I was thinking about the infamous line from Streetcar Named Desire, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” As a single mom, I can’t depend on the kindness of strangers because I have to always assume strangers are child molesters. Instead, I have to always depend on the kindness of my family and feel guilty for inconveniencing them and worry that my kids are being treated like cargo.
With a task list creating schizophrenic distractions, it’s hard to live in the moment while simultaneously keeping an eye on the prize. I decided to sign up for three classes this semester, and let me say, I definitely underestimated the amount of time I’d need to dedicate to these classes while working and being a mom.
Every Monday we go to little G’s tutoring. Kiki and I sit in the lobby, and as the two women who run the center go back and forth from the learning room to their office, my daughter likes to overshare all the details from her life. I appreciate her transparency, but her need to tell everyone about her “Divorced Child Syndrome,” can make me cringe. Although, those encounters pale in comparison to her calling me a racist at the top of lungs, after I gave her a made-up math test that had fractions on it.
If we weren’t in public, I’d have asked her, “Are you working for MSNBC now?” But instead, I explained to her what racist means, and if anything, I was being mathist. I should later warn her that the holy white saviors who are inept at contextualizing tend to be the quickest people to cancel because they are unable to live up to their own level of scrutiny.
I had to drop one of the classes I’m taking, and sadly, it’s child psychology. To be fair, we spent the first four weeks talking about genetic deformities, and it didn’t seem like we were ever going to get to a point where I’d find out what I’m supposed to say to my kids after they tell me they want their parents to get back together. After the instructor assigned a seven page paper, I withdrew from the class, figuring I should spend that time on the ninth draft of my screenplay.
I asked my daughter’s therapist how am I supposed to respond to their questions on mom and dad getting back together, because saying, “Astrologically your father and I have low compatibility, in all areas, not just sex and communication.” Just seems wrong.
Her suggestion was hardly a revelation, especially considering the cost of her expertise, but reassuring. Just keep driving it home, that it’s better for two people to suffer than four. Not really, but because they were so young when we got divorced, they need to be told that mom and dad don’t get along, and this is better for everyone.
The kids stayed with my parents last weekend. I maximized their time away, and feel like I’m back on track. As the kids pulled away in my dad’s truck, my daughter blew me a kiss and closed the door in my face, but my son packed up two garbage bags of stuffed animals from his room, and told me he will call every hour. My guilt compounded when his little eye balls filled up with tears and he said, “You’re the greatest mom in the whole world.” I returned the compliment, and after they drove away, got to work.
When they came back home, we had a wonderful day, without any nagging distractions. That night, they were curled up sleeping, and I gave them each a kiss and took a picture to add to my “sleeping beauties” photo album. I was reminded of another great movie quote, “A boy’s best friend is his mother.” From Psycho.