Tag Archives: single mom

Adventures In Snowblowing

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Obvioulsy this isn’t my first rodeo. But that doesn’t mean I do things the easy way, or the right way, or the common sense way or any other way that YOU would do things. And that’s ok. That’s not the point of life.

We are in the middle of a March snow storm similar to alllll of the other March snow storms we have had in the past kazillion years of Central New York. This one was hyped and this one actually lived up to the hype. Good for Stella. Yeah, they named it. Stella. Or “STELLLLAAAAAAAAA!!!!”. There was a State of Emergency declared for the entire state and anyone caught driving in my county would be ticketed. Great. Everything was closed including the POST OFFICE!!!!! Yup, that’s right. No mail. It was sleeting, storming and dark of night-ing and the 2017 mailmen said “nope”.

I guess the powers-that-be have finally figured out that snow storms kill people. People actually think that their job is worth dying (or killing) for and the big wigs decided that people are just wrong. So, they close everything and that’s that.

Now, back to me and my fantastic story of pointlessness and annoyance and a little bit of genius.

Last night, at 10:30, after I took my ambien, I decided to go out and snow blow. To get a jump on the morning crappola. I bundled up, sort of, and squeeze out the front door because the snow was so high I could only open the door maybe 6 inches (or a foot, but lets pretend I haven’t gained 50 pounds and I can still squeeze through tiny spaces) and stepped into over 3 feet of snow. Wow. I sort of swim/fall/march to the back yard where the snowblower is and I knock the snow off and prime it and pull the string thing about 100 times. Nothing. I know it needs gas. I know damn well it needs gas and I had even put the gas can NEAR the snowblower like last week in anticipation of getting gas. Which I did not do because duh. Before I got pissed, I went in the basement and grabbed the extension cord and plugged it in and pushed the button and TA DA!!! It started (that’s the little bit of genius part). I did two passes in the driveway and had just started on the third when the damn thing died. No gas.

I looked at my car long and hard. It’s a wonderful Rav 4 and it knows how to drive in the snow. But does it really feel like driving up the driveway in 4 feet of snow? Let’s find out. I kicked around in the general area of where I think I left the gas can, find it, pull it out of the 6 feet of snow and grab the shovel. I shovel off the snow from the top of the car and hop in. I can’t really see anything because snow, but I’ve lived here for 10 years. I know how the driveway goes. And I go…until I stop. In the middle of the damn driveway. *sigh* ok. Looks like I am walking to the gas station.

The good part is that the gas station in only 2 blocks away. The bad part is the village hadn’t plowed the sidewalks or the street so I was literally high stepping thru 11 feet of snow to the gas station in the blinding blizzard with a wind chill of -20. All for nought. The gas station was closed. Of course it was. Everything was closed. It was a state of emergency and no one was supposed to leave their homes otherwise Stella was gonna get ’em.

And then there’s me.

So, I walk back through the chest high snow to my house and squeeze back through the front door and strip and go to bed. Well, first I sat and cried about my frostbit knee region and then I went to bed.

Next morning. I get up, bundle up sort of and walk to the gas station with my gas can. I start filling it and gas just pours out everywhere because the bottom corners are cracked. Ha ha ha. This is so funny. I went inside and asked if they had a gas can and the girl was all “Um…no.” And I was like “Ha ha ha. This is so funny.” And she was like “Um, let me check in the back” And low and behold! A gas can! Now, I have gas all over my hands and mittens from the gas fountain that was the old gas can so I stink and I can taste it and I may or may not be a little loopy from the fumes. I fill up the brand new gas can and kick thru 15 feet of snow, UP hill. I stop to chat with my neighbor who is out shoveling and then onward to snow-blow. I fill ‘er up and get to gettin.

