I have been on my own for almost three weeks now. We will all take a moment and applaud because the children are still alive. And most of them are still speaking to me, although not usually at the same time.
I am not good at this single parenting thing. For starters I have anxiety issues. As we speak Patrick is downstairs with my SISTER, for goodness sake, and I am wondering if he’s OK. Is he bothering anyone? Did he eat breakfast yet? Did he remember to put his underwear on? I know–none of this sounds like it should be anxiety inducing, but I promise you–it’s worth at least 10 minutes of pure panic. And don’t suggest that I get up and go downstairs and see if he’s OK, because I refuse to be one of those helicopter parents. Plus, I’m lazy and it’s quiet up here.
I have had to get both girls driving. This was NEVER, in the history of EVER, in my plans. I am 99% sure that they are both traumatized beyond repair and all I can say is WHATEVER. I did it. They’re driving. Hand me my medication please.
I am (was?) fanatic about keeping my children clean. The older three are beyond me needing to tell them to take a shower, but they apparently listened to me because they all three usually shower twice a day. Patrick now wants two showers a day. Or he did, until we came to Ohio. I don’t know when Patrick last had a good bath, but I’m pretty sure it was last week sometime. He spends his days running around the backyard with his cousin playing Star Wars, hiding in the bushes and jumping on the trampoline. All perfectly normal little boy activities that leave him grubby beyond belief. And then he goes to bed like that. Parenting FAIL. Whatever.
I have spent months wrestling with the financial aid process for my older three kids. I am convinced that financial aid, or at least the process by which you obtain it so that your children can go to college and become productive members of society, is sent straight from Hell. It is run by frustrated people who don’t get enough sleep at night and were forced to eat brussel sprouts for breakfast lunch and dinner when they were children. They are second only to the IRS in terms of ineptitude and lack of enthusiasm for their job. I’ve met nicer people going through immigration in Miami.
I have had the opportunity to drive all the way across Ohio with my two girls and my Patrick, to meet up with my Daniel and register Heather and Kristina for college. I walked around in a daze, wondering how we got to this point, where those two beautiful amazing human beings are ready to leave home and be grown-ups. I don’t know how I will handle this. Actually I am very sure how I will handle this. I intend to break down and sob. Hourly.
I have the most hilarious, compassionate, beautiful wonderful kids on the planet. Or at least that’s what I think. Maybe, at the end of the day, it won’t matter that Patrick went to bed smelling like a farmer. Or that Heather and Kristina learned to drive with their crazy mother hyperventilating in the passenger seat. Or that Daniel was driving a 1991 Buick when all of his friends were driving a Mustang. (And the Buick was maroon. My GRANDFATHER wouldn’t have driven that car.) Maybe, just maybe, Dan and I did OK with these offspring of ours.
“We’re [parents]) always bluffing, pretending we know best, when most of the time we’re just praying we won’t screw up too badly.”
― Jodi Picoult, House Rules