Not too long ago I was talking to my ex husband’s wife, my son’s step mom. This is not a rip on the new wife post so don’t get all I hate my ex husband’s new wife on me.
I like this woman. If I was going to be replaced by anyone I couldn’t think of a better person to replace me.
Of course, she didn’t replace me, at least not in my son’s life.
Anyway, I was talking to her not too long ago and we were discussing my son. Let me backtrack just a bit. When my son started school I needed a before and after school daycare for him and his step mom offered to do just that. She never asked me to pay her or reduce the child support her husband was paying to me. It saved me tons of cash and tons of worry. I am eternally grateful to my ex husband’s wife.
So we were talking about my son. I don’t remember what the conversation was about, probably my son’s current hair color or something. In the midst of this conversation my ex husband’s wife says to me:
“You did a great job raising the boy. It couldn’t have been easy on your own but you did a wonderful job raising him into a fine young man. You should be very proud.”
I responded by telling her that she and ex#1 had a big hand in it as well and they should be equally proud.
Credit is also due to ex#2 who played a huge role in my son’s development.
Her words meant a lot to me and they roll around my brain at times.
When ex#1 left us I was terrified. I had no idea how I was going to raise this child on my own. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever been as scared as I was at that time in my life. In addition to getting a divorce I had to move. Our life was constantly changing and I worried all the time that my son would have all kinds of issues because of our unstable life.
Eventually, it stabilized.
Last night my son and I were in the kitchen eating guacamole. Avocados were on sale and I had picked up four of them. I used two to make a fresh batch of guac. As I was making it my son opened a bag of chips and started dipping the chips into the guacamole. We were discussing a rave he is going to this evening. This discussing included talk about drugs, drinking, driving under the influence and doing other stupid things. A discussion we have had too many times to count.
I trust my son. He is a smart kid and he knows I trust him. He also knows he doesn’t want to lose that trust.
While we were talking we finished the guacamole. Instead of finding something else to do we continued to talk in the kitchen. I have a hard time just standing still so I made another batch of guacamole. We stood around talking and eating more chips and guac. We both had things we wanted to do, I needed to do some work on the computer and he wanted to clean his room so he could go to his rave tonight. We both made our way to the couch and collapsed in a heap of guacamole and lime chips overload. We watched a little TV together and then called it a night.
My son is 17, he has one more year of high school and then he is off to college. Days, or nights, like these are numbered.
As a single mom I have given up a lot, and a lot was taken away from me. I don’t have much of a social life anymore. When I got divorced the first time, all of my married friends dropped me like a hot potato. I was no longer invited to any social gatherings, which probably hurt more than my ex husband leaving me. I was suddenly broke so even if I had been invited out I couldn’t have gone, though it would have been nice to be asked.
I pissed and moaned about it for a while and then found a new life. I started a business, I met my future ex#2, and made new friends.
Rinse and repeat.
I gave up a lot for my kids and I wasn’t always happy about it. Had someone given me a crystal ball, to show me how it would turn out, it would have been much easier to accept. Looking back it was all more than worth any sacrifice I made.
There are only two pictures of my son and me together. That’s what happens when you are a single parent. There are few pictures because there is no one there to take the picture.
I wish there had been more pictures to document our life together. It’s not too late to get a tripod and start taking them but that little boy has grown into a man and there won’t be anymore pictures of me carrying him.
Which is probably as it should be, he can carry himself now.
Kudos, my friend. I sure as hell couldn’t have done it. For me, being childless was the right choice. I’m still not done raising myself.
Congrats on turning out a fine kid.
.-= injaynesworld´s last blog ..injaynesworld we ask "Nipples… What’s The Big Deal?" =-.
I loved this post. Reading about the relationship that you and your son have is just priceless!!
.-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Immunization Records =-.
Good stuff momma. WE proved it could be done. Even when we didnt “want” to do it this way.
I really want to go to the rave with him. Tell him to call me. 😉
.-= peedee´s last blog ..Laid =-.
Very nice post:) It’s great that the step-mom and you have a good relationship.
I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is being a single parent, but it sounds to me, also, that you’ve been a fantastic mom. You have every reason to be proud!
.-= Lisa´s last blog ..What the Young Folk Do =-.
This is a wonderful post and one many of us understand only to well, blessings to you a fine lady, mother and I’ll bet friend.
Dorothy from grammology
.-= Dorothy Stahlnecker´s last blog ..Share more time with your family it’s healthy =-.
You DID do a good job! I can’t even imagine being able to take care of myself if my husband left me, much less have to also take care of a child. I’m glad you get along so well with your ex’s wife. It must make things so much easier than they would be/have been if things were hostile.