Up the driveway I blow, to the end that is plowed in with snow that is literally over my head. Annnnddddd….stuck. I do my patented Hip Rocking Talk Out Loud To It method and 15 minutes later I am unstuck. Big Guy with Little Dog walks by smiling. I reek of gasoline and sweat and fear and I smile back.I snow blowed for over an hour. I did snow blow thru The Great Wall of Snow at the end of the driveway. Patience and perseverance are two qualities one must have when snowblowing. Really don’t need those qualities for anything else so go ahead and get rid of them as soon as you are done with blowing snow.

The moral of the story is this : Pay a plow guy. Or maybe live in Arizona. Or possibly keep the snowblower filled with gas during the winter or just learn how to hibernate? You decide. 

All the single mommies (all the single mommies)

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which ones come from a single mother home?

Put your hands up!! (I was singing the song…not trying to rob you)

When I finally faced the reality that I was now a single mother, I threw tantrums and kicked and screamed. You see, being a single mother was not in my plan. I got married with the firm belief that it would last forever. My grandparents were married for 50 years, my parents were married for 25 (and would have stayed married but their divorce is a novel in waiting). So, I just assumed that it was a forever deal.

Sadly, it wasn’t and therefore I am a single mother of three beautiful girls. Now, there are many positives to being a single parent. I don’t have to back up someone else’s bad parenting decision to present a united front for the kids. On the other hand, I have no one to back me up when I have to make parenting decisions. I don’t have to negotiate with another adult for things the kids want. Ofcourse, I also do not have the luxury of giving them everything they want because I don’t have another income. Ok, so being a single parent is hard.

This wasn’t something I chose, it was just the consequence of the marriage I had. So, we make the best of it. My problem with being a single mother to 3 girls was there was NO representation (that I could think of ) in film, TV, or literature. So, I couldn’t envision what this single mommyhood was going to look like. I had no way to romanized it or spin it in a positive light. All I could bring to mind were statistics and bad outcomes of kids I had known growing up….and my own experience also. And it just was NOT what I wanted for my kids.

I finally remembered One Day At A Time starring Bonnie Franklin and Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips. From what I could recall about that show is that they were all sorts of screwed up. One of the kids had a drug problem, one had an eating disorder and Schneider was always hitting on the mom. Yuck. As far from the Cosby Show as one could get. So, it looked as though I was going to have to start my own sitcom, write my own novel, present my own screenplay.

Growing up, the majority of my friend’s parents were divorced. The ones who had intact families were the exception to the rule. So, I had role models. But it was the 80’s, the ME decade, and so, they were not the best role models. Or at least not the way I wanted to live my life as a single mom. I had to redefine single motherhood to fit the way I wanted to raise my kids. So, I have set about to make a life that I never expected to have to make.

I knew I didn’t want to make my kids my equal. I didn’t want to saddle them with the responsibility of making me happy or give them the role of caretaker of me and my emotions. I didn’t want them to see me as the victim. And above all I didn’t want them to grow up thinking that THEY were victims. I had experienced first hand “the victim as parent” and the children of that family were not stable,  not well rounded individuals. Ok, so I had an idea of what I didn’t want. Now what did I want and how do I achieve that?

I wanted to have secure, emotionally healthy kids who grow up to be contributing, stable members of society. Isn’t that what every parent wants? I had to get over the grief that I had that there was  no one to join me as a witness to my children’s lives. That took some time as grief has no time frame. Then I had to refocus on my kids and what they needed from me. And what they didn’t need. That took some investigating. Becoming the mother I wanted to be was time consuming. And not something that happened overnight or without alot of thought. When I was married I had the luxury of letting life unfold without a whole lot of thought, knowing I had another adult there to share the responsibility of all decisions good and bad. Now, my priorities had changed and I needed to be more focused because I want to avoid my family becoming a statistic.

I can’t tell you I have any answers, I don’t. So far, despite major tragedies, my kids are very centered and have amazing coping skills and don’t seem to be as damaged as I believed they would be. Yes, yes, kids are resilient…as kids. They do carry their hurt with them into adulthood and eventually they have to deal with the fall out of all the things that happened to them as kids. My goal is to give them the skills they need to be able to deal, as adults, when they finally have the words and knowledge to understand what they went through as kids. My job, as their parent is ever changing. I cannot tell you that if you and I  just follow these directions then our kids will be perfect and have wonderful lives. I wish I could.

