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And what your soon-to-be married friends should know
I am a horrible person.
I am a louse.
Bad to the bone.
A substandard friend.
Selfish, self-involved, and an all-around bad person.
I am a member of the Solo Mom’s Club.
And when one of my fellow female comrades in combat gets engaged . . .
I am jealous.
I feign happiness, “Oh, wow. Awesome. Great.” (I hate you!) But the occasion is something I dread on a daily basis. One by one, my sisters in single parenting are ditching me. Fleeing the nest. Mating. And returning to the world of nuclear parenting.
In my personal wolf pack that once totaled six, there are only two of us left standing. How can I not hope for another divorce? Infidelity. A menopausal midlife bachelorette baby. Can you blame me? After all, I don’t want to be left alone. . . . You’re not buying it? Neither am I.
I am an awful human being.
And here we are facing June, the month when everyone gets engaged, or worse—married. Please don’t invite me to celebrate. Please don’t ask me to be the tallest, most unwed Solo Mom bridesmaid in the bunch. Please, just shoot me instead.
Years ago, as an idealistic, “too much Brady Bunch”–watching child, I pictured myself a June bride—or at least a June engagee. One day I’d flash my massive diamond ring, strung on my perfectly manicured French-tipped ring finger, and bat my gorgeous, long eyelashes . . . that would never come to be.
What I got was nubby fingers; short, blond lashes; and a June divorce.
What I became was a single mom.
I have been a single mom for 17 years. I have grown to define myself as a single mom. It is my Purple Heart, as if I’ve seen combat, saved a thousand orphans, survived a Mount Everest avalanche . . . on skis. “Hi. I’m Kathleen. I’m a single mom.” “Sorry I can’t make it. I’m a single mom.” “You want tuna noodle casserole for dinner? I’m a single mom.”
I do this because I am proud to be a single mom. My kids are wonderful, well-adjusted, funny, and all-around cool people. They are my greatest success in life. “William got an A on his math test? Awesome! I’m a single mom.”
Then one day, upon announcing my single mom-ness to the grocery-store cashier, “Look at the money I saved on this can of tuna. I’m a single mom,” my son asks me, “Mom, why do you always say you’re a single mom? You’re a human.”
[Cue the screech, boom, record-scratch sound effects.]
From the mouths of babes. His comment was like a slap in the face, an awakening.
Because that was when I realized I had completely lost myself in my single mom identity. I had fallen too far into character—the method actor who forgot to snap out of the role when the filming ended. I was a 76-year-old Al Pacino walking the streets of New York holding a plastic gun and shouting, “Say hello to my little friend!”
To me, my single mom friends finding their well-deserved partners, falling in love, and reveling in their well-deserved happiness feels like abandonment—when in reality, it isn’t.
And way, way down the list—we are single moms. My soon-to-be married friends are still just like me. The only difference being they are adding a “plus one” to the list, inviting another human being, a male, into their life and our world.
So now and forever, I rejoice and celebrate you, my June brides—’til death do us part. I can’t wait to dance at your wedding, drink too much champagne, and wrestle my other Solo Mom friend for the bouquet.
And when all is said and done, you will still be my friend. We will still be human, women—cramps, hormones, wrinkles, and all. And, most important, we will continue to laugh and love each other.
Except I will have the added bonus of a friend’s husband to call when my drain gets clogged.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
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