Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm Angry

Posted by Marti.


I’ve been carrying this around for six years and two months. No one knows. And now it’s getting heavy; as my son grows older, it’s getting unbelievably burdensome and awkward to hold within.

I’m angry. I’m bitter.

You would never guess that from looking at me. I have myself together. I’m an independent single mother. I provide nicely for my son. He attends a private school. I have my nursing degree, and I have a stable, dependable job with excellent benefits. I am incredibly laid back. I don’t yell, I’m not excitable, I don’t have mood swings.

Except that my insides are teeming with anger. Seething. I grind my teeth and don’t even realize it. I clench my jaw until it aches. Because I am angry.

When I found out I was going to have my son, I was twenty-one years old. I was living with the “father”, who was already a father to a one year old girl. The daughter’s mother did not know that he and I were “together” like that. He told her I was a lesbian and that we were just “roommates”. So imagine her shock when she walked into the apartment one afternoon and found us taking a nap together. She freaked. He freaked, thinking she would take the daughter away from him. She ran out. He ran after. And left me alone, where I remained until he came back in and furiously declared, “You can’t be pregnant and live here”. So I left. Alone. And alone is where I am now, six years and two months later.

I love my son. He is the sole purpose for my existence. He is everything I never thought I wanted. The moment he was born, I realized – this is it. This is why I am alive. For him, and him only.

But still, I was alone.

Yes, there were friends and the occasional family member and heaven-sent home daycare workers, but at the end of the day, after going to school from eight in the morning until noon, then working from 4pm until midnight, I was alone. Me and my baby.

I put myself through school. Twice. I received food stamps, Medicaid. I still remember the hot sting of the flood of tears I had to hold back until I could make it out of the government building and to my car. My pride was crushed. My spirit was broken. And out of those ruins, I created this – our life.

My family told me I couldn’t do it. My mother gave me money for an abortion. I sent it back. I am pro-choice, but my gut told me to hunker down, pull myself up from my bootstraps, and plow through. My relationship with my mother was forever damaged from the moment I marked “Return to sender” on her $400 check. My son is half-black, and my mother’s second husband is incredibly racist. We’re not welcome in her home; therefore my son has no real “grandparents”.

I’m angry.

But for all those people who told me “You can’t do it”, I proved them wrong a thousand times over. I turned myself into a one-woman operation. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, lunch-making, kid-bathing, lawn mowing, rent-paying, ...I could go on but you name it, I do it. Alone.

The “father” has since gotten back together with the daughter’s mother. They had a son, and now they’re married. My son is no more than an after thought to the “father”. A distant memory, a living walking talking piece of proof that he once lied and got caught lying.

All of my friends are married, most of them have kids. And supportive families, and in-laws. It’s hard to be around them sometimes. The husbands and the grandparents and the idea of “family” seems to point to all I don’t have, and all I ache to be able to provide for my child.

Because it’s just me, me and my baby, and I am angry about that.

I am grateful for all that I have. I’m not so incredibly bitter that I am unable to be grateful. We have our health; we have a roof over our heads. My son is beautiful and articulate and imaginative. I no longer have to rely on government assistance. I was able to go to school and rise above the statistics of single motherhood. I also know that I chose this; I knew (to a certain extent) what I was getting into. But really, who truly knows the full repercussions of “what they’re getting into” when entering parenthood for the first time?

Every night I crawl into my son’s twin bed, squeeze myself between him and the wall, fold him into my arms and sing what he refers to as “The Sunshine Song”. And most nights I fight not to cry, even as one or two tears escape, because the words tear me apart. He is my sunshine, he does make me happy, and I would die if ever someone tried to take him away. After the song is over, I kiss him, and I hug him. I tell him I love him, make sure he has his blankets the way he likes them, and his blankies are within reach. I scratch his back, adjust his nightlight, and then I shut his door, and I am alone. My baby is sleeping, and I am alone.

My anger has been shoved down deep inside me for a long time. It festers in the dark, mostly because I won’t allow it in the light, where it could begin to air out, scab over, and eventually heal. I can’t keep shoving it down any longer. It’s eating me from the inside out. I need to allow it to heal, I need to allow it to the surface. This is my attempt. This is me saying, “I am angry”, bringing it into the light, allowing it to the surface, not letting it fester anymore.

I’m angry. But I don’t want to be anymore.

