Yesterday I wrote about being alone but not alone. It got me thinking about the verbiage we have concerning people without partners, parents in particular.
Mostly we hear about single parents. I’m talking here about people who are not married (or in a marriage like relationship) but are coparenting. They have to make a lot of decisions on their own but when push comes to shove, they do have someone to at least bounce things off of. Maybe they get a weekend “off” when the kids are at the other parents’ house. They split daycare costs and health insurance. For better or worse, they have a parenting partner.
I fully understand that this can come with its own challenges and am in no way diminishing the hard that comes with single parenting or the ache one must feel knowing their babies aren’t under their roof and/or protection. I can’t even imagine that. I’ve never been a single parent.
What I am now, I think, is just ever so slightly different. I’m a solo parent. Solos are created when a spouse dies, but also in cases of abandonment and sometimes divorce. These are the parents who are doing it…well, solo. They are the ones who make all the rules. Who pay all the bills. Who have only one person on their kids’ school contact forms.
These are the parents who always get the phone call and then have to decide how to handle whatever it brings. The call from the school. The police. The hospital. The kid who just wrecked the car. The friend who saw something sketchy and isn’t sure how to handle it. The broken hearted kid who just got dumped. All the calls.
This is not to say I was lying on yesterday’s post. I meant it when I said, alone but not alone. God and my peeps, you know. They’ve got my back and I know it.
But as awesome as they are, when that phone rings and I need immediate support, my default is gone. The automatic of a partner isn’t there and that can be a really hard thing. I have to decide if and who to share with each and every time. Sometimes I just have to pull up the big girl panties and get it done -solo.
And that can be really lonely.
It can also be stinking awesome. I’d be lying if I said there were no upsides to rolling solo. You can decide to take a midwinter trip to Mexico and so long as it’s not during a world-wide pandemic, no one can stop you. You can say yes or no to holidays with the family. You can sleep on whichever side of the bed you want!
But sometimes even those things can feel a little lonely.
Tonight, I salute you, fellow solos. You, parent, who dealt with a quarantined teenager for two weeks, solo. You, dad, who figured out how to talk about puberty with his teenage daughter, solo. You, mom, who is showing her boys how to become men, solo. I see you. I applaud you. I’m stinking jumping for joy that you’re making it!
You. Are. Freaking. Awesome.
Don’t you dare let anyone tell you otherwise. If they try, send them my way. I got your back, fellow solo. Together, we can make a great duo!
***And yes, that’s a picture of a Solo cup, because well…the other option was Han and that would be a copyright infringement. 🤷♀️