Perhaps what I should be consoling myself with is the concept of truth. A year ago I started writing this column promising myself, and my readers that I would tell the truth about being an Urban Single Mom.
But truth is a double edged sword, and is precarious in nature. To subject and surrender yourself to the truth is a little bit like free falling. You are
free because you are lighter. The truth strips you from the heavy burden of pretence and deceit. But you are also falling. You have thrown the doors and windows of your soul wide open to judgement and vulnerability. Knowing that you can either win or lose it all, every time you tell or face up to the truth, and that you are letting the proverbial chips fall where they may.
As a mother admitting the truth about your children, to yourself is hard. As a single mother admitting the truth about your children, to yourself is even harder. More than likely, you already have a chip on your shoulder. You come from a less than desirable romantic past; you face incredibly harsh emotional and physical realities on a day to day basis, and are constantly pushed from one psychological extreme to the other. No mother wants to fess up to the fact that their little girl is not quite the ‘prettiest little girl you have ever seen’ and their little boy, not quite ‘the smartest little boy on the planet’. After all, every child is extraordinary in the eyes of their mother.
It’s an uncomfortable ‘truth’ to fess up to. When I became a mom about seven and a half years ago, I had only the highest ideals for my kiddies. I was convinced that
I would raise The Trolls to be the cutest, smartest, most well behaved little boys in the history of little boys. I was wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, there was a time, roughly from diaper to toddler age when they were truly, undeniably adorable. But then they grew up, and came into their own little twisted personalities that had very little to do with their upbringing. Troll 2 developed a knack for eating everything he sees, bearing his bum in public... and saying inappropriate things like ‘you’re a stupid fatty bum head’ or ‘Mommy! Stop eating all the sweeties! Your tummy is gonna come out by your ears!’ Troll 1, who was destined to be my saving grace, suddenly became destined to be my foe. He developed a very unhealthy obsession with superheroes (He is not pretending to be every single superhero known to mankind, he actually believes he is every single superhero known to mankind), drifts between fantasy and reality regularly, and thinks every single thing I say or do ... or wear is horrendously uncool.
Recently, I had to fess up to another uncomfortable truth about my eldest son. His grade one teacher arranged a distressed, emergency teacher- parent meeting. Troll 1, it turns out is a zany mathematical genius. But... he is struggling to read. He confuses his alphabet, and he confuses his languages.
Hearing less than praise about my child from a stranger, was like taking a bullet. It stung. As with every challenge we single moms face, I felt personally attacked. Thankfully Troll 1 is not dyslexic, but he does suffer from mild ADD and struggles to concentrate on ‘yucky things like writing’.
Coming to grips with this has been immensely difficult, and he hates the extra language lessons before bedtime. But ... as with most truths, I’ve learned that if ever it were to make us lighter or set us free, we have to face it and work on it, as he does, slowly... the ABC way.