I made friends with a new single mom, *Jane in my building. Her son is 4 and she told me I’m lucky.
On Friday, JD and I bounded out of our Jeep. I was carrying my purse, his nap bag, his lunchbox, my laptop case and my travel coffee mug. In all fairness, JD was carrying 3 cars, 2 superhero figures and a goody bag from a school birthday party. We should have consolidated.
JD swiped the key fob and the door buzzed open. I opened it and held it propped with my foot. “Go in buddy!” I said and JD wiggled around me. Then I felt the door release from my foot. It was Jane. She smiled brightly at me. “Hello!”
“Thanks, I said.” “Hey!”
The 3 of shuffled into the elevator. I wondered where her son *Jeff was, but bit my tongue. JD is always with me. When I show up to the Farmer's Market or Deli without him, people ask me where he is. Everyone loves my cheese-eating kid. JD was excited to press our floor’s button and Jane’s. We made small talk—it's cold again, TGIF, blah-blah-blah. When the elevator stopped at our floor I mentioned that we should get together with the kids this weekend in the courtyard and play ball. I assumed Jane was a solo single mom like me. She’s not.
*Jeff isn’t with me this weekend,” she said and made a signature sad face. JD had already run down the hall to talk to Nick, a silver fox gentleman from our floor. He goes out with Claire—a single mom with grown children and a little grandson, JD's age. Love her. We chat and she looks out for us. It's really cute.
“Oh, with Dad,” I said? I was prying.
“Yep,” Jane said, holding the door so it wouldn’t slide shut. She wanted to talk.
“That’s cool. I guess you get a little break, right?” I said (crap, that sounded bad. Who wants a break from their kid!? $^%#*@*). I rebounded: “My son’s dad never met him and lives four states away.” Shrug.
“I wish that was my situation,” she said. “I’m jealous. You’re so lucky!” I heard JD’s deep belly laugh, likely because Nick was telling him a joke.
When we got inside, JD took off his sneakers, popped them into the basket and went into the bathroom to wash his hands. I opened the fridge and pulled out some leftover spaghetti, a bag of salad and a red pepper. When I closed the fridge door JD was sitting on the rug. “I’m gonna build a car wash while you cook dinner, Mom.” I smiled. This is OUR routine. WE have a solid routine. Life is crazy sometimes, but we’re a team and for the most part, we work together.
I guess I should count myself lucky. I really, truly don’t have to deal with any baby mama BS drama. My son’s dad pays his child support—on time. We communicate civilly via email about extra money he owes for activities, school and healthcare under the court order. But he ignores every picture I sometimes send and refuses to respond or even acknowledge questions about visiting or even suggesting what he would like me to tell JD about him. Well, I'm lying. Once he said: "I don't care and this is how it will always be." He should care. Things will not always be this way. He is not the only party here.
JD’s father has a son. Isn’t he wondering about what his son is going to think of him when he finds out he left his half-brother and refuses to acknowledge him? I know about the shades of grey when it comes to life, but I also know about the black and white parts too and the example I constantly set for JD. We have no secrets. There are no elephants living at our condo or lurking in shadows.
Am I a lucky single mom? JD’s dad abides by the LAW and he isn’t doing anything special in my eyes. There are definitely dads that a single mom might not want her kid around. These are bad guys (no idea what Jane's ex is like, btw): druggies, abusers, low lives, in child support arrears up to their necks—in jail (hi, VH1 Mob Wives). (Some of the moms are bitter and stand in the way, too.) My son’s father is NONE of these.
He’s selfish—and this is the most negative thing I shall blog about him.
What is your single parent situation like?