Exhausted. Tired. Overwhelmed… plus all of the other dramatic emotions you can name. That’s how I feel right now. But most of all, concerned. An actual worry for every single, single-mother out there. How in the world do you do it??? Day in and day out. Work, pay rent, cook, play, love, shower yourself, shower them, discipline, homework, breathing, etc. etc. etc. You single-mothers are the queens of “etc.” And for the few single dads out there, Wow! You are my new heroes. You are the Mother Theresa’s of parenting. Honor and praise.
Seriously single parents, I am so impressed with your courage. Your willingness to stay. Your selfless surrender to someone else. You are the ones who are worthy of Emmys and Oscars and Noble Peace Prizes. Because usually the people that are out there winning awards are the ones who are sacrificing their families for it. Not always, but a lot. Yet your award is eternal. I have no doubts, God will reward your sacrifice. And if you want it, come to my place and get a big bowl of rice and beans. You’ve earned it!
But let me tell you about Alejandro almost dying today. Not kidding. 60 miles an hour down a steep hill behind our house. On a kiddie bike with a Spider Man singing sons on the steering wheel. Off he went. My 3 year old. To meet his Maker. And I froze.
He went from 0 to 60 faster than a Porsche. He’s never tried it before. We have never played that game. It was one I was reserving for when he was 18 and about to go to college. Just too steep and too risky. But down he went and a voice spoke to me and said, “stop showing him “Fail” videos on You-Tube you goose!”
It took 10 seconds and ka-boom, crashed against the tree. I started to run Usain Bolt style, while screaming like an old Puertorican lady, and calling his name out loud. In the 5 seconds that it took me to get to him, I saw his bloody nose, His unconscious body, I saw myself picking him up, I saw the ambulance arriving, I heard myself calling Catherine. But none of that happened. He got up slowly and said in his hybrid southern-british-is-it-spanish-he’s-speaking?-accent, “That was so fast!” And even when he realized that there was actual blood leaking from his forehead and an acorn pocking through his nose, he then asked with half a smile, “again?”
Nope. Not again. Not anytime soon. Because Daddy prides himself in being cool, permissive, raw, crazy and fun but Daddy is actually shaking right now. (And I was for a good 20 minutes.) I just love my kids way too much. Being cool is not really that important. I want him alive. And now, I realized, I am official OLD! Ancient. Senile. Done with my youth.
It my sons turn now. It’s my time to fear and worry and put a GPS in their phones without them knowing about it. I have done enough crazy things in my life. I almost died in the jungles of Costa Rica. I almost drowned in a remote island in Indonesia. We flew with a drunk pilot in a 4 passenger plane in Venezuela. (My mom is just finding out right now) (Te amo Mami)
But that’s all done. Done! Finito! ¡No más! I chose the boredom of parenting. Gladly I do. It’s my job now to protect. To be slightly annoying. To make my boys think about consequences. To help them make the right choices. And when they don’t (and the rebel in me hopes they don’t every once in a while) I will be there. To clean and heal and love and pick them up. That is what my parents did. And I’m so glad they were able to live in the tension of permission and correction with so much beauty and grace.
My eldest has a trophy on his forehead today. It was a Jackass moment worthy of version 4.0. And I experienced something new today, the feeling of being old. I’m cool with it. Because the boys are now my adrenaline rush.
Missing Catherine. Grateful for helpful friends. Ready to sleep for 12 hours, but it will probably be more like 6. Maybe 7. Please pray for 8.
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