My head jolted and my eyes flew open, I had fallen asleep at work again. Not a head bob sort of doze, but warm drool running down the side of my face kind of doze. It was 2003, a bright sunny day in August, the sun was streaming through the front windows in the office and every soul that was working was wishing they had the day off. I had been feeling a bit tired the last few weeks. I assumed it was because I had been hitting the gym 2-4 hours every single day, and had dropped from a size 8 to a size 2. I remember thinking I should take a rest day and not go to the gym the next day. Falling asleep at work…it’s kind of a weird thing to remember, I know. I mean out of all the crazy, more exciting things that happen in a person’s life, falling asleep on the job is probably one of the least memorable.
But for me, that moment was probably one of the most memorable moments I have ever had. It was the first time ‘Am I pregnant?’ popped into my head.
Pregnant? No. I’m not married. Can’t be pregnant.
I remember pushing the thought away. After all, I would never be that girl. Raised by a christian family with good morals, good grades, and a good job.
I remember using my excessive workout regiment as an excuse for not getting my period for the last two months. I mean most girls who workout like that miss their period every now and then. Right? Arriving at the local supermarket I remember creeping around the corner into that horrific aisle that no one wants to ever be seen in. The dreaded condom aisle, with all the contraceptives, ointments and tampons oh my! I remember being upset at the price of those stupid pregnancy sticks. I remember thinking of the wasted money I would spend, only to find out I wasn’t pregnant.
I remember sitting on the toilet. I remember reading the directions. I remember peeing on a stick. I remember feeling silly about the whole process. I mean, peeing on a stick? Just weird.
I remember the blue plus sign popping up immediately with no hesitation. I remember the lump in my throat.
I remember rereading the instructions, and trying to convince myself that something had to be wrong with that stick, the instructions clearly state it could take up to a minute for the sign to show negative or positive, my blue plus sign popped up WAY too fast. I remember guzzling water while sitting in that grey stall…in deep denial, grabbing the second pee stick and peeing again. Grabbing the third pee stick and peeing again. I remember three blue plus signs staring up at me. I remember rereading the instructions over and over. I had to be doing something wrong.
I remember going numb. I remember a ringing in my ears.
I remember calling my boyfriend while driving down Gary Ave in Carol Stream , IL. I remember being calm.
Pregnant out of wedlock at the ripe age of 20.
I remember meeting my boyfriend at Baker Square, to talk. I remember silent tears.
I remember sitting on the floor at home that evening, too numb to cry, going through the yellow pages to find a 1-800 free clinic for pregnant moms. I remember feeling so scared. Lonely. I remember feeling a feeling of living a life that was not mine.
I remember the following day, heading to the free clinic, certain my boyfriend would blow me off, and being surprised when he showed up 15 minutes early, with an orange juice and a banana.
I remember the day my parents found out. I remember panic.
I remember the day I looked in the mirror and was grossed out by how fat I was becoming. I remember crying.
I remember the day my son kicked and I could see his feet pressed against the inside of my belly. I remember the uncertaintly and the excitement.
I remember lotion. Lots and lots of ‘Please do not let me get stretch marks lotion’.
I remember the day Eli was born. I remember the moment he latched on to my big boobie…and how amazing and wonderful and rewarding something so simple could be. I remember the cold winter day we took him home.
I remember when reality hit. I remember the day I wanted to leave it all behind. I remember the day I thought it was all too hard. I remember the day I told myself I wasn’t strong enough to do this on my own. I remember lots of crying in a dark the bathroom. I remember breaking down and sobbing followed by headaches, I remember frustration and irritation. I remember the day I stopped breastfeeding, and how I felt sort of useless.
I remember silent tears streaming down my face in the bathroom at work.
I remember sitting at work and missing the karate kicks in my belly (I miss them still, really I do). I remember time passing so fast. I remember all the smiles and all the giggles. I remember the messy dinner plates and fantastic bathtimes. I remember sing along songs and when patti cake was the best game ever. I remember the joy I felt when he crawled and again when he took his first steps. I remember the bumps and bruises and tears and bandaids. I remember all the hugs and kisses and cuddle times. I remember the story times and the first day of school.
