It was an inopportune time to be crying.
But the tears were running down by face, sparked by a story the makeup artist was telling me.
I was going to my first black-tie affair since my divorce. The first black-tie event I’d been to without a date since my late twenties.
It was an auction for my children’s school, so as events go, probably among the most friendly and least intimidating. I would know a lot of my fellow attendees. And yet, as anyone who has ever gone solo to any event knows, there is the potential for nerve-wracking moments.
I had shared my predicament with Janine, the woman who makes me look like I’m outfitted to do something more than laundry when I have a special place to go. She has known me for years. As she applied my eye makeup, she said: “You were meant to sit in my chair tonight.”
Then she proceeded to tell me the story of her mother, newly single, trying to go to her first solo event. Janine and her sister watched out the window as their mother walked to the garage, and then turned around to head back toward the house.
Halfway there, she did an about-face and headed back toward the car. And then the house.
On it went for several revolutions. They could see her wring her hands and talk to herself.
She finally got into the car and drove away, looking a bit lost.
You see why the tears were flowing? I wanted to go back in time and give her a standing ovation.
If you’ve not done this, you don’t always get it. And by “this”, I mean gone it alone as a single parent.
I frequently have women complain to me about how busy they are now that they’re working. And I think of the helpful spouse they have at home, as they kvetch about how to fit it all in.
No shit, Sherlock.
I’m not saying I get special dispensation because I do this mommy, executive, entrepreneur, chief cook and bottle washer thing on my own. But I probably won’t have a ton of sympathy for your can-you-believe-I-had-to-work-all-day, -chauffeur, -cook-and-clean-while-my-husband-was-out-of-town-for-a-whopping-three-days spiel?
Three whole days? Really? Why, how did you manage? I’m surprised you’re still standing.
But, for women like Janine’s mother, who power through, figure it out, deal with the screaming meanies in their head telling them this event will be terrifying and go anyway, knowing full well they’re back on the treadmill of life, work and motherhood the next day?
Well, these women have my ear. And my heart. God bless them for what they do.
For churning out children who may fall temporarily but eventually follow one hell of an example of how to keep it together.
For paying bills at midnight, making pancake breakfasts before their kids’ longest days and still managing to find time to make it to good friends’ birthday celebrations, parents’ funerals and other moments that matter.
That is grace. That is grit. That is beauty.
It may not always be graceful, strong and beautiful.
But that’s neither here nor there.
It’s deserving of a few tears. Or a helping hand. Or, quite possibly, a round of applause.
I had a few beautiful people (and they know who they are) nudge me into this first event. Show me kindness. Get it, without needing an explanation.
Their support made a difference.
And yours could too.
Who do you know that could use it?
Chances are, they could use a standing ovation right about now.
21 Comments Add yours
Single mamas unite!! Thank you!
Right?! We need to support each other:).
Been there too! You’re sooo understood!
Been there. I’ve been a single working parent, a working parent with a new spouse and now a married non-working parent. I’ve seen all sides. It’s never easy. Just keep being the best you can be.
Good job for going to the event. That took courage.
I am thankfully not a single Mom, but my mother is. She was and always has been my real life superhero. For all of those who say things nothing short of insensitive, there are others like me in the shadows of your life, whom you may not even know, see you. They see you and they marvel at your every simple step and they whistle under their breath as you breeze in and out, twenty hats in hand and they wonder, “How the HELL does she do it?”
Kudos Kay. You too are that superhero to your kids, and to many unknown admirers.
Oh. Tears in my eyes. Thank you for making my day. And for being a beautiful supporter to those in your life.
This is great. Just yesterday I was talking to a sweet friend of mine who is a single mom.
She works 40 hours a week, has a 16 year old, a 2 year old, a side business, and goes to school at night. I don’t know how she does it and told her she was absolutely one of my heroes.
She doesn’t see what all she does…but I sure do. Amazing. She gives much more than she gets and that’s ok with her.
Bravo to you…this is fantastic. =)
Bravo to you for telling her. I think that’s an absolutely beautiful thing to do . . .
You may not always be graceful, but what you do is ALWAYS strong and beautiful. Here’s to you:)
Very kind words that I will throw right back at you:). Take a bow.
Yes, it has to be very tough to be single parent, male or female & I give all of you a standing O for your efforts. Please do not forget though that some people who are married do not have that wonderful spouse who interacts with the kids & does chores & is a family person. Sometimes it is just as hard, though in a different kind of way, to be married to someone who works & feels that is all he/she needs to do to contribute to the family. So, money is contributed & vocal opinions in the form of arguments are contributed but little else. These parents are essentially “single” parents too with little support & a lot of stress.
Amen to Anne. I’m right there with you.
You and Anne are both amazing in your own right, but especially in how you deal with cancer with honesty and grit. My hat is off to both of you!
A fantastic post and a tribute to those who are doing it tough and keep going anyway.
Here’s another standing O! I had a similar experience once. Your post brought back how scared and apprehensive I was and also highlights the courage that it takes to push through that fear. Glad you made it through. I hope you had a fab night!! One foot in front of the other, right?!
Thank you, Shara! Always nice to hear from someone who has lived through it:)
Thank you for sharing this! It is a great reminder that regardless of our own seemingly massive problems, other people we know and love might be struggling with something of there own, and they can always use a standing ovation.
Thank you, Cindy! We all need a little support now and then . . .
Congratulations, Kay. I don’t know how you do it.
Great blog!! To be single going to event is one thing (and I remember how much courage that took!) – but to be single and a parent, you’ve made me realize, is another ballgame!! Standing ovation from the west coast!!!!!