Ah, water. The lifeblood of the human race. The bringer of hot showers and the main ingredient to radiant skin. And the reason one unhinged single mother almost lost her marbles when preparing to chisel away at the evergreen pile of sink-dwelling dishes one recent morn. Because instead the gush of water one normally expects upon commencing this terrible chore, I was met with an eerie silence from the faucet, and zero H2O. No no no no no no…
Now a responsible woman in her mid ( okay, late) thirties might ask herself, what could possibly be causing this sudden lack of water? Some kind of pipe dysfunction, or perhaps a municipal shutoff? I however, being the 12 year-old equivalent of a homeowner, knew exactly what it was….
It’s not that I can’t pay my water bill. My meek savings is reserved for such irresponsibility or unforeseen joys. The problem is I simply don’t open bills. Because there’s simply no time, or a thousand other things to do than worry about the three bi-annual charges that aren’t deducted from my online checking account. The fact is, for many single mamas out there, adult tasks and responsibilities like buying stamps, opening letters and filing taxes on time fall to the wayside when it comes to doing life on your own with multiple children under a roof that is most likely upheld by angels’ breath.
Seriously. Is there any way to describe the all-out lunacy of a single parent working full time and juggling school and sport activities while managing to renew library books and car registrations? I normally manage, or at least play it off, but on days like today, while watching the water department guys return to crank that sweet nozzle for a small $150 ‘restoration fee,’ I admit it: I have sometimes pray for the rapture.
Usually we can handle our biz one school lunch packing and night treatment rubbing at a time, but sometimes, when one of the dozens of balls we’re juggling crashes, things quickly look more like a circus, than a lifestyle.
And I’m sorry. I’d love to adhere to our increasingly PC culture and extend this shout out to the single daddies. But after buying my first house 5 days after a divorce last year, I just can’t. I usually shy away from gender comparisons, and I appreciate all that is our male counterpart, but I’ve had enough single mom friends to know there’s a place in heaven reserved just for us. Not because it’s God’s reward for any life choice, but because he’s so good, and knows nothing would make us happier in eternity than dwelling in a space devoid of clogged drains, lawn care or having to refill the home heating oil.
You haven’t earned the true single mom card ‘til waking up one winter morn, only to realize you can remember the exact date/time of your next root touch-up, did not in fact remember to refill the petroleum. Oh. Shoot. There are many mom fails that will stand out in my life, but bundling my kids in three pairs of socks and mittens – “how are we gonna eat popcorn with mittens on, mom?!” and telling them its national hot chocolate day to explain the cold until the emergency oil arrives, is at the top o’ the list.
I realize this stereotype does not pertain to all. There are some single mothers managing to hoof the garbage to the curb on time and that HGTV renovator chic with the good hair is my hero. Amazing stuff. However, we must acknowledge that for many women, the upkeep and repair associated with home ownership can be a living nightmare…if not a community-wide epidemic requiring the help of neighbors, friends and a handy brother -in -law who probably wept silently the day I got a divorce. God bless him, I’m sure he thought the days of benevolent snow removal, electrical repair and leak fixing for me were over. So many crowns, Mike.
Home ownership for the girly girl is like watching a millennial tackle a work project. It gets done, but man. Do does it have to take this long and be this hard? I’m fairly certain all of heaven held its breath when I signed my home loan. Or at least my angels, who probably filed for overtime knowing the amount of near disaster about to ensue. In the past year alone, I’ve managed to mistakenly purchased 20 bags of topsoil instead of mulch, and then wondered why weeds were growing like wildfire. I’ve had a near chimney fire, and when a pipe started leaking in the basement, I literally duct taped it and placed a toy drum underneath as plan B until remembering to call for help weeks later. Ducks could’ve found permanent home in the puddle awaiting the plumber that day. Which perhaps equaled the level of horror felt by my neighbors witnessing me ‘re-starting’ my lawnmower for two days straight ‘til cursing Craigslist and watching forest animals nest in my foot long grass until fixed a month later.
And it’s not just the “big things,” that stress us out, it’s the little things like screwing in light bulbs (it was a complex light fixture) and hanging window treatments. I’m telling you. It has taken me no less than 40 minutes with a demonically-possessed Philips Head to install just one pair of blinds. Sheer madness.
Yes indeed the life of the single mommy is not for the faint of heart, and not a day goes by I don’t look towards heaven in pure laughter ….you seein’ this, Lord?! but I refuse to the stress and ‘failures’ rob my joy. Most nights I feel like I’m army crawling from the dishwasher (broken for 9 months…it’s now a drying wrack) to my bed wondering how I’m gonna do it all over, in less than six hours.
However. I stand by my belief that when you’re alone, for whatever reason or circumstance, and you you have access to a level of God’s strength, protection and provision you wouldn’t necessarily need, or even think to depend on. I’ve woken up terrified, after hearing a crash or weird sound in the middle of the night, or fought through total fear going down the creepy basement in the pitch black after a circuit blew, but he’s always there, right when I need him. Jesus Jesus Jesus and I know I’ll be okay. It’s Him and I. God’s given me an indescribable amount of strength, joy and provision amidst the bill paying, snow shoveling, carpooling, and weed- feeding.
If we learn to focus on the good-God, healthy kids and doing what makes us happy- we totally got this. And mark my words. Water will be free, in heaven.