I’m a single mom. I’ll be alone and not with my kids on Thanksgiving, but I’m not sad or lonely. Why? Because I have much to be thankful for this year.
This morning, I spilled my last cup of coffee just as I was about to take my first sip. Coffeeless. No coffee in the house and I’d been awake for hours. For those who imbibe daily, you know. I felt a panic coming on. It was 9 a.m. and I was stuck waiting for my 13 year old son to come home from a sleepover. Finally, after ten unanswered texts, at 9:45, (or as it felt like, nine hours later), I went two doors down and got him, all class, coat over my PJs. We drove over to Starbucks and had some mother/son bonding time.
This is my first year as a single mom. My first big holiday. My younger son is already at his dad’s and my teen will be there for the holiday meal. He spends more time with me for various reasons. So, I’ve been hanging with the teen all week. It’s been great, mostly, but I’ve still been on the clock. He’s bright and we have mind-blowing Neil Degrasse Tyson-esque conversations, except when his hormones kick in and then he’s just a teen. So, yes, I’m still parenting.
This morning, he was hungry and full of spunk after an overnight with seven of his friends eating pizza, snacks of any kind and playing Pathfinder, a fascinating role playing game for ten hours. I was jonesing as we sat in the drive thru line, still in my PJs and he wasn’t wearing any shoes (who needs shoes when you’re only going two doors down? “It’s fine, Mom.”) I told you, this was a dire situation, if you didn’t understand before, you get it now?
As we chatted, about the absurdity of protesting plain red cups, getting a Christmas tree soon (my kids will be with me on Christmas), and his insistence that the last time people were so upset about a cup Cedric Diggory died, I realized I’d be alone on Thursday night. I have no groceries in the house, I’m not planning on shopping now that it’s almost T-Day, and I’ll probably make popcorn and watch a movie. And I’m OK with that. Single motherhood is exhausting; I need a break. It’ll happen to be on Thanksgiving day when the rest of you are eating mounds of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes, but I’m still thankful.
I’m thankful for my sons who have helped me survive a year I never thought I would survive. In January when my husband left, when I realized our marriage was over, I was a shell. I functioned as a mother but not as a person. I wrote; I was saved by writing and mothering. But my self, my being, took a huge hit. And today, I find myself thankful for my children who make it worth being here, being strong, being aggressive about their needs both at school and at home and for my children who make me laugh and smile and love beyond anything I ever imagined.
I’m thankful for my community of support, the women and men who have lifted me up and held me. For my social media groups and my writing community. A safe place to be myself, to learn, to grow, to test, to try new things and to soar. To be a place to make mistakes and to be forgiven. A place to have successes and be applauded. A place to be celebrated for who I am and for what I bring.
I imagine it will be strange on one level to be eating popcorn on Thanksgiving, curled up with my cats. But I also know, as most single parents do, you take it when you can get it; breaks are few. Yes, we do miss holidays with our kids now. And yes, we have to share our time now. But for me, this year has taught me I now have the opportunity to show my children I can be a happy, calm, loving mom. A successful writer and editor. A confident woman. A funny confidante. A trusted, loving, soft place to fall. And for all of that, I am thankful.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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