As I've been surfing the blogosphere I've noticed that there are a lot of single moms blogging. This is for them.
And for one former single mom who's as likely to sprout wings and take up aerobatics as she is to ever read a blog. (For her, I'll print this out and send it by "snail mail.")
In 1964, my mom became a widow. I was 26 months old. For the next 15 years, our household consisted of her and me.
And, though I was, of course, the perfect child, I was precious little help in terms of keeping a roof over our head, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies.
Mom taught kindergarten part-time until I was old enough to go to school myself. Thereafter she taught full time. She also earned a masters degree, participated in community theater, served on the board of her credit union and carried on a normal social life.
She made me feel so special and supported and loved, that it never occurred to me that she might have anything else to do besides supervising my upbringing.
When, in the early years, we all ate Shabbat dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and then she left me there overnight, for Grandma to take to religious school on Saturday morning, it never ever occurred to me that, for her, Friday night was adult-time.
She could see a movie with a friend, go on a date that didn't require getting home in time for a baby-sitter (or the cost of a baby-sitter), or just enjoy our apartment without worrying about what I was getting into and whether I was ever going to stop with my incessant jibber-jabber of questions and comments. (I haven't yet.)
She made me feel so secure that I thought she was making a great sacrifice by letting Grandma and Grampa have me one night out of most weeks. The idea that leaving me with her folks might be a relief, rather than a sacrifice, never entered my David-centric consciousness.
Looking back, I can see hints that her task wasn't so easy. But only with my 44-year-old eyes.
At the time, I was sure my mom could solve any problem and that our life was smooth sailing.
(She remarried when I was 17 and I was best man. He's a spectacular guy and I was honored. I was also honored to ask him to return the favor more than a decade later.)
Talking to my mom about the 15 years she raised me alone, I can now see there must have been a gazillion times she felt uncertain, alone, frustrated and overwhelmed. There are undoubtedly dozens of decisions she'd like to get a "do-over" on. Maybe hundreds.
But I'm here to tell you, the love, firmness, humor, consistency, standards and security she conveyed to me (even when she didn't always feel these things herself) gave me the best foundation a guy could hope for upon which to build his own adult life.
Words are inadequate to express the depth of my gratitude. So instead, with this post, I'm trying to pay it forward.
Let me express my gratitude to all the single mom bloggers I've read in the past month.
You're doing for your kids what my mom did for me. Don't waste too much time second-guessing yourself. You're doing the best you can with what you've got. You're juggling bills and jobs and appointments and you're trying to live some semblance of an adult existence while putting your kids' needs first.