I’m alone with D for the bulk of about three weeks, until I leave for LA, save a couple of days off at the beginning of his spring break Sun-Tues when he will be with his father. He front-loaded March because I had several days I couldn’t take him as scheduled due to PTA crap and other stuff, so now it’s my turn to row.
I miss my son all the time when we are not together. Badly. But yeah, the single parenting thing, is tough, and by my definition, that’s what it is if you are parenting ALONE, whether temporarily because your spouse travels for work (short- or long-term; I don’t know how military wives do it). I know he does have another parent and we share custody so it’s not really “single parenting” all the time, but when you have him, you’re alone, and generally unless it is an emergency, the other person is unavailable. And there isn’t anyone else to help, either.
Which is generally fine, though the push-pull of alternating weeks has taken me time to adjust to. I load up the fridge in advance of D’s week with me, and by the end of the week, the gourmet meals I cooked ahead to reheat are often long gone, and I’m offering him the choice of takeout pizza or a PBJ or something. I don’t eat much on the weeks he isn’t here, I don’t feel I need the calories or the regular meals so I just skip eating most of the time and subsist on whatever is around, somewhat mindlessly. Dinner can be rice. Or chips and salsa. Lunch is whatever crap I have at work, cobbled together to make enough food to make my stomach shut up – a handful of nuts, a hunk of cheese I had in the fridge, a Larabar, or a business lunch. I don’t much eat breakfast except on the weekends with D. Who knew shared custody offered built-in weight control?
So it’s fine, except when you’re sick. Then it’s trying, but manageable. Take some meds, muddle through until the kid is in bed. But hurt is another thing. I knew it would happen sooner or later, and obviously I’m way more glad I’m the one that got hurt than D, but last night was scary. We were playing on the (slippery/wet from the rain, wooden-floored) huge, sprawling gazebo at my apartment complex, in a new tag game he made up a few days’ prior. I lost my footing and slid getting to the “safe” bench on one side, and rammed my leg so hard into the bench (also twisting my ankle and falling at the same time) that I thought I broke it. The pain was so bad at first I thought I would vomit, and I couldn’t even talk to D when he was asking if I was ok. I managed to tell him to go get my phone and little shoulder wallet/purse I carry with me on these outings from the other bench, and tried to decide if I should call an ambulance or if we could just sit there and maybe I would feel ok in a few minutes. D was not scared, he just felt bad I was hurt and kept hugging me while I tried hard to get my wits together and assess the damage. I was crying, and I hate crying in front of him, but it really fucking hurt. I had to take down my pants laying there on the gazebo floor, so I could see what the damage was. Black, instantly, and a scrape and a lot of red, but no compound fracture poking through or anything. After a few minutes of adrenaline going through me, I was able to get up and we limped back home very slowly. Unlike the last time we were at the gazebo, wherein D threw giant tantrums the whole way home from 50 feet behind me, he held my hand the whole way without complaint. I explained I would need to get ice on it as soon as we got home and that I would need his help for the rest of the night.
He was such a goddamned good boy. He really was. I was in a little bit of shock from the pain, and from the ice I was applying, and my teeth were chattering. He went and got me a blankie from the other couch and laid it on top of me, and that made me cry again because I was so touched. I directed him to some self-serve snacks when he said he was hungry for snack and he got into his pajamas without complaint when it was time. He kept asking me if my leg was better and all night, I really didn’t know. My foot was numb and my lower leg wasn’t really working right, and the calf, shin and foot muscles kept cramping but I couldn’t see that anything was really, really wrong, and I was trying to avoid an evening in the ER. I contacted a friend who knows about first aid for advice and stuck with ice, ibuprofen and elevation for the evening.
D wanted to crawl in with me in the night, and I let him, though I put a big pillow in between us and he was on the other side of my bag leg. One false move and I would have been screaming in pain.
Rest does wonders. And since we did not have to get up for work or school, I got a fair amount. It was fuck all painful this morning but clearer that nothing was broken. I was able to walk and move everything normally and the numbness was gone. I was just left with the ugliness of the injury and the pain.
Running, in the near future, is completely out of the question. Of course, I just got new running shoes. So that kind of sucks.
But at least I was able to drive and get things done that needed done today, with some difficulty; nothing I couldn’t deal with through gritted teeth. A bit short on patience and energy from the pain. The kid watched a lot of TV today and didn’t move around as much as we both would like him to, but he will live. But you know, it was scary. I felt like I had pretty much no options. His Dad had already told me he was sick with a bad cold last yesterday and took off work and was going to bed early, and he isn’t the best at hearing the phone when asleep. I probably would have had to take D with me to an hours-long ER room visit. And then what, if something had to be done like surgery. What do they do with little kids in that case? CPS? Jesus, I didn’t even want to think about it. Luckily, there was no ‘and then what,’ so that was avoided, for now. But it reminded me how alone I am in this. No friends I contacted were able to come over and help me last night or today, and I managed to steel through it. But it’s damned lonely sometimes and really fucking sucks when you could really use some help and there isn’t any, and that’s the bare facts I had to come to terms with.
Lately, I feel like a buoy that’s lost its tether, and last night, it was like someone drove their boat on top of the buoy and it was drowning. It wasn’t good. But I was lucky, and my sweet boy is asleep in his bed, and really that’s all that matters.
I read him a Richard Scarry book tonight that we hadn’t read before, and in between pages, there are occasional bits of Mother Goose, which he is pretty much way past. I read him a short one I knew he hadn’t heard before, and when I finished, he said, “Mom, that was SO LAME.” We both just laughed and laughed. He has an amazing heart.