A day I will never forget- the day I let go of the back of my son’s two wheeler bike after 2 days and 7 hours of running back and forth, bent over a small bike…I remember my back hurting…I remember having gratitide for my mom who ran along side me so many years ago…I remember the joy…oh the joy in helping him strive and accomplish something that seemed so impossible. Washing all the tears of “I can’t”, “It’s too hard”, “I’m too little” off his heart…and allowing him to embrace just how powerful he really is. Showing him he is and always will be unstoppable as long as he tries over and over. I remember almost giving in that last day, almost allowing him to throw in the towel, almost giving in to his excuses. But I insisited through his tears…I insisited through my frustration. I remember crying in that parking lot…watching him… so grown. So handsome. So brilliantly lite like the sun…the joy on his face…he continues to amaze me…every single day.
I remember feeling guilty for wanting to ever run away. I remember wishing time had not gone by so fast. I remember wishing I had enjoyed those ‘early years’ more.
Yesterday I was in the car with my now, 9 year old son. We were driving home from school and that new song by Katy Perry had come on, ‘Roar’. One of our favorites. Eli and I sing that song every time it comes on. It always brings me back to being young and 16, driving with one of my best girlfriends. We would be in the middle of a gossip fest and suddenly stop mid sentence, turn the radio up and scream, ‘This is our song!’ We would roll the windows down, even if it was a cold winter day in Chicago, and we would sing our hearts out without a single care in the world. Smiling and laughing with an open heart and soul.
So there we were, Eli and I, singing the beginning verses- head bobbing and smiling from ear to ear (after all this is our jam).
And this my friends is why I write this blog today… there was a moment, a silent moment filled with all the emotion above… I looked over at him while we both sang like rock stars, wanting to catch him in this moment of joy, and right when I looked over at my gorgeous 9 year old son he looked at me too. We made eye contact right when the chorus came into play and we smiled, not because we were enjoying our song together but because we were in fact happy…it was a mutual smile, a real genuine I love you smile. We locked eyes for only about 2 seconds, but it was so real. And at that moment while singing I flashed back, like they do in the movies, all the emotion, all the feeling, all the love, all the tears, all the guilt, all the happiness, all the laughter that every mom who loves their children feels in a lifetime. And for moments after that I was consumed in feeling. I wanted so badly to take all those feelings and lock them in a jar. All that love and capture it, keep it. I couldn’t get enough of the feeling as we sang at the top of our lungs. My eyes got misty, and a simple tear fell. It was not a sad tear, it was a happy tear. It was a joyful, we won a battle, type of tear. As if all these years, all the tough times had hung on this very moment. It’s as if my whole life was dependent on this moment when I would be sitting next to my little man and feel all at once everything that it means to be alive. Everything that means anything. All the love that could possibly be felt, in that moment. And I felt courageous, and I felt unstoppable, and I felt so loved. I pictured a bond that was unbreakable, so powerful…a feeling that hit my heart, my soul and my nerves to a point of tears.
A love between a mother and son is unlike any other love. It has to be the most amazing feeling in the world. I will never find a love like this. Unconditional. True. Pure. And although more tough times and uneasy days may be in our future, it is moments like this that make me so grateful for all the decisions I made that got me to that day. I truly have no regrets. I mean, how could I? Any decision I would have made differently would have altered everything, and that 2 second priceless moment may have never happened.
I realized in that moment how very lucky I am. It took me a long time to realize there was no real difference between being a ‘mom’ and being a ‘single mom’.
I use to put a lot of weight on that word, single. It haunted me, followed me around, made my family not as good, or not as happy, because we were minus one. I walked around ashamed, sad if you will, beating myself up mentally…consumed in thoughts about how it could be or should be. Wishing it were all different. It took me about 3 years to finally come to terms with my motherhood. To wear it proudly, to brag about it, and show it off like a badge of honor. I came to a strong understanding of what it really meant to be a mom. And how being an awesome mother had absolutely nothing to do with whether I went to bed with a ring on my finger or had a husband by my side. It took me a long time to realize that my love WAS and IS enough. It took me years to view my family as just as amazing as the next. The amount of love you give to your children has nothing to do with who is walking around your home, has nothing to do with how much money you have. This post doesn’t go out to single moms it goes out to all moms, because we all want the best for our children, we all love our children with all our hearts, we all would go to the ends of the earth to make sure our children are warm and safe and loved, and that has nothing to do with having a man in your home. A mother’s love is separate from the fathers, as is a father from a mother.
Live pure, you mothers of the world. Teach your children to do the same. Namaste. Till next time. Stay Fabulous.