As for the pictures, there’s always Photoshop. 🙂
.-= Surfie´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Waianapanapa State Park Maui =-.
What a great story. You should feel such a sense of accomplishment – I don’t care how much someone baby-sat for you, you did this on your own AND you did a great job at it – a lot of women can’t say the same. You Rock!
.-= Sheila Sultani´s last blog ..Get Naked For God and Fuzzy Pink Puppet Cleavage =-.
We have a lot in common Jen. I had 2 kids, and it wasn’t easy, but raising them was also the best time of my life. They probably suffered from my youth and stupidity at time, but hey! You do the best you can with the tools you’ve got. My ex-husband’s marriage was the best thing that could have happened to me. His wife ensured those pesky child support checks were on time. She also ensured that “daddy weekends” actually happened. This lovely woman also loved both of my kids like they were her own. They call her “Mom” to this day, and I’m so glad they do.
.-= Linda Medrano´s last blog ..Confession – Good For the Soul =-.
Wow only two pictures, that is sad in a way. I look back at my daughters pics when she was young and guess what. I only have like two pics of her and me. I was a photo maniac, but I was the taker and not in the pics. I have plenty of the ex and my daughter. But in a way that’s good, because I hated my pic taken anyway. I only cared that I got her. Of course when you divorce you also lose half of the pictures to boot. I suppose I could find the negatives somewhere and have them redone.
But what it really comes down to Jen is the fact of that your son was just as happy to have spent the night of guac eating with you, then heading out to a party with his friends. That’s pretty damn cool, huh? But of course you also might have saved him of going out and maybe having one to many also. I can’t imagine if he had to heave and seeing all the guac coming out. It would have scared all the others straight, thinking he might be the exorcist 🙂
Of course this is what I come up with, but then again what would you expect from me anyhow……
PS I’m sorry to point this out, but this does sound like a Mommy Blog entry (cough)
.-= Man Over Board´s last blog ..Blogs & Social Networks Supply The News =-.
Jen, every time I read your blog I am impressed by your level of writing and how you convey stories about your personal life. Your stories connect with me. Your son should be extremely proud to have a Mom like you (and I’m sure he is.)
.-= Dave DeWall´s last blog ..My Mother-in-Law Is Annoying Me! =-.
I love this post! I tip my hat to all single parents, I know it can’t be easy. I watch my cousin struggle all the time. I don’t know how you do it…
.-= Kristy´s last blog ..215 – The promised land =-.
Dangit all – you went and made me all choked up. Especially because my oldest is now a sophomore in HS and those thoughts hit me all the time. I need to step away for a moment to get it together. I hope your son sees this post.
.-= Katherine´s last blog ..Out Of The Mouths Of Babes =-.
I don’t know how you did it. Hard enough raising just ONE kid with TWO parents. Amazing strength.
.-= Joe Cap´s last blog ..Levitation =-.
Beautiful post! Just wait until he graduates from college! You know Jen, I’m not a single mom now but was for a while. Seems when mom stays on course, kids and mom stay tight. My hubby says that I’m my youngest son’s best friend. He’s 22 now, just graduated from college, digital photographer. I jump up and down when that diploma showed up. I think I wanted it more than he did. My reaction put a huge grin on his face. Yes he’s back at home, times are tough. You know that kid handed over his whole paycheck last year when we had no work. He expected me to keep it! That’s the kind of son you have, I can tell. Don’t worry, we still hang out and talk, and you all will too. The fruits of your labor & love, what a beautiful sight.
.-= redkathy´s last blog ..Okra and Corn Creole with Crispy Ranch Chicken =-.
Great post Jennifer. It actually has made me cry.
I’m very glad you have come into my life, truly.
You’ve made me cry a little too.
I feel sad for you that you don’t have more photos. I don’t have enough of me with my kids either cause like Glenn I’m the one taking the photos usually.
“all of my married friends dropped me like a hot potato” This happens a lot apparently to the newly single women, it happened to me with boyfriends in my 20’s. Just when you really need the support of your friends. Bah those aren’t real friends anyway.
I’m dribbling on, sorry. I liked reading this a lot, it’s lovely.
Thanks for this – you tell a good (true) story. My boys are small, but I got a little teary thinking of being able to relate to them as teenagers – I hope I merit the same openness and trust your son shows you!
Peryl (from MBC link round up, though I’m reading beyond the links :)).
.-= Parenting ad absurdum´s last blog ..Snap, Frak ‘n Pop… =-.
Thanks everyone for you lovely words.
