I ran into an acquaintance this evening at the recycling center. She doesn’t know me well, but she mentioned a fund raiser going on next weekend.
I told her that I wish I could attend but that I would be away while Little Guy attended a camp over the weekend.
“Can I ask a nosy question?” she said.
“Yes,” I said.
“Are you married?” she said.
I thought, ‘No, I’m widowed,’ but the charred, ugly words didn’t come out. Instead, I said, “I’m a full-time, solo mom.”
‘Curse me. Curse me. Curse me. Just say it!’ I thought.
She related to me by saying that she has a friend who has raised a child by herself since giving birth to him. She applauded me for getting some time to myself next weekend because her friend doesn’t make time for herself. She told me to enjoy raising a child, since she doesn’t have one and doesn’t plan to at this time of her life. I told her to enjoy her freedom.
I told her how jealous I was that she went for a bike ride this weekend. I wanted to go for a bike ride today, but I didn’t have the energy.
She said she never picked up on my solo mom status and that I always come across as strong and confident. I thanked her and started to wonder what ideas she has in her head about single mothers. Aren’t we all strong women raising children by ourselves? Is there any other way to be? If she thinks that, what do other people conjure up when they meet single mothers?
I hope that knowing me will set her (and others with skewed perceptions of single mothers) straight. I hope that one day I’ll also spit out the words, “I’m widowed. I’ve traveled a long and winding road the last five years to get to where I am now. I’m in a good, content place in my life, especially when it includes a nap!”