The Silver Lining In Single MotherhoodChristine Coppa
I’ve been a single mom since I was 11-weeks-pregnant. I’m not a sad story or a statistic. My son, JD, 5 is healthy and happy. I didn’t think my journey, or role as a single mom would be a peach, or a pit. It would be in between—that juicy orangey part that’s a little sweet and sour. I’ve definitely seen the shimmery glimmer that I call the silver lining of single motherhood.
The bond: JD and I are a love story. It’s pure, organic and honest. All parents are close to their kids, love their kids, but when you’re the only parent, the relationship is different. I attest to this, because I am close with my mom and dad. I don’t favor one over the other. I love them both the same and I know I could go to them for anything.
This isn’t the case for JD and he knows it. Not because I told him, because real life speaks louder than a discussion about his absent father. I am the parent that makes his lunch and hides love notes in his lunchbox. I help him sound out words. I take care of that 104 fever at 1 AM alone. It was me and my big belly from 11-weeks-on and our bond started then. We talked, ate olives and listened to music for nine months. (JD loves olives, can’t shut him up and requested the Goo Goo Dolls on the way to school this morning.)
JD is very close to my mom, dad, brothers and friends—but I am his parent. We are so close I trip over him. We have inside jokes. We have date nights. If you ask JD who loves him the most in this world he squeals: “My mommy!” We act as a team. He knows we have to, to survive our world.
This morning at school he pointed to a four leaf clover hanging from the ceiling. It had crumpled up pieces of green tissue paper glued on it and his name: J A C K. He whispered, “I put your name on it too, mommy.” I stood on my tippy toes to see. There was the word “mom” in tiny print. “Why,” I asked. “You’re my good luck charm.”
I believe one day I will have more babies … I will love my babies as much, equal, as l love my JD. BUT, JD and I will have a special love. An I-saw-your-little-beating-flickering heart-alone-in-the-sonogram-room-LOVE. We-went-on-a-babymoon-alone-LOVE. We-moved-when-I-was-7-months-pregnant-LOVE.
The independence: One of my favorite memories of JD and me is pushing his stroller through Newark Liberty International airport. We were flying to Orlando, Florida to meet our friends Matt and Maddy Logelin and embark on a Disney Cruise.
I’ve traveled alone before, but there was something really empowering and overwhelming and glorious about checking in, navigating us to security, removing my shoes, his tiny shoes, taking him out of the stroller (“Hold on to mommy’s shirt,” I said.) as I hoisted his stroller onto the security table. We walked through the metal detector holding hands.
Next, I needed to collect my purse, carry-on, our shoes, coats and the stroller. “Keep holding on to mommy’s shirt,” I said. I managed it all and led JD to a bench. I got his tiny Nikes back on and secured him in the stroller. I slipped into my laceless Converse, shoved our coats under the stroller, crossed my purse over my body, pushed the stroller with one hand and dragged the carry-on with the other.
I remember being nervous letting JD out of his stroller while we waited to board. I needed to keep an eye on my 2-year-old, the stroller and our stuff. It worked out. On the plane I secured his seatbelt and gave him his blanky. He fell asleep before we took off with his hand in mine. This was a bigger deal to me than it’s reading. I just proved something to myself that day. We can do this, kid.
The village: I have my parents, dad’s GF and brothers. But I also have my friends. Friends that call themselves Aunt Katie and Uncle Jay, though blood does not connect us. My friends Amy and Ed, parents of JD’s buddy, Lily, have become like family. I leave JD with them, they leave Lily with me. Being a parent introduces you to all these cool people you never would have known before. I grew up in the same town as many of my parent friends, but we never knew each other because a few years divided us. These days, we crack jokes in the school parking lot and clank beers at afternoon hangouts.
I take special note of the attention my friends’ husbands show JD when we’re out together. One friend, Chris, always wins JD a stuffed toy at the carnival and pushes him higher than me on the swing set. His teachers at school hug him every morning. My neighbors check on us when there’s a storm and high five JD in the hallway. Nick, an older, Italian gentleman on our floor calls JD, “Jackie Boy” and slips him dollar bills, lol. I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful people in our lives.
Tell me about your single parent silver lining.
What types of things are you looking forward to doing in the warmer weather? Please chime in.
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