Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man


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An open letter to my son’s father on his 3rd birthday

Today he played with his new toy. A police car. He loves police cars. And fire trucks. But you don’t know that. There are a million things about him you don’t know. You choose not to know. 
Today he asked me to call you. I did. Twice. Only to hear you send our call to voicemail and to hear my voice telling him that you are probably busy. 

I wish I could say you are a bad father. But I can’t. I don’t know that. I don’t know if you are a bad father. Or a good father. You simply never even tried to be one. It’s like you are afraid of failing so therefore you don’t even try. 

But I think that’s me just trying to humanize you. That’s me trying to excuse your shitty behavior towards our son. Reality is, you just don’t want the trouble, the work and the responsibility of raising your child. You never did. With all 5. 

And that makes me angry. 

I am angry. 

But apparently I am not allowed to be. Because to be angry means to be crazy. And we all know I’ve already used all the craziness allowed. 

So for the last two and a half years that you haven’t called or texted, I have pretended that your despicable actions are okay. That they don’t affect me or our child. I have to be the bigger person. Anything less than that makes me look bitter. And we all know society doesn’t like bitter women. 

But it I am tired. 
I am tired of lying to him every time he asks about you. I am tired of telling him you are out there saving the world with spider man. I am tired of making excuses to save your selfish ass. Because by protecting his feelings I am allowing you to control mine. 

While you live your life pretending he doesn’t exist, I live ours protecting your image to him and it’s holding me hostage. 

I am done being a hostage. 

If the world wants to think I am crazy for speaking up then so be it. If the world wants to think I am trashing my son’s father to him by simply refusing to lie any longer then so be it. If the world thinks I am bitter for simply stating things as is then so be it. 

You can run but your can’t hide. You can pretend he is not your son but one day you will have to answer to him. You can live your life pretending if you are not a dad of 5 but every night your failures will haunt you. 

In the meantime he is healthy, he is happy and he is thriving. 

Today is his birthday. Another year of accomplishments. 

And you get zero credit for it. 

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Nope. 30 Ain’t The New 20.

Turns out, 30 years old is just 30 years old. An age that means you are old enough not to feel young anymore, but not old enough to complain about it. It’s like the middle child of ages… no one is impressed or thinks your turning 30 is a big deal but you.

Today one of my good friends is joining me and turning 30 and I’m not having one of those aha moments of gratitude about my age, which trust me, I do have. A lot. I get that the alternative to aging is terrible, but this post isn’t about that. Instead, I’m treating myself to a blunt assessment of what 30 years of life feels like and what is ahead of me. If you are reading through this post hoping for some kind of wise reflection at the end about how age is “only a number” or “you’re only as old as you feel inside,” abandon ship now. This is going to go full-on honest, with zero redemption, and without a neat resolution to lift you up. I’m going to end it in the middle of a thought with a preposition, because.

Aging by the Numbers
Once you reach your first milestone of aging, you quickly learn that if your age ends in a “9,” it’s somehow worse than if it ends in “0.” So, 29 is actually a worse age than 30 because you are the oldest of the twenty-somethings and dangerously close to putting a fork in another decade of lost dreams, unrealized potential, and your skin’s losing battle with elasticity. You figure out that at least when you turn 30, or start any other fresh decade, you become the young’un and can cobble together a fair amount of optimism for how you are going to take hold of this decade and make it your bitch. It’s sweet you think that.

Being the OCD number freak that I am, as I age, I learned that the “0” to “4” at the end of your age is fantastic, and once you hit the “5,” like 25, you round up. You are essentially 30 and everyone knows it. Second halves of decades go faster. It’s proven… probably. You can tell you are in the late half of the decade because people will say, “Wow, you look good… for your age,” which is not even a compliment. But take it. It’s as good as it gets.