But for all of us single moms out there, we can do it. We can raise happy, healthy kids. Maybe we didn’t choose to be single mothers, maybe we did. But it is doable. Our kids have absolute trust and faith in us and we deserve their trust and faith. No matter how we came to be a single mother, I believe it is no accident that we are. We can create our own ideal, our own idea of family, our own standards and boundaries. It is hard, harder than having a participating spouse, but it is so worth it.

So, when you are sitting up late with a crying baby, or finishing up a school project, or teaching your teen how to drive, remember although you are alone in doing these tasks, you are not alone in your experience. There is something very special in getting to be the only parent. There is a closeness we single mothers get to share with our kids that is different from the closeness between moms and kids in two parent households. Not better, not worse, just different. No one can negate our experience or tell us that we are less than because we do not have a partner to share our kids with. We know, no matter the circumstances of our single mommyhood, that we can do this job as well as any other.

Our lives take a bit more planning, a bit more luck and a bit more work than a two parent home. We need to rely on others, we need to ask for help, we need to be stringent on who we allow in our children’s lives. We need to see everyone as a potential role model for our kids because they will make role models out of  the most unlikely people.  We have to accept that our family is not going to be traditional and our kids will most likely not lead traditional lives. But how wonderful that our kids will become adults that understand how to go with the flow, who accept others, whose “normal” is stretchy. Our kids will know that traditional roles don’t have to be followed because they have seen us, their single mothers, do it all. What an incredible lesson we can teach our kids!!

Our single mother lives are sitcoms. How many times have you been in the middle of some parenting dilemma (like the 6 month old just found out how to remove her own poopy diaper and the 8 year old is running to get you while you are spilling boiling water all over the kitchen floor because you tripped over the damn dog and the 4 year old has stolen the “childproof” scissors and is hacking away at the hair that she just recently grew on her previously bald head) and been simultaneously glad and sad that no one was there to witness the chaos? What can you do but laugh, clean up the mess and pray that the hairdresser can make your little girl look like a little girl despite her self inflicted crew cut in the front…

We wrote that. It is all ours. And it is funny. Just because there wasn’t another adult there to share it with does not mean it was tragic or less than. It is ours. As is the drama of the 15 year old and her grades and her boyfriend issues, as is the 11 year old and her perfectionism and her obsessions, as is the 7 year old and her desire to be as grown up as her big sisters but yet remain the baby for a while longer. It is all ours, the sweetness and the sour. Enjoy it with no regrets. Our kids rely on us for everything but we also teach them, by example, that they can rely on themselves also. Our example shows them that they never need another to make a life, they are complete without another. That if they choose to be with another, it is not a necessity, it is a compliment to the life they already have. What a great gift!!

I am a big fan of marriage and two parent households. I support all of my friends in their marriages and family pursuits. I enjoyed being a married person. Today, I enjoy equally my single motherhood. I never thought I would be able to say that. I know what the generalized  risks are for my kids and yes, I worry. So does every mother.That has not a thing to do with being a single mother, that is just being a mother. My family doesn’t have to be a statistic. In fact, my family will be as unique and special as yours.

Oh yeah….Alice…The Partridge Family…Who’s The Boss! We are out there!! Now, I guess I have to get a bus, teach the kids to sing, find a nice italian man to keep house for me while I waitress at a greasy spoon….

copyright@sparklingbytheway 2010

Valentines Day and The Single Girl

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Black on Vday? I'm wearing my heart pin....

I think there was a time in my life when I got excited about Valentines Day. I don’t remember when that was,which that is not to say I hate the day. I actually don’t really care. It’s nice, I like the decorations. My youngest was born 3 days before, so I think of her as my valentine. Even in the throes of my romantic entanglements as a youth, V-day never really caught me. I like it for the excuse to be crafty and use hole punches and glitter. That’s all.

