Right now my son, Shelby and I are cuddling down to the sounds of the rising wind and the hissing rain. They are exciting sounds. We live in CT and Hurricane Irene is set to hit us in a few hours. I pray for those she has already effected. Right now, we are safe, warm and well fed in our scantly furnished but cozy new home. The left over spaghetti and meatballs and the half eaten lasagna are in the fridge. I haven’t felt this great in a long time. My girlfriends have been calling me all day to check that I am alright; don’t know what I would have done without them. They got me through this whole ordeal, keeping us fed, comforted and sheltered. I am so blessed these women are in my life. I have always been blessed with great women in my life. My grandmother, my aunt, my great-aunt. Something I don’t understand happened with my mother and unfortunately I’ve had to spend my life repairing it’s affects, but it’s made me an interesting person to say the least. I hope to talk about it, about her, sometime. Right now she is safe in Texas, visiting my brother, well out of Irene’s path. I’m happy she is there. Safe, and far away. I have everyone around me that I need and want; my son, my Shelby, my friends… the world is beautiful, even with a hurricane on the way.
It’s official now, we are no longer homeless. Thanks to a friend that shall remain anonymous, I was able to pay the remainder of the outstanding rent and now we have an address again. My car is a mess. So is the apartment. But it feels like the Taj Mahal. Last night was the first REAL night in our new apartment. We’ve been sleeping here since the beginning of the week when the real estate agent gave us the key to start moving things in, but the appliances were not ready and there was no hot water. Last night, everything was working. I made spaghetti and meatballs. It tasted delicious. I made a lasagna too. With portobello mushrooms instead of chopped meat. Thought I’d try it. Big Bad hurricane Irene is supposed to hit tonight so I thought I’d prepare. Boy, you should of seen me, cooking up a storm like a real mom. You know what I mean. Instead of buying ready made food that we can easily dispose of, or taking plate fulls of whatever somebody else was making, I was scurrying around a kitchen, my kitchen, putting together a meal for my family. I felt a powerful contentment in it. Things are looking up. I am looking forward. But not to far ahead. I kinda like the looks of things right now, so I’m enjoying the scenery around me. I do have a check list of all that I need to do in order to keep this place. I’ve been proactive with work and jobs seem to be more abundant now. In the long run I would like a career instead of a job, something I’m passionate about. For now, paying the bills will do. It really will. I wasn’t grateful for the ability to do it before. I’ve learned my lesson.
My son was able to take a shower last night (hot water permitting). His hair smelled clean! I loved it. Showers haven’t been the easiest for my son. He could ignore them for a week in the best of situations. I’m assuming it’s a boy thing, but I don’t want to generalize. All I know is I struggle every night to get his butt into the shower. It’s been more difficult with all our jumping around. He refused to shower at the YMCA. He said the men’s locker room only has community stalls, unlike the women’s room. I was very comfortable showering at the Y. He just won’t. I understood. He’s 11 and showering in front of grown naked men he doesn’t know just wasn’t his thing. So,… sometimes he would go a couple days without a shower. C’est la Vie. He’s shower fresh now!
We’re still sharing an air mattress. I have to wait to collect the rest of my furniture from Public Storage. Gotta pay the bill. It will be. I know it. Right now, I’m just happy. Happy for what we have.
When I reflect on the past few months I think of how I could have made things different. I wonder, if I were a different kind of person, would I have done something else, like hooked up with a man in order for him to provide for us. I believe many women still do this. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t imagine asking anyone to provide for me. Asking for help only came out of desperation. And I go through day by day intentionally not focusing on the state assistance I’m getting. I can’t imagine leaning on someone else, full time, to make things work for myself. And I’m thinking maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should be more open to asking for what I need and allowing others to fill it. I try to do everything by myself. And I’m exhausted and no further ahead then when I started out. But I’ve caught glimpses of a new perspective through all this and honestly, I like the view. It’s the perspective of the entrepreneur. The person who doesn’t ask for a job, but makes work for themselves. I like that. And it’s what I want. I’m tired of working to make somebody else’s vision a reality. I have too many visions of my own that I should be paying attention to. This means I’ll be working non-stop. Because what I don’t have the luxury of doing is investing all my attention into my ideas. I have to work shitty jobs in order to pay rent. I think that’s what burned me out before. Putting so much energy into the jobs I had to have in order to pay rent that I was treading water when it came to that ocean of opportunity that’s out there. There has to be a middle ground. A way to make money while building my own source of income. I’m inspired to look. I’ve aimed myself in the direction I’d like to go. Intentionally pursuing work that will teach me things about what I’d like to eventually be doing on my own. Marketing and teaching. Those are the two industries. I’m already a tutor for children with dyslexia. I love it, but I have to find a way to grow the business. I’ve taken another part time job as a swimming instructor and I am a registered substitute teacher. I like jobs that allow me to spend optimal time with my son. This may sound weird, but as he approaches adolescence, I feel like I need to be around even more. I feel like he needs me to be there to help him with homework and to be present for extra curricular activities. Parenting my be morphing into a “hands off” sort of method, but it’s that’s much more important then to show up, and demonstrate your presence. So being home for my son, to cook dinner, to share time with him and help him with his work, as well as pick him up from practices, is very important. I’m not sure what the people (family included) who accused me of being lazy were thinking. Did they forget that being a mother is a full time job? And the fact that I don’t, I CANT, work sixty hours a week on top of that makes me lazy? No. It means I’m focused on what is most important to me: My son. And he needs my time. A pre-teen being left at home alone all the time, is a dangerous situation. He can’t fend for himself, and I shouldn’t have to work 60 hours a week to make ends meat. That’s what I went to college for. To ensure myself opportunities that would allow me to be a mother and a provider at the same time. I have no one to share those roles with. His father is an entity to himself. He pops in and out based on what suits his schedule. He is a good buddy, but not a parent. I have to figure how to make money and be able to be present in my son’s life. This is my new challenge. Luckily I’m smart and capable.