I believe the best way to have a friend is to be one. Hopefully, the fact that I have the best network of supportive friends anyone could ever ask for speaks to the kind of person that I am.
I’ve been a single mom for two and a half years now, and not once have I ever felt “alone.” My kids are widely loved and have a ton of strong adult role models in their lives.
Last week, despite all of that, my resolve was tested.
There was the usual chaos of work and trying to help out a friend or two in need (remember, be one?), that unexpected bill, and all those other stresses that we are all faced with. The standard “when it rains, it pours” kind of week. The kicker was Friday.
My little guy needed a relatively minor surgery. No big deal, right? Just find a way to get the other kid to school on time while guessing what time I should have the little one to the hospital (And which hospital was it again? After all, it had already been rescheduled twice). Oh, and don’t let the two-year-old eat or drink anything – sure, no problem. Logistics figured out – that’s my specialty.
Everyone got where they needed to be on time. And the little guy and I spent a lot of time bonding coloring on hospital sheets, putting stickers on his gown and mask, and answering the same questions over and over. He’s a great kid – not once did he complain or fuss, even though I knew he had to be scared and starving.
And then they finally took him away for his surgery. Every parent would hurt at that moment. We all fear for our kids health and safety, especially when it’s in someone else’s hands. But when I walked out into the waiting room, I was very much alone.
To be fair, I didn’t tell many people what was happening ahead of time, and I didn’t ask any of my friends to go with me. In retrospect, I should have. But maybe my son’s attitude through all the waiting was his way of being strong for me. Maybe this time I didn’t fall apart because he didn’t. Maybe he’s learning a little strength from his mother, and I from him.
For the record, everything went fine and he recovered almost instantly, as kids have a way of doing. And yes, my friends berated me for not asking anyone to be there with me. But, then again, the hospital staff might have been a little unhappy with an army of supporters in the waiting room.
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She also is organizer for Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.