The day has given me opportunity to examine the lives of my married friends and compare my life to theirs. Many times,when I dare to compare, my life comes out on the losing side. But V-day really does let the life of a single mother shine. Shine like the sparkliest glitter on the biggest heart in the dollar tree store! I do not have any expectations of anyone giving me anything. I don’t have to be angry that my special someone didn’t make me breakfast in bed, shovel the driveway or make reservations at a fancy shmancy restaurant. I do not have to open innocent boxes of cookies or slowly lift the dirty socks while trying to be sly, hoping to find the diamond earrings I circled in the Kmart advert. I do not have to be angry or disappointed in a day that sets the bar so high that even the good valentines can never live up.

But is it the valentine giver or is it the valentine receiver who makes the day a bust? I am going to go out on a limb here and say it is the receiver who either makes or breaks the holiday. Maybe the receiver only gets a cheap little card when he/she was expecting a trip to Cancun. That’s all on the receiver. The giver may be so thrilled to be giving a little card, thinking that it is the thought behind the little card that is gonna get him some tonight. Really, it is all just un-met expectations that lead to the ruination of the day. And many times, those expectations are never even communicated in the first place. The receiver just expects the giver to be a mind reader or the giver expects the receiver to be appreciative.

Then there are the couples who think just being in a couple makes us singles jealous. And they have to keep up the charade of being a happy couple especially during the holiday because they would rather be with someone than alone. I have outgrown that phase and I enjoy being single much more than I ever did being with some jerk. I am so grateful that I do not have to worry about any of this V-day stuff. There are no expectations, no crushed hopes, no dreams denied. There was just me and my kids, doing exactly as we pleased. Making sure that we all know about love, what we believe love is.

I don’t see how anyone could be opposed to valentines day. Oh I hear those curmudgeon whining that it is just a “commercial holiday” made up by a card company. Whatevah. It was made up by people, just like St. Patrick’s day, Presidents day and the 4th of July. All institutions designed by people to celebrate or commemorate events or people. What is so wrong with taking a day out to celebrate love? Sure, we celebrate it every day, we love every day. But why not take one day out of 365 to make love feel special. It’s like Mother’s day. We are mothers everyday. Do we really need a day specifically designated to praise us for being mothers? To be celebrated? Yes. We do. As do fathers and grandparents. How boring would this life be without simple celebrations. How boring would a year be without special days carved out to celebrate love, family and national pride? It is what you make it.

Today, I am grateful for the love I have received. I am grateful that I have a cupboard full of toilet paper because when I was married, we were constantly running out of toilet paper. I am so very grateful for having no expectation put on me to be/wear/do the most romantic thing. I am grateful for the love of my valentines. I am ever so grateful to be single and even more grateful that my friends are married. Not just because  they prove that the grass isn’t always greener, but because they show me that love does exist, marriages grow and change just like people. Valentines Day treated this single girl really good.

Perspective is everything. Expectations are premeditated resentments. Love today because we don’t know if tomorrow will ever get here. And I would suggest that on Valentines day, just go with the flow, love the one your with and give your married friends a big ole hug. Sometimes they need it more than you would ever believe. Love, not sex, makes the world go round. Kiss your babies, call your mother and send your boss a secret admirer valentine. If you spread the love you will receive the love. And on Feb. 15th go buy up all the half price chocolate you can find and have a feast. We deserve it.

Single Mom Dating A.K.A. Dead Man Walking

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Kinda scared to NOT reply to his "whatup" ... he obviously is no stranger to hair product though....

I have been single for awhile now. I made a conscious decision when I got divorced to take a year and collect myself, not date and totally focus on my kids. Not that a single, 30-something of three kids with an ex who lives in Dramaville is a hot ticket. There were some who were beating down my door, but I used to say to them ” if you want to date me with the condition my life is in, then I do NOT want to date you.” To the general public, that is unacceptable for a woman to say. There are so very many people, of every generation, who firmly believe that a woman without a man is just sad and less than. And I guess I may have bought into that idea for a time. Probably a reason I stayed married for as long as I did.

