MemberOctober 27, 2020 at 10:08 pm
I wasn’t sure where to post this so here it goes…)
It is in the silence of night that I am able to breathe. A relief filled sigh that sinks into my bones. It’s not easy being a single mom. The work life balance is doubly hard. I have to feed the mouths of my family, but I also must feed their hearts. So, when the house is silent, and the little ones are tucked into bed while the older ones stay up late into the night, I allow the mask I wear to fall. I take this time to become aware of the aches in my muscles, the heaviness of my heart, the weight of my body. As I sit amongst the laundry, nursing a mug of cocoa in my hands, I think of all that has happened today. The tiredness settles in just thinking about it.
The day started off relatively well. The older ones catching their bus on time and waving the younger one’s goodbye as they left in their carpools. I proceeded to drop off my toddler at day care before driving to work at my job as an English teacher in Associated Middle School.
All was well until I received a phone call from my eldest daughter’s high school. The principal sounded upset as she informed me that my daughter is suspended from school until further notice. She explained that my daughter left off school grounds for lunch and has been ditching class regularly. She also regretfully told me that the crowd whom my daughter left with was a mixed car. My heart sunk and I quickly told my boss I had to leave for a family emergency. My boss, well aware of my home situation waved me away as I rambled, and I left school. The whole drive to my daughter’s school, my hands were sweaty on the steering wheel.
What would I tell her? I thought to drop the kids off at my exes but as much as he loves them, his job as a lawyer keeps him busy, one of the reasons for our divorce. I prayed the whole way to her high school and pushed away the nervous breakdown I felt edging on. I climbed the stairs to the principal’s office and saw my daughter. My defiant daughter. I’ve known for a while what has been going on. I know she harbors so much pain from the divorce and the move, and I know I haven’t been giving her enough attention. She feels rejected from her father who rarely talks with her, the workaholic. She was sitting on the chair, just outside the principal’s office. Her jaw was locked and her eyes hard. I gave her a small smile before I entered the principal’s office. The principal’s eyes were flooded with pity and I nodded through her concerns. As I stood to leave the office, I bit my lip to hold in the tidal wave that threatened to drag me down. But I straightened my shoulders and left the office. When I saw my daughter standing there, I didn’t say anything. Instead I opened my arms. She remained standing shocked as I held her tightly. Soon she sunk into my embrace and her body quivered like a leaf in the wind.
“Me and you are going to use your suspension wisely. We need to communicate,” I whispered in her ear. She nodded in my shoulder and I walked with my arm around her shoulders until we reached the car. I brought her home and she immediately went to her room. I could hear her cries from the kitchen. And I cried too. When I knocked on the door, she would mutter for me to go away. “I need space,” she pleaded. And her voice sounded so vulnerable, so pathetic that I did. And then I left a letter and slipped it under her door.
Soon the rest of the family rolled in and I was left doing math problems, feeding supper to all the hungry mouths, and listening to the rants and raves of everyone’s day. I stumbled through the nighttime routine of bath time, story books, and hugs and kisses. Then I had to move on to my boy who was choosing which Yeshiva to apply to. “Whichever one you choose, you will thrive in, my love,” I kiss his forehead, leaving him space to think.
And now I sit on the floor of my laundry room, folding clothes with the hum of the washing machine cleaning yet another round. I sip my cocoa and try to take strength from its warmth as I lean my head against the cupboard. I don’t notice the tears strolling down my cheeks, or the ring of the washing machine, telling me the load is finished.
“Mommy, you’re still awake,” my eldest daughter appears in the doorway. I give her a tired smile and pat the spot next to me. Her eyes are red and puffy, and I see she’s drinking cocoa, her other hand holding the letter I wrote. We sit in the silence of night together. I wait for her to break it. Sure enough. “Mom, what were you like as a teenager?” I laugh softly. “Honey, I was what grown ups call a free spirit. I was like you,” I glance at her fondly and I see a smile on her lips. “You must’ve been a nightmare,” I laugh again. “No darling. I was misunderstood,” I correct. My eyes glaze over as I remember the feats I accomplished as a teenager. “Honey I loved the life I led. Every moment was thrilling, daring even. It was what I thought was bliss,” recognition flickers on her face. “But looking back I regret it. Because all that time set me back for when I found what I thought would be the one. I expected things to go perfectly, like in the movies and songs I watched and listened to. And that was the beginning of the end,” her eyebrows draw together, and she leans back on the cupboard. “Is it wrong how I am mom? Am I bad for wanting that?” I ruffle her hair. “No baby, you’re not bad. There’s a piece inside everyone that wants that. Some people fight it better then others. If you choose that path, it’s nice to slide down. Fun even. But when you climb back, that’s when it gets tricky,” I explain this as if I’m tiptoeing over glass. She leans her head on my shoulder and we sit and drink cocoa together. “Well it’s good that we have unlimited time to talk mommy,” she says lightly, and she almost sounds excited about that, happy even. I want to ask her, but her head gets heavy and when I look her eyes are closed, her mug is set on the floor beside me. I remain on the floor, staring at my reflection in the door of the washing machine. And I look strong.
MemberOctober 27, 2020 at 10:09 pm
Formatting works!!! Thank you Riva!!!
MemberOctober 28, 2020 at 8:16 am
You sound really strong!!!!
Your children are lucky to have such a mom…
MemberOctober 28, 2020 at 3:35 pm
Wow MH, this is written so beautifully.
MemberOctober 28, 2020 at 3:52 pm
Very fluent read, emotional piece. The dialogue is masterfully woven into the text. I love it!
Just wondering, is this fiction or real life? Because you posted in fiction but it feels very real.
MemberOctober 28, 2020 at 9:47 pm
Hi! Thank you so much! Yes this is fiction, the inspiration came from a friend who is going through a hard time;(
And thank you everyone for your responses<3!
MemberOctober 28, 2020 at 11:25 pm
MH, WOW!!!!!! I am literally blown away by the depth, emotion, pain and love expressed!
I love this line: “Me and you are going to use your suspension wisely. We need to communicate,” I whispered in her ear. She nodded in my shoulder and I walked with my arm around her shoulders until we reached the car.”
MH, this reminds me of a rather unfortunate experience that happened in my classroom today. The teacher I work with chided a student rather strongly for not doing his homework for a week. She really gave it to him, and I watched with pity as he was about to cry…. Wow! If only she was more loving, less judgmental, more compassionate and understanding. My insides cry and were crying for him…
MemberOctober 29, 2020 at 12:52 am
Wow. I totally thought it was true — it’s so realistic!!
MemberOctober 30, 2020 at 12:37 am
Thank you HappiWriter!
I like writing about real life occurrences/ based off something that has happened;)
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