Single Parent Week

The Next Family

By: Danny Thomas

feb-march 018

I spent the better part of the last week as a single parent…

needless to say this blog entry is a little more off the cuff than my prior two.

I haven’t had a lot of time, or inclination to sit around reflecting…

any reflecting time has been spent reflecting on Bushmill’s and Reese’s  Pieces.

Jennifer, went to Cleveland for a Theater Conference – the hoity toity academic was presenting a paper there – and managed to use the time to connect with a few long lost friends and colleagues, as well as get some fabulous intellectual stimulation, and, I think, come home ready to charge into the last few dissertation battles.

Some amazing and interesting things happened while Jen was gone.

I streamlined, I stayed calm, my rope or fuse or whatever was longer.  I set limits and boundaries and followed thru with the consequences. I had no problems ending a meal when it was obvious it was going to lead further into chaos. I had no doubts handing out a serious consequence or determining when it was required.

I found a balance between planned activities and spontaneity. Lil’ Chaos put herself to bed, and got herself dressed in the morning, she was self-sufficient in a lot of ways, as a matter of fact.

I got to put Wobzilla to bed!

I guess as the sole resource, I found reserves of patience I didn’t know I had.

I guess when there was no one around to come in and bat clean up I was able to find the strength or fortitude or determination to follow thru to the end of the game.

I guess on my own I was able and willing to set the bar a little higher for the 4 year old, out of necessity.

It’s amazing how the chemistry of a family is so interwoven – and that when one element is missing it can change the dynamic dramatically.  Amazing too that while we all felt like we were missing a limb and needed Momma terribly, we got by.

Now the challenge remains; how to integrate some of what I learned and did now that Jen is back. It is so easy and reflexive to fall back into old patterns and habits, I mean they don’t even feel like habits and patterns, they just feel like “how it is…” But I know a little something more now, about myself as a father, and it feels good.

It also feels good to have Jen home!

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