A Single Mom is not a Father

A single mom is not a Dad. 

We can stop the, “Happy Father’s Day to me because I’m doing it on my own.”
A single mom is a Mother who is handling the responsibility meant for two people, by herself. This is noble, this deserves respect, and should be celebrated…on Mother’s Day. 

A Father is a man who contributed not only half of his DNA but half of his heart to a child. A Father is a man who fell in love with a woman and chose to love her the little ones who came from her as well.  A Father is a man who signed papers, went through numerous court appearances, and paid money to become the father of a child whose parents decided they couldn’t. A Father is a man who noticed that young man or woman who needed him. 

He had to introduce himself, remain consistent, and invest in raising a little girl to know what a mans love should feel like and a little boy to know what a man should be. 

It’s a daily walk of being a picture of strength throughout your day and being a soft spot for the family when you get home.  Being a Father is hard but I’ll be damned if I haven’t seen more guys grabbing this title proudly and excelling in it. 

A single Mom is not a Father. She’s a warrior of a woman who deserves recognition on her day. Let’s leave Father’s Day for the Dads. 

So, You Want To Be Married?

Today, I walked past the church where my husband and I got married almost three years ago. The church is beautiful and I fell in love with it the moment I stumbled upon it walking home from work one evening in 2012. I had to get married there. And we did. I sometimes walk past it just to be nostalgic and mushy and today one of those days. It looked the same, except, one door was open. Typically I walk by in the early morning or late evening during the weekday and the doors are closed. But not today. It seemed to be inviting me in. I said to the open door jokingly, “What? You want me to get married again?” Joke or not, truth is, I do get married again. Everyday. 

When we were planning our wedding we were excited and giddy. We would tell couples who had been married for 10 plus years that we were getting married and I remember this look they all gave. It was a mix of joy, hope, “poor baby”, “who left the milk out?”, and indifference all rolled into one. I didn’t understand it then but now I do. As a mother for almost ten years now, it’s the same look I give childless people when they share their “tips” on how to be a good parent. Chile, THE DOOR.

And my issue is this: 

As married people, we say “I am Married.” Like a title, a descriptor. It’s really cute to say when you first become married. You feel proud. Accomplished. After a couple of years though, I sort of cringe when I say it because I feel like marriage is not something I am, it’s something that I’m actively doing everyday. Working on it. Getting better at it. Getting stronger in it. Yeah, you’re married. But are you in a marriage?

“If I have to pick up your clothes from the floor one more time I will die.”

“You wait until the last minute to tell me we have to do something. What’s up with that?”

Those are both things that my husband and I have said to one another in the past week. The first one is mine. Couldn’t you tell? DRAMATIC! The second is his. We get on each others nerve. But if you ask either one of us, right after we said these statements, if we’d want to do marriage with any one else we’d both answer “Not a chance.”

All married couples have aspects of marriage that they do really well. Some are great at getting one-on-one time in with one another, or running a business together, meeting financial goals, or planning family activities. Me and my husband are excellent communicators. We kick all categories of ass in communication. Our disagreements are level headed, inclusive sessions of seeking understanding. We don’t get petty and hurtful. 

That right there? That’s not us. But what was brought to my attention through my church family recently is that evil will use what you so believe in against you in an attempt to get you to fail (like Satan tempted Jesus). Take us for example: we are so good at communicating and understanding each other that sometimes we forget to verbally do it! Isn’t that a trip? We just think the other gets it and understands but they may not. We still have to actually communicate. Because if we don’t, other things will start doing it for us. When other things in this world like Facebook, “friends”, and work start doing our marriage for us we are bound to fail.

The game changes constantly so it’s impossible to just BE married. You have to DO it daily. You have to revive it, rebirth it, and readjust it constantly as your marriage grows and changes. 

I choose to forgive everyday. I choose to work on getting to know him more everyday. I choose to get better at being a companion. And it’s work, but it’s not hard work. It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do because out of all the things I don’t get to choose in life, I got to choose him. And I’m going to be active in my choice. The title isn’t enough for me. Saying “I am Married” is outdated and speaks of a moment in our marriages lifetime. It was born on October 26, 2013 but its toddler now. It’s fearless, independent, emotional, pure, and full of potential. 

So to my soon to be married ladies and gentlemen… Enjoy the wedding. Enjoy checking the “Married” box on your tax forms. Enjoy calling him your husband. Enjoy calling her your wife. But also enjoy getting married again every morning until your marriage is potty trained, graduates high school, and has 401(k). *Disclaimer: This will likely take a lifetime.

Is anything original?

I have a belief that there are no original ideas left. This is my inherent suffering as a writer.

My writing time goes a little something like this…

Maybe I should write a novel about a slave who tries to rebel and escape but is wounded by…nah, that’s “Roots”.

Perhaps, my literary prowess can take me on a magically journey. A kid, grows up orphaned. Raise by his relatives buts discovers he is speci…Hello “Harry Potter”.

A young woman meets rich man with a kinky fetish who.. that’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” …and my Daddy would return me to the earth.

I even tried to stop reading for a while. I thought that by reading I was shoving their awesome stories into my head and by some new medical miracle pushing out my original thoughts. But my reading strike didn’t work. I’d get through writing a few chapters of a new story that had me excited…but then I’d think “This is too good. Someone MUST have written this already.” Pencils down. Test over.