As for the comment that this was a mommy blog post, maybe, but mommy bloggers aren’t single parents. Once you become a single parent you lose the ability to live in a castle. And the friends who dropped me would have been considered mommy bloggers if they had blogs back then.
You should not only be proud of being a great mother, you should be proud of yourself for being a great ex. 🙂 I’m on the other side of the table, as I’m the step-mom (and also have a step-mom). It can be a difficult, thankless job. Your post almost brought tears to my eyes wishing I had a friend and confidant in my husband’s ex. If only more moms were as strong and confident as you in “sharing” their children, all of our kids in blended families would become stronger adults from our example.
.-= Angie´s last blog ..Work at Home Business =-.
What a beautiful post. Such a good realtionship between the exes and spouses has probably been a big contributor is raising your son. Kudos to all of you!
.-= SuziCate´s last blog ..Information Overload And The Quilt Show =-.
Angie: I’ve never understood why the ex and the new spouse don’t make efforts to get along. I know there is hurt but it can be overcome. To be fair my ex husbands wife is not the woman he left me for. That might have been much more difficult, but still doable when the kids are considered. My ex and his new wife have two children of their own who are my son’s brothers (I don’t use terms such as half of step when it comes to siblings). Interestingly, they (his younger brothers) consider my daughter their sister. It’s very confusing sometimes.
It seems logical to me that blended families would get along but for the anger and resentment of usually one ex spouse. I have a friend who can’t seem to put it past her and it’s been 10 years at least. I didn’t want to spend my life being angry, hurt and bitter so I made a choice to embrace my new extended family and luckily they were willing to embrace me.
SuziCate: I think it has made all the difference in the world. My son has always been rational and reasonable. I think he got mad once and said he was going to live with his father. Since his father and I both agreed it never happened. I do want to add that in the event something happened to me my ex husband and his wife have said they would raise both of my children. Not that my daughter’s father couldn’t do the same thing. I just want them together.
This is so touching. Kudos to you and your son. All the best to him.
Jen – great post! I’m glad I’ve found your site. It looks like one I am really going to enjoy. Thank you also for recently stopping by mine.
Your son must be so honored and proud to have you for a mom! Thank you for sharing this story with us!
Redhead –you never cease to amaze me. Just when I got you figured out, you put another pretty, twist in the pretzel!
We have a lot in common as it turns out. Mine happened a lot later in life, and it’s a little versa-visa. My wife left me. Abandoned one kid, took the other. Left me with bills, unemployed, broke, and alone. Then, abandoned the second kid, to start an “adventure” she probably wanted in the first place.
Petty details are wrought in this story. Suffice it to say, just the other day- I asked her- To cease using my last name. When she asked “why”. I replied, “cause if I’m such a bastard, and loser–Why would you want to be associated with my name?”. ++It’s the only thing I really have left. Besides two kids, who are my blood.
Your story touched me on so many levels. Don’t worry about pictures, I think there will be more digital film, where that came from. You really didn’t loose friends, cause you can’t loose what you never had. Something tells me you have made plenty more along the way…
Crystal Balls, and rinse and repeats. Life doesn’t give you the first, and Life, is really all about the other. You, your Son, ROCK!
p.s. Tell the Rooster Dave, I agree with him on this one. Then please tell Glenn, he had me all weepy…then he had to go demented again!
.-= Don E. Chute´s last blog ..TAKE THE NOLAN CHART QUIZ! =-.
As a single mother, I can very much relate to this post. My son is 13 and THANKFULLY I have had the help of My parents for the last two years. You’re very lucky to have such a good-working relationship with your ex’s husbands wife. And I give YOU a lot of credit, for giving HER the credit she deserved.
.-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..Doing Things Differently – My Week In Review [Part Four] =-.
Its very hard to raise a son, but you did Jen.. Good job! I love this post, you even communicate your ex husband wife, not like here that the ex wife and real wife are always fighting, dunno why..
.-= Silvergirl´s last blog ..Work at Home, Make Money Online, Paid Work at Home, Online Jobs – ShortTask.Com =-.
It’s my first time here and I’d like to commend you on how well you have raised your son even the new wife sees it. It’s so nice that you and her get along.
I am a step mom too but never really interacted with my husband’s ex wives, I think hubby thinks it’s better that way. What’s important is that I do get along with my step children.
It’s a wonderful story you wrote here 🙂
.-= MommaWannabe´s last blog ..MM: Somewhere over the Rainbow =-.
I have only one thing to say, “I agree with your ex husband’s wife that you did a wonderful job raising your son. You did fantastic!”
.-= BK´s last blog ..Invictus by William Ernest Henley =-.
