A Date

How pursuing my dream of having a child made dating more fun.

I had often assumed that some women, unlike me, were able to date lightheartedly. Unconcerned with a hoped-for long-term outcome, these women could treat a date as just a date. They found a way to relax and have a good time. These women, I further suspected, were free to be themselves with their dates and so were the ones finding the right partner.

As these musings might indicate, my single dating life was often riddled with worry. When dating a man, I was rarely fully present. My mind ran the back-story. I’d size him up, then rocket mentally into an imagined future. Is he the right fit for me, and I for him? Is he commitment-phobic? Am I? Are we wasting our time?

Of course, sometimes, there was true hope and love. But the stifling “what-ifs” commanded my … Continue reading

A New Year

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. I always aimed too high and set myself up for failure. What’s more, I’m making resolutions all year ‘round, so there doesn’t seem to be much point in forcing myself to come up with new ones just because I’m hanging up a new calendar. (Oops, there’s a resolution: upload the new photo calendar to the Costco website before February!)

So, how did I spend New Year’s Eve? We were newly home from having spent Christmas in Phoenix with family, the girls were in bed, and I was enjoying a quiet, cozy evening with a book and a glass of wine. What once would have been considered a New Year’s Eve FAIL —sitting home alone— now felt like bliss.

And I remembered that, several years before I had my kids, I had improvised my own New Year’s Eve ritual. I … Continue reading

I Want To Believe

I was a huge fan of The X-Files in the 1990s, and one of the show’s catch phrases was “I want to believe.” I had no idea how that phrase would eventually come home to roost.

I really didn’t expect that my daughters would still believe in Santa Claus by the time they were in 3rd grade. I’d be surprised if all of their Christmas-observing friends still believe, and I find it unlikely that none of the non-believing, worldly-wise 3rd graders has spilled the beans. The right jolly old elf hasn’t come up much in conversation this year, and my hunch was that they had their doubts, but maybe weren’t ready to ask the question outright, for fear of having their suspicions confirmed.

When I imagined having kids I also imagined that bidding the Santa days good-bye would be accompanied by a feeling of loss. I’m all for fostering magical … Continue reading

Chanukah and Our Little Miracles

Last year I lit the candles before dinner, and she would sit at the table, look over to the menorah, and sigh out “ohhhhh”. She thought it was pretty. This year she selects the candles each night. And while I have tried to get her to help me light the candles, she gets a little frightened when the time comes, maybe because I am trying to tell her to hold the shamos candle at the bottom, not the top. But she is fascinated watching the flames, and watching the candles melt. The first night we waited till all the candles were out to go up to bed, but last night she needed a bath. And one of the first things she said after we came downstairs this morning was “the candles melted, they’re all gone”. This is the first year I’ve done presents each night, and she is only marginally … Continue reading

Time to Deck the Halls

The title of this post could be ‘Disappointment’, but……  Well, you’ll see.

Yesterday Tate and I returned home from my parents’. I had come back to our place on Friday afternoon to clean up, sans small child, and get the Christmas tree and decorations out. I lugged our huge, yes artificial, tree up the stairs and got the boxes all out from under the stairs in the garage. I was so excited to put the tree together and hang the ornaments with Tate on Saturday. I was hoping to start our own tradition of putting our tree up the Saturday of Thanksgiving complete with Christmas music on the CD player, a chill in the air, and children laughing! Yes, my child laughing was part of my tradition picture. My child putting an ornament or two on the tree was part of my tradition picture. The two of us hanging out … Continue reading

“After I joined SMC, I learned so much! One of the best things was not feeling alone. So many had gone before me, and if they could do it, then so could I! My local group was a great source of support and becoming an SMC was the best decision I've ever made.”

– Joyce Gabbert