So, what do I do when I want to know if my plight is unique to me? I Google it to see what other people are thinking about what I’m thinking. Sly little minx aren’t I? To no ones surprise there many people who feel the exact same way that I do. That all the great American novels are already on bookshelves. On high school reading lists. In people’s hearts and minds. There’s no need to waste more paper.

But I enjoy wasting paper. Writing my words and having other people react to them and connect. What do I do with this feeling that was put here? I’ve written fan fiction since I was a child. Crouching low in my desk during Social Studies. Instead of taking notes, I was writing the next great saga about B2K. My friends taking notes and letting me peak at them for the answer if I got called on by the teacher. These stories were real to me. Until I got older and writing couldn’t just be fun anymore. It had to provoke change. It had to entertain. Most of all it had to make money.

For me that’s when the pressure set in. I need to be unique. I need to unravel a plot line that will have people taking extra therapy sessions to work through all the buried issues in their lives that MY BOOK unearthed. I was going to be THAT DEEP y’all. And I mean, if i’m reaching for that, no wonder my engine conked out under the pressure. No wonder I stalled.

But lately, I’ve done my share of complaining, Prayer, and Googling (the millennial Trinity. Amen.) I’m chasing the wrong thing. I’m chasing uniqueness. Something that I don’t have to chase because I already am. What I actually am looking for is authenticity. See, even great stories like Harry Potter and Star Wars have the same plot line. Think about it. It’s true. Orphaned kid, raised by relatives, discovers he’s the second coming of badassness and vows to avenge his parents deaths. Yep, thank you Google (and Melissa Donovan).

Aren’t these stories still epic? It’s because they are rooted in an authentic feeling, a heartbeat that we can all sync with until the last scene in those stories. The anger. The confusion. Hurt. Happiness. It all flows through. That’s why we soak it up. That’s why it is celebrated. Because it’s real and authentic. Human. It’s the human experience and it was written well before I came into existence so I can’t hope to rewrite it any better. What I can hope to do is keep connecting with the source and keeping connecting with others. This will keep feeding the well. There will be no need to search for it because it will already be full and waiting.

I’m not going to worry if the next words I write are unique.

Whatever I write will be unique because I am but it will be authentic because of who we all are.

“Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I made you a prophet to the nations.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭CEB‬‬

I’m Angry. Delightfully so.

Angry
I’m angry. Am I’m delighted. I’ve been chasing anger for miles but it’s always a little faster than me. Always a little farther out. Farther than my resolve.

 It was less than a year ago I pulled my co-worker into an empty office. Confused. But she was my confidant because she’d been in this confused placed before. I told her that I thought my husband may be interested in another woman. May be cheating on me. She gave me the “Oh honey. I’m sorry” eyes and quickly corrected her. That’s not why I’m coming to you. For sympathy. No. I’m coming to you because when the thought of him with another woman raced across my mind…I felt nothing. I was not hurt. Mad. I was not. Angry. What does that mean? Shouldn’t I be? “No.” She said. “When you’ve been hurt a lot it’s sometimes difficult to feel strong emotions again.”

 It was a little over a year ago that I stepped on a scale. Curious more than anything. I’d had a baby and my pre-baby clothes were cutting off my air supply but still I wanted confirmation. Exactly how fat was I? The scaled ticked and waivered before it stopped. Forty pounds more than when I peed on a stick for the first time. My eyebrows raised. And then lowered. I stepped off, slid the scale back under my bed and went and ate. No disappointment. No hurt. No anger.

 It’s been almost two years since I’d written a single creative word. I’d deleted the blog app on my phone. I’d never make a living as a writer. No one would read my ideas. I couldn’t waste time on this…leisure. Useless is what writing is. A waste. Indifferent. Not angry.

 “Hey, I missed you at church this Sunday.” She was being polite. She’d missed me at church every Sunday for the past few months. I could barely pull myself out of bed to get to Jesus. I figured he’d come to me if he really wanted me right? I didn’t have the energy to smile. To pretend to pray when I was thinking about my empty bank account. My husband, possibly not loving me. My frequent courts visits to fight for a child I’d raised and loved since he was in my womb. The executives who looked at me across a conference room table and I could hear them thinking “You’re not good enough.” My apartment in the ‘hood. Where a group of guys smoking. Drinking. Playing loud music greeted me and my babies every time I came home from a long day’s work. I don’t want to pass them. I shouldn’t have to pass them. To get home. The home I pay for. But I have to. I have no choice.

 I part the cloud of smoke. Hold my breath as I step on the rank elevator. I push the smooth silver button. 9 levels of humid rank heat. My hands shake as I open my door and before I know it my keys are flying. Down the dark hallway. Ricocheting against the cement walls. My chest heaves. I can’t breathe but it’s way too much air. I’m hot even though it’s cool. And I know what it is. Anger. I caught it. I caught up. It’s here and it’s everything. All-encompassing and surrounding me and I miss it and hate it and want it to stay and wish it would go away. I’m so delighted. Delighted in anger.

 The last time I was angry I lost fifty pounds. The last time I was angry I finished four semesters in college as a single mom while holding a full time job. The last time I was angry I packed up all my ex’s shit and gently delivered it to his grandmother’s house for safe keeping. The last time I was angry… I wrote. A lot. The words poured out and I would re-read them and marvel at how beautiful they were. The last time I was angry I met the love of my life because I wouldn’t settle for anything else. And I know he loves me. But I was angry that I didn’t, once again, love me. See, when I’m angry, I’m changed. My anger isn’t all raw emotion with no destination. It’s a pusher. A dynamo. A life-changer.

 So, I’m angry now. And. I’m delighted.