What a great, beautiful post. I wish there was some way you could get pictures that you weren’t able to document yourself—maybe if you get pics of your son and yourself separately from those times and use the magic of photoshop to put them together? Anyway, thanks and I love your writing.
P.S. Good luck on the no carbs diet. I can’t not eat bread, so it doesn’t work for me. Kedos to you.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Is dating today the new wild west? =-.
As a very experienced single mom of two boys, I say, “well done!” You know, just as I do that solo parenting is not for the weak at heart, but it really helps you blossom into a much more beautiful soul.
Keep up the good work and the great writing Jen!
.-= renee´s last blog ..Marvelous March: Top Ten Reasons Why I Love March! =-.
Never walking away when your teenager decides they want to talk to you is the sign of a great parent. You don’t get enough chances to do that. It’s a tough job being a single parent (been there) and yes, I think it’s great that you give credit where credit is due. I know that my ex’s wife ( I like her) has had an influence on my girls in the years that they have been together. I think that’s been a good thing for them.
Great job MOM!
.-= Buggys´s last blog ..June Cleaver I’m Not =-.
Mine is 14 … today as a matter of fact. I did the first seven years alone. Bought into the blended family gig. Made bad choices. Now I’m hoping to undo the last 7 years. It’s never easy … even when it *is* easy.
.-= Dana´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Boo-Bear! =-.
thank you for the reality check and the beautiful post. Your son sounds wonderful, and what could go better with guac?!
I so needed this as I sat at home this evening w/ my daughter, questioning the choices I’ve made to have another child, wondering how I’ll do as a part time/single mom. (My husband works long hours 3 months out of the year and we barely see him then.)
No, my life isn’t as hard as yours has been. thank you for making me see just how sweet I’ve got it.
.-= MadsMom´s last blog ..More IMing: The end of the world as we know it. =-.
You should be so proud of yourself. Single mommyhood is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do – so I totally empathize. You have raised an awesome kid there.
.-= Hadassah Sabo Milner´s last blog ..Does the pain of divorce ever ease up? =-.
first time here and i can’t help but leave a comment. i like reading personal stories but i like reading personal stories more if they are well-written…exactly what you have here. i think you’re a good writer and story-teller. also, your overwhelming love for your child and the sacrifices you made for him make you a good parent. no question about that.
thank you for sharing your personal stories with us. somehow, they make me inspired and learn a thing or two about life. 🙂
I absolutely liked this webpage post, it helped a lot! Thanks!
I relate so much to your situation… I am sure there is more than one single parent thinking the same. My 17 year old (second of 2) is about to finish highschool, she is a girl (no difference really) and we had those “talks” more than once, she will be leaving soon and the only thing we have left is to let go of the attachment and trust we did the best we can and the best results will show up.
That is so wonderful to hear that you feel positive towards your ex-husband’s new wife. I feel like that doesn’t happen to often, but so when it does, it sure is great to hear! 🙂
.-= Francis´s last blog ..Chef Knife Sets =-.
Yes definite kudos to you! Excellent post here as you recap what this journey – with its trials and sacrifices included – was worth to you as you look at the young man your son has turned out to be.
Thanks for sharing. As a single mom of an 11 year old daughter and 15 year old son and I can relate on many levels and also consider my kiddos my priority in this process. Also hoping I can give them all they need to turn out to be independent loving, caring, adults (with only a little bit of baggage from growing up in a divorced home).
.-= Katherine SOLO dot MOM´s last blog ..Conversations of Conspiracy =-.
Wow, the line about how few pictures there are of the two of you almost made me cry. I have tons of pictures of my daughter and very few of the two of us. As single moms we have given up a lot, but we’re raising great kids and you’re right it’s all worth it. Don’t worry–they always come back–last weekend I had my stepdaughter and college age niece all asking to come over to watch the Oscars. And we ate guacamole!
Thank you for being such a great mom,and a smart & witty woman. But most of all for having an open heart & mind and extending yourself to invite me into your son's life, I have more then enjoyed him & he is a terrific kid(take your bow now please) You were warm & kind form the start..many thanks.. but oh shit I didn”t know what I was getting into with ex 1..ha..ha.. only kidding. I lucked out , I have great admiration for not only your beauty, intelligence ,strength & preserverance to step up to the plate. For all of the difficult things that you have been through, you have been more than”o.k” What a terrific example of a thriving , healthy& strong woman!
Sincerely Signed, “The Current Wife”
I saw this last night but didn't really know what to day. Thank you for
saying such sweet things and thank you for being a wonderful mom to Alex. He
has grown into a fine young man and we should all be proud.