Solo parenting is mostly…

Solo parenting is mostly okay. But every once in a while, there is no safety net when you could use one. It's not that I don't have friends to call for these three weeks that Kevin is out of town -- I do, and they're great for anything important -- my neighbor met my daughter at the bus stop on Thursday and watched her for an hour so I could staff the union table, for example. My friend Allison took both kids for a playdate with her daughter on Saturday so I could host a three-hour SAPAC meeting. The big things, my friends have got covered. It's the little things, the things that aren't worth dragging a friend out of their house for, that are unexpectedly hard.

When your daughter reminds you the night before that there's a field trip tomorrow, so she needs her lunch packed up (instead of the usual hot lunch) and it needs to be in a disposable bag, and you have limited food and would really like to make her a sandwich to go with the cut up veggies, so you a) pull some slider buns out of the freezer, because there isn't any bread in the fridge at the moment, and then b) dig into the trash when she isn't looking to unearth a plastic shopping bag and then rinse it off and dry it, because you happen to have no paper bags or other alternatives. (It did occur to me afterwards that I could have sent her lunch in a festive gift bag, but I didn't think of that until it was much too late.)

Or when you come home from picking your daughter up at the bus stop, and you are cold and your toes are wet because your boots aren't as waterproof as you thought, but you still need to get your son from preschool, and he *could* stay there for three more hours, but you know it will only be harder to go out in the cold later, and besides, he'll be happier if he comes home early, so you take a deep breath and go. Little things like that, where it would be so nice to tap out for fifteen minutes and let your partner take over.

Every day that Kevin's been gone, there's been one little thing or another that kind of makes me want to cry for a few minutes. And then I pull myself together and cope, and really, it's fine.

But it makes me think of the old country, the old world, where people lived in much closer proximity to each other, and I know I would have found that difficult and stifling in so many ways, and I'm sure it reinforces conformity pretty severely. But it would also be nice sometimes, to have half a dozen people constantly in and out of my house. A big, flexible safety net.

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