March 1st. Already.
This is a transitional month, a long-awaited month, a count of days that will see an evolution from the biting morning air to warmer and more inviting hours. This is one of my favorite times of the year, and I have always found March to be aptly named.
It’s a time to get up. A time to get going.
Nose to the grindstone? It’s part of my upbringing, and an approach that has served me well. Besides, it isn’t like I haven’t been able to escape on occasion, trading my flat-syllable mother tongue for another – more musical, and more literary.
And when that happens? A respite. Gone are the worries of scratching for a buck and single parenting. At least – for a little while.
But the truth is – I thrive on a demanding schedule, goals that stretch me, and running on all cylinders. I adore the energy that is created from forward movement, and by the time March hits, I’m anxious to embark on new paths with all the resolve I can muster. And of course, the work ethic I’ve come to depend on as I dare to consider stepping into the future. A warmer future.
And lately, a different one.
I am a tweaker. A tweaker of dreams, of philosophies, of language, of behavior. Certainly I’ve tweaked my work life; adaptability is a critical skill that isn’t to be underestimated.
Yet it’s more than that. My tweaking has to do with challenges and curiosity, with the natural outgrowth of learning from experience, and the need to adjust my reality as physical, logistical, and financial limitations present themselves, and (happily) release their grasp enough to explore alternatives, and set new goals.
But the past seven months have been all about my son. May I say that again? All about my son.
While a few trailing items remain on my plate (on his behalf) – for the most part, I’m done. I can begin to recalibrate.
Whatever Comes Next
The role of solo parent wasn’t a choice in my life; it was a consequence. I don’t regret a minute of it, but I do long for missing parts of myself. I’ve said as much before. I imagine I’ll say it again.
And now it is March. Three months until the pressures of schooling and driving are over. Three months until I can take a measure of freedom I haven’t had in 20 years. For the writer. For the woman. For the nourishment of my own dusted-off dreams. Simple dreams. My dreams. And they still want out.
What single parent – or any parent for that matter – doesn’t want to believe in “life after children?”
Yes and No
As a taciturn teen slammed the car door this morning, I remembered that it isn’t over yet. My son’s stresses remain as he waits to receive decision letters and scholarship notifications, knowing that he aimed high, with no guarantees of success.
My “yes” to his weekend partying sits in recognition of the “no” that is part of his day: no to sufficient sleep, no to spending more time with friends, no to relaxing his standards, no to ignoring the weight of his workload, no to discounting the worries he chooses not to share with me.
And these days, I respect his need for quiet. He is not a child; I do not ask.
My life has been about my sons. And not.
I never removed myself from the working world, of necessity – and also intentionally. But I rearranged its puzzle pieces constantly in order to be the full-time parent, the one parent. That began to change two years ago, and then reversed again as the infrastructure required for my younger son broadened, rather than scaling back.
Over the past month – more than ever – I’ve loosened the apron strings. Clearly, it is time – not only for him, but for me.
In fact, that same young man has been encouraging me to go out, to pursue the activities that I enjoy, to see friends – even, to date. It’s a turn of events I didn’t expect, and one more indicator of his maturing.
It is also a reminder that soon enough I will be able to focus on personal and professional goals more fully. That includes the possibilities of a richer social life, assuming that I haven’t aged out of the market.
You could say that parenting is all about planned obsolescence. But as it unfolds, there is relief and there is fear. It is, after all, one more layoff to contend with. And for me, part of the transitional process that has always been my favorite time of year. A time for marching forward.
© D A Wolf