40 comments:

Vicki said...

You have every right to be angry. What an asshat his father turned out to be. I wish you nothing but the best and I hope that one day you find a real man who will love you and your son unconditionally.

Lala said...

Hell yeah. Another single mother at 21 who has been angry for 16 years, abandoned, alone and struggling without even the career successes to look back on. If you find a way to let the anger out in a healthy way let me know.

Miss Grace said...

That's the post I would write if I was articulate and brave enough to write it. Thanks.

sam {temptingmama} said...

Very beautiful post. I'm sorry for all the pain you continue to face. Your son is one lucky little man to have you for his mother.

Tara said...

so well said it brought tears to my eyes. My dad left my mom before I was born (he was a jackass too) and I know my mom felt the same way you do for many many years.

Good for you for striving for healing.

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Anonymous said...

I admire you. I admire the strength to share this. I admire where your life is today. I admire that you can recognize it was hard. You deserve so much more than this. You and your baby.

Because I'm a fixer (I know, bad habit) ... there are so many older people out there who would love another grandchild. Maybe your son can be lucky enough to have lots of grandparents from a senior center? You don't have to be born into a lovely family to have an awesome community.

You're in the medical profession, you know how important mental health is. Find someone to talk to. Find someone who can help you let go of the anger. You're everything to your son now, but you won't always be - and you need to make sure that you'll survive that. Remember, you're raising a man. And you're doing a damn good job at it.

Satsuki Rebel said...

I agree- a very poignant post. If there was any sort of justice these come and go men would receive their own punishment. Maybe it's a punishment of its own that he will never really know or be close to someone as special as your son. My ex has also set up shop with his single mom friend, even going so far as to getting engaged while he left me homeless and pregnant. He's shown similar irresponsibility. I'm angry about all of the diapers he hasn't changed but I'm also grateful. I'm grateful that she is my daughter and no one else can lay claim to that. I love her and can raise her exactly as I see fit. If you were here I'd give you a hug and a cup of tea. While it may not fix the problem at least you could know- I care too.

Anonymous said...

I admire your post. I too was a single mother before I met my husband. There is someone out there for you who will love you and your son. You can be proud of the fact you've made it on your own. Start taking small steps to meet people and take the time for yourself that you have earned and deserve. Baby steps.

You are a brave woman.

Honeybell said...

Amazing post. I believe your anger is well placed, and look what you have accomplished with it! Without that anger, that fight to make things better for yourself and your son, who knows what could have been. I also believe that you'll be able to let it go when you don't need it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Above & beyond the innate value of your story, your emotions, and your family of two, that is the most well-written post I think I've ever read here.

You are right. It is important to acknowledge your anger - it's the first step in dealing with it and not letting it eat you alive anymore. You've done so much so well, now do this (dealing with the anger) for you.

Best, best of luck.

Anonymous said...

You are one hellava lady. I hope you realize what a wonderful role model you are for your son. He will be a happy, well-adjusted man because of you.

I have also carried around a lot of anger and bitterness for years, for different reasons. I decided to start seeing a therapist about a year ago and it has helped tremendously. I hope you find your own path to dealing with this. You deserve all the happiness in the world and I wish you nothing but the best.

Anonymous said...

You are beautiful. Your son is beautiful. The sperm donor is missing out on something wonderful, but that is his loss. Let it go.....for your sanity and for the sanity of your son. Because even though you are hiding your anger, your resentment may be seeping through. Do not allow the sperm donor to hold that power over you. The best thing you can do is to thank your lucky stars he's out of your life. You made the right decision in keeping your son, let the rest of the world go to hell. When the time is right, you will find someone. Karma wins every time.

Avalon said...

Beautifully said. I was you when I was 18 years old. Pregnant and alone. I am now 42. My daughter is 24. Her father, who has not seen her since she was 4 years old, is married and his wife has no idea he has a child. He refuses to even acknowledge my daughter's presence.

When he left, we were both poor, immature, overwhelmed teenagers. He is now a high-ranking District Attorney with a 6 figure salary. My daughter and I still struggle to manage every penny. I have never received a dime of child support and never pursued him.

Sometimes I am angry, but mainly, I had to learn to let that go because ultimately, I got the better deal. I got to live my life with a wonderful child.

He gets to live a life of denial and lies.

To me, