I have done my share of single parenting. With Aaron’s job at the college, and the fact that he has coached more than 10 soccer teams, there has been lots of time where we play “tag team.” Wherever you are, this is difficult. I admire friends who do it on a daily basis, either by choice, or by circumstance. Recently a family friend who lost her husband more than 20 years ago told me she is still getting used to it. This is humbling.
When you are living in a strange place, it is more difficult to get around. There are no neighbors to spontaneously watch your kids while you take the others to their various activities. Just navigating your way to go anywhere is exhausting, much less doing it along with three children in toe.
And our children are exhausted from school, have major “let-down” and three different ideas about what THEY WANT over the weekend. And most of the time, the reminders of friends from home and the loss of the familiar is so much stronger on the weekends. All I want to do is embrace them, make them smile as much as possible, and try to help them make connections in this new place.
So, when Aaron was going to be gone all day, he contacted our friends Neil and Elizabeth to ask for help. Initially it was just to spend time with Abby and Andy during Lydia’s violin lesson. However, that quickly turned into an afternoon of fun at Compensar, letting them try out rollar blading, mini-golf, snacks on the lawn, then pizza, and good conversation at our house. They even tolerated my attempt at apple dessert, which flopped considerably.
So I have heard that “it takes a village.” And once again, I experience the blessing of friends who give generously when I am empty, who patiently and lovingly tolerate the mental health issues of my myself and my children, whose help kept me sane for this first full day of being without my spouse. And I am grateful.