When I decided that the time had come to dip my toe back into the pool, it was shocking. First of all, most of my friends are married. They are just now experiencing what I have already experienced. So, they had no idea what it was like for me to try to balance working, raising kids, and having enough energy to devote to the dating process. I never really enjoyed dating in the first place hence being married with kids at a young age. My friends thoughts I was nuts when I was checking out internet dating sites. “But you are so pretty and funny and smart! You don’t need to do internet dating!! That’s for losers!!” Great, thanks for the encouragement. And which one of them was setting me up with their husband’s single friends? Yup. None.

Now, I had some far out experiences when I first started this journey. I didn’t really believe that I was going to find true love on the internet. But I figured I may be able to figure out what I liked and didn’t, what I wanted and what I didn’t so that I could, at the very least, avoid making the same mistakes twice. I was using this as more of a learning experience. I had spent 12 years in an very confined, controlled relationship (that’s putting it nicely) so I had a bit of a learning curve to conquer. What was unbelievable to me was how many guys out there are married and trying to scout out an affair. Some wanted long term affairs, some wanted one night stands. That was eye opening. It was hard to wrap my mind around a man that thought he was offering me something really great when he was offering me a no strings attached affair. And certainly not something I was going to wrap my legs around.

The ones who were not married were difficult also. Many of them had these ideas of what they thought a woman should do and be. One guy sent me a list of what was acceptable to him as far as jobs, body appearance, income, and had a  detailed list of what was acceptable as far as a woman’s children’s interests. Now, not to pass judgement but, many of these guys had never been married, were in their 40’s and still living at home with a parent or a sibling.

The more I put myself out there the more I thought my friends were right. The internet is full of perverts and losers. But wait, I was out there, what did that make me? A pervert or a loser. There were a few nice guys, but no one that I was clicking with. I really was not enjoying myself at all. So many of these “men” were just looking for a new mommy for themselves or for their kids. I was not interested in dating a guy who didn’t have a life already. This was a good excercise for me. It really firmed up what I was looking for in a partner. I became more and more picky. I was no longer willing to settle.

I also came to understand that I was a feared commodity. Married women feared me. Which I found laughable at first. I knew I was no threat. I knew that I was not interested in a man who had a wife, or even one that had recently had a wife. My playing field was getting more and more narrow. I was becoming more and more savvy. But some of my married friends were still leery of any laugh that passed between me and their husbands. Their thought was men are pigs but if we women didn’t cater to their piggish wants then they could not be pigs. Therefore, it was actually women who were the problem. This logic is almost funny. I agree that women who refuse to participate in an extra marital affair are part of the solution, the converse, that women who do participate are only PART of the problem. Men are the other part of that problem.

Many of these guys are such textbook, classic cases of dysfunction it was seriously bizarre. One email and they believed we were “dating”. One date and they thought we were engaged. Two dates and we were as good as married. Unbelievable. Part of my personal journey was developing and stating my boundaries clearly. What was strange was that I would state my boundary and these “men” would just simply not believe me. I am not sure if they thought I was kidding, or that I just didn’t really know what I wanted. But it was almost like what I had said they just didn’t hear. Despite me saying it repeatedly, to their face, in writing, with witnesses. Maybe if I had told them on Jerry Springer they would have believed me. Scratch that, they would have probably used the opportunity to propose on national television.

Recently I have been dating a man I met a few years ago. We reconnected recently coincidently and I genuinely like this guy. Not to the point of introducing him to my kids. We are getting there I think. But I am in no rush. I have not only survived, but thrived in my post divorce life. My kids keep me busy, I have great friends and work, school and a fantastic social life!! He is someone who is adding to my life, not draining it. He has his own life, rich and fulfilling and he is fun all on his own. He is not looking to me to complete him. He is looking for me to join him on his journey. To see if he may have a place in my journey. It’s good stuff so far. One day at a time my life changes. This too shall pass, the good and the bad.