So, 30. One third of the way to 90. Ninety. Nine-ty. We all know how fast the first 30 years flew by, so, in the blink of an eye you’ll be that old person who has fallen and can’t get up — only it won’t be so funny then. And here’s a curveball… I’m not even sure I want to live to 90. Think of all the meals you’ll have to think about and cook? I’m already sick of all food. Think of all the people you’ll have to pretend to like. Think of all the dumb things you will have to hear from 21-year-old idiots who think they are smarter than you and got life all figured out.

And think of your body. If I take my body today and add another 60 years of aging to it, I don’t think that’s going to be a good time, and let me tell you why…

Gravity.
Can you even imagine another 30 years of gravity having its way with your skin, fat, boobs… your junk? Yeah, that’s right, guys. Gravity ain’t helping you either. If it’s sagging now, it’s not going to get any better unless you start walking everywhere on your hands, which is something I have seriously considered.

Digestive System.
A few months ago, my body gave me an early birthday present. Suddenly, without any warning, and because it clearly hates me, it decided, unilaterally, that it was done processing the sugary food I love the way it used to when I was 28. Yup. Just, “F you, B. I’m not processing your shit anymore.” Since then I have gained more weight than I have lost and every single meal is a trip to guilt hell.

I can’t express to you how much I love sweets. Instead of this blog, I toyed with the idea of just writing an ode to sweets, but I couldn’t see through the tears to type it.

You’re 30 now. No sugar for you. Unless you want to be a fat whale.

Sleeping Injuries.
You know, that complete immobility you feel in your neck that’s the result of nothing more than sleeping in your bed? Yup. I spent the day unable to look left. I can barely look right, either, but I’m trying to sprinkle in a little bit of optimism here. The truth is if I just sit here and look straight ahead, it hurts like hell. With every radiating shard of pain, my body seems to be saying, “You know you’re old, right?”

And it’s not just cricks in the neck. It’s all kinds of weird body aches you will now get just by sleeping. You’ll think wistfully about the time you fell off your bike when you were 12, Evel Knievel style… over the handlebars, into a complete asphalt roll… and were completely fine. Nothing even hurt. Nothing. You walked away from that with full mobility. Now, you just wake up in the morning and your knee buckles. And because you are in complete denial about the aging process, you start to ponder what might have caused it, out loud, to anyone who will listen. You throw out ridiculous things like that exercise class you took a week ago, that bike crash when you were 12. But it’s nothing. Nothing caused it except good old-fashioned aging mixed with the seemingly benign act of sleeping.

Zits
I wish I could think of one upside to turning 30, like at least I no longer have to deal with acne. But just this weekend I got three zits. Two unpoppable ones on my forehead that seem to be hardwired into my skull. And one massive blackhead on my chin that I managed to squeeze, creating a cut/soon-to-be scar, while the blackhead stayed perfectly intact, mocking me. I don’t know how to pop a blackhead. I’m 30.

Bars
Perhaps the most annoying thing about turning 30 in my opinion is having to share your favorite dive bar and secret bottomless mimosa place with 21 year olds. What I once love about going to bars and hanging out with “adults” is now just another reason to complain about aging. We are now those “adults” we used to look up to when we were 21. The other day I had a 25 year old BOY offer to buy me a drink. Yes boy. Anything under 30 is automatically a child to me.

No thank you. I will stick to my bourbon that I paid for. You can move along to the children’s table at Ihope please.

Heartwarming Conclusion
Lest you get caught up in the “30 is the new 20” nonsense, brought to you by the makers of Oil of No Way, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. Twenty was 10 years of youth-you-will-never-get-back ago. What you have gained in wisdom is now being cancelled out by your lack of memory. What you have gained through experience is being cancelled out by “nobody gives a crap what you think, old dude.” So, guess what? You’re just 30. Halfway to 60. One third to 90. A good 12 years past high school graduation. Probably two years away from qualifying for an AARP card, which you should totally get… I hear the deals are amaaazing. And 20 years from complete irrelevance, if you’re lucky. But don’t despair. It’s all good, because at least you aren’t 35. That would be half way to decade hell.