I’ve stated to many that I’ve been a single parent for 8 years now. It’s easy for me to know how long, as we separated on our thrid wedding anniversary which was just five days after our daughter’s first birthday.
Happy times, I tell ya. Most people at that time would be purchasing something leather if they are into the traditional anniversary gifts or crystal/glass if they were more contemporary.
Not me. I was in a tailspin trying to figure out how I was going to make it on my own making a mere $18,000 a year.
While the decision that day, August 30th, was his, I had plans of leaving long before that. I was tired of what was going on and I was tired of doing it all myself anyway. I was young, at just 22. I had a jaded view of what marriage was supposed to be like. In hindsight, I probably wansn’t any better of a wife to him than he was a husband to me.
The only difference between being divorced and being married, for me, was the second income that I lost. The second income that was our primary income. Yes, I worked. Like I said, I made $18,000 a year, but my job was the stable job, the 9-5 job, the job that provided the insurance.
We made enough to live. We spent more than we should’ve and as with the majority of marriages, money was our biggest obstacle as we had varying ideas of how it should be spent.
My plan was to stick it out until Samara was in school, four years in the future. I was going to save money so that when it happened, I would have a nest egg to get started. Three months after I had made my mind up, it was over.
I have a very dear friend who is married with three children, however, I often refer to her as one of my single mother friends. Her husband provides little to no support for the children or for her and she’s working a minimum wage, part time job in which she can take her preschooler because he doesn’t want to put the child in day care.
My friend is enslaved to this man, the man that she is supposed to love, honor, cherish, and obey. The cherishing, honoring, and love left a long time ago, and while he still expects her to obey, she’s lost any desire to even look at the man, let alone obey him.
I can’t say that I blame her.
I try to help her out the best way that I can. I see her three children, ages 16, 14, and 4 as my own. I’m their “adopted” aunt and would go to the ends of the earth for them.
It gets sticky because her husband was my “friend” first in that I met him at a church that I was visiting and he was very nice and welcoming to me in my time of trials. Eventually, I became very good friends with the family and was clueless to the behind closed door happenings.
As we got closer it all came out and he is nothing to me, or anyone else, for that matter, as he is to her.
Tonight, I had it. She called me and asked me to pick up her children and deliver them to church. It’s not really a big deal. No, they aren’t on the way, but they aren’t too far out of the way, either.
When I got there, he was in the shower. I found it odd that he didn’t bring the kids, so I called and asked her.
He was too tired and refused to bring them.
If the kids didn’t love to come to church, if they didn’t have all their friends there, I supposed that wouldn’t be such a huge deal. But they wanted to be there and it’s not like she asked him to take them to a party or to the park. She asked him to bring them to CHURCH which is two miles away.
So I went to get them. And I was mad.
Rarely do I get on my high horse about all the things that I have to do as a single parent, but it was a busy day for me. I had to stop work a little early, get my kids ready early, and drive over there to get them. Again, it wasn’t that I was doing it more so the fact that he knows that she has friends that will do this for her if he doesn’t “feel” like it.
As we sat in church tonight, as I again prayed for God to take the desires of a husband away if he had no intention of me remarrying, I was reminded that a husband is a title. It’s what you are, on paper, if you chose to marry a woman.
I don’t want just a husband. I want someone who is going to love me, be there for me as I am for him. I want someone who puts his family first and sacrifices for us, just like we would do for him.
It doesn’t matter how much money we make, the cars we drive, or the neighborhood that we live in. All of those items are inconsequential. What matters is that we are a team.
For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… til death do us part.
Do I still hope that one day I’ll speak those words in front of my loved ones and life partner? You bet.
But I’m going to stick to my standards because I refuse to lower mine so that someone else can raise theirs.
Heather Jacobson is a single mom to Matthew, 11, and Samara, 9. She’s wading through life in search of sanity in any form and blogs about it at Desperately Seeking Sanity.