Did I mention he’s a doctor?

Single Mom Takes Kids on Vacation (Hilarity Ensues.)

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that is my “i’m trying to be happy” face….

So, this past spring, I decided to take my three kids on a  vacation. After all, I am an adult, we are a family and this is just what you do. Apparently it is not what I do. I was listening to A Prarie Home Companion the other day and they did a skit about Lutherans and how their vacations are always rittled with sickness and uncomfortablilty. Had I known that before I had my brilliant Let’s Take A Vacation idea I may have been more prepared with less expectation.

It was spring break and I “surprised” the kids with the idea just two days before we were leaving. I had booked a hotel in Virginia Beach! My oldest, who was 14 at the time, was not amused. My younger two (10 and 6) were really caught off guard but quickly warmed to the idea. Good, we were all on board with the family vacation! Well, not the 14 year old, she was soooo 14, I almost dropped her on the side of the road  to fend for herself. But I didn’t. Cause I am the mom.

We packed up the car with  everything we  needed on the 10 hour drive. We have snacks and DVD’s and headphones and games. This was gonna be great! A family vacation! And to be totally honest, I was kind of proud of myself to be doing this all on my own. No husband, no friend…just me and the kids. I am SuperMom. Well, according to me anyway. The 14 year old may have a different take on things.

And we’re off! Along about Philadelphia, I hear the first “how much longer?” Are you kidding me??? Kids actually ASK that?  We stop for a potty break and I buy a map. Yeah, I buy a map. I had my directions from mapquest, but I wanted a map.Let me explain. I like to feel spontaneous. Like taking a road trip to a place I have never been before with just my kids and no other driver spontaneous, so I  didn’t bring a map. Around about Philly, I decided that part of being spontaneous and fun would be to see where we are going. I bought a map.

I unfold the map and I see a line that goes right through the water. The Chesapeake Bay. My hands start to sweat, and I am not sure why. I would soon find out why. So, the directions have us going straight through Delaware from the top to the bottom. Ok, I have never been to Delaware. Yea Delaware! Oh how naive.  Ever been to Delaware? I am sure it has some redeeming qualities, I mean, I didn’t see one, but maybe you know of some. It was 3 hours of strip malls and road construction. Stop and go. Nothing to see here ma’am. I hate Delaware. Now I know. But I tried to keep the kids happy “Hey look girls! Another Walmart!!! That makes 5 and we have only traveled 15 miles!! 10 year old, tell me how many Walmarts is that in a square mile radius?” Kept them on their toes. The 14 year old just stayed asleep, waking up only to complain that she was hot and refusing to take off any of her three sweatshirts finding it more pleasurable to whine at us about her body temperature. Good times.

All the way through Delaware I am checking the map, knowing that we are getting closer and closer to the line through the water. My anxiety starts building. I don’t like bridges. But most people don’t. It is just a means to an end. It won’t be pleasurable for me but I have driven half way across the country, I’m not a wimp.

At the end of Delaware I see “Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel” labeling the line through the water on the map. And I start to feel really sick to my stomach. I am trying to convince myself that it could mean that there is a choice. Take the bridge or the tunnel. I would choose the tunnel. That’s easy. Ok, I reason things out with my 3 kids…it has to be an either or option. They agree with me because they are starting to get wary of my behavior, not because they have any idea what I am talking about.They have never seen me in full blown panic attack mode.

