For the past five days I've been parenting on my own. Gilbert's been fishing in Louisiana with his dad, so from Thursday to Tuesday, I've been parenting solo.
Despite the fact that parenting alone during spring break meant neglecting a good bit of work, everything's gone really well. I made plans and stumbled upon plans to keep us busy, because I knew that if I spent the time at home playing referee to two brawling boys, I'd be N.U.T.S. by the time Gilbert got back home. So we made ourselves busy with visits to the following places: the library, my office, the neighbor's, the gym, the store, a birthday party, back to the store, back to the neighbor's, church, and LIFE group. We've had bed parties (some voluntary and some involuntary), made dinner, had baths, clipped fingernails, Skyped with Daddy, had dinner dates, and played outside. And, with the exception of battling my youngest at bed time, I've kept my sanity.
But Monday morning came along. I was beginning to see the light at the end of the single-parenting tunnel when I went outside to herd the boys into the van for school (where I planned to dump Beau, considering Monday's usually his day with Daddy); and the van wouldn't start. Normally in situations like this, I step inside or make a phone call in order to say this (imagine a slightly whiney tone): "Giiilberrrt. My car won't start." But I knew I couldn't do this. Instead, I traipsed over to the sweet, generous neighbor next door and instead said this (with as little whine as I could manage): "Amyyyyy. My car won't start." Thankfully she was willing to risk her big girls being late for school so that she could save me. Considering the fact that she's experienced true single parenting in her life, she knew how to manage in this situation. I did not. After getting the van started, I managed to get my boys to school only 20 minutes late. After dashing to an auto parts store to find out my battery was dead, then to Walmart to have it replaced, then to my office where I was 15 minutes late to a staff meeting, then, after only 45 minutes at the office, back to school to pick up the boys (7 minutes late), I began to wonder how in the world single parents manage.
I've always had a large amount of respect for parents who do it alone, and this was not my first chance at being home alone with my boys, but Monday confirmed the HUGE amount of respect I have for people who have no choice but to take care of their babies independently. I cannot imagine what their days are like. So, here's my salute to you, single parents. I know your daily schedule is relentless, so I'll be praying for you tonight--asking for God's strength and guidance in your daily decision making and balancing acts and thanking Him that he's made you strong enough to keep your kids not only alive but well. I'm impressed.