They are oblivious to the sheer terror that has overcome me. They don’t drive. They just trust me to get them from point A to point B. I always have, why would this be any different? Because I have to drive  17 miles across water. I seriously didn’t know that I had  Gephyrophobia, a severe phobia of bridges. Who knew? I didn’t. The closer we got the more anxious I became. But I was still counting on it being an either/or type thing. As we pull up to the toll booth (because not only will I have the pleasure of this Bridge Tunnel catastrophe, I get to pay for it too) I ask the lady “So, um, how long is this thing?” And she hands us a packet containing the history and blue prints of the damn thing. As if I would want to see ariel views of what I was doing. Or see the horror half constructed. I say “thank you” and she looks me in the eye and asks “Are you going to be ok?” And I look her right back in her eye and say “Let’s hope so!” And I peel out leaving smoke and tire tracks…

Ok, not really. I did proceed at a normal speed towards my greatest fear. Remember, at the time, I had no idea that this was my greatest fear. I was thinking it was just a bit of anxiety. Ha! So, as my anxiety mounts I tell the kids to shut off the dvd player and not move or speak. Not quite sure what them not moving or speaking was going to help, but that is just what I needed in the moment. I threw the information pamphlet at my 14 year old and told her to find out how long this insanity was and how long it was going to take. So, she sweetly starts reading me miselanious facts. I say through clenched teeth “Just tell me how much longer this damn thing is”. As I have the steering wheel clenched, I try hard to focus on the car ahead of me. I zone into the licence plate and pray. And I try to quickly analyze myself and why I am feeling so petrified? I have faith that the bridge is solid, I have faith that my driving abilities are such to get us safely across, so why then do I feel this intense, inescapable fear? Meanwhile, the little one in the back has found a tape recorder and is playing with that. I manage to squeeze out “STOP! NO NOISE!!” Yeah, this has officially turned into the trip from hell. And just when I think I can’t take it anymore, we hit the tunnel. Ok, I can breathe. The tunnel is so comforting. I love the tunnel. I want to live in the tunnel and never ever leave. But all too soon, we are headed up and out of the tunnel and onto the next bridge. Panic. My 14 year old is slightly amused by my obvious discomfort. She starts filming the scenery. And the funny thing is, no one is talking, or moving. I can’t even speak in complete sentences at this point and I say to her “Soda” and she hands me my soda which is literally inches from my hand. I take a sip and throw it back at her. She kind of laughs. It’s like I am in the fields of Vietnam or in surgery. That is how intense I was. I asked her every few seconds how many more bridges, how much longer. It was sheer hell. The next tunnel was again a bit of heaven. Being that it is a two lane bridge tunnel, I stayed behind the same car the entire way. That was also a blessing. I had zoned in on his licence plate and if I had had to look away or been distracted by a new licence plate I may have lost it completely and driven right off the bridge.

As if this isn’t bad enough, there were signs all along the way saying “DO NOT PULL OVER” and “KEEP DRIVING” so I felt like no matter what happened I had to just keep going. There was no way out. As we come out of tunnel number two and on to the last bridge, I try to use distraction as a means to get a grip on this fear. I tell the 14 year old to talk to me. Now, on a good day, the 14 year old isn’t that into making conversation with me. So, she, true to form, says “about what?” AGH!!! I don’t care!!! Whatever!!Distract me!!! So she says “Well, I can’t see the land yet, it’s really like we are in the middle of the ocean and there is nothing around…” AGH!!!! STOP!!! Different topic!!!! So, she tried. And as we exited the last bridge, I really thought I may just have a heart attack. That was way too much stress for one person. I wanted to cry and throw up and call someone to come get me. I am not strong, I am not brave, I’m a wimp. I didn’t want to be the mom anymore. I can’t hack it.

Now who though up something as horrible as The Bridge Tunnel? And why had no one thought to mention it to me? This was a hugely traumatic experience.I was scarred. I couldn’t stop talking about what a nightmare that was. And it was. All of my nightmares have to do with water, bridges and driving into water. Imagine having one of your nightmares come to life. And in that nightmare you realize that you are the sole responsibility for three kids. No one coming to the rescue, no way to wake up. On top of that the extra added pressure of being a good example for these kids and making sure they are having a good time on their vacation. Pretty sure sitting still and not talking while your mother is freaking out is not the traditional “good time vacation”. Although, my 14 year old did derive some sick pleasure out of it I am sure. The peanut gallery in the backseat finally say “can we talk  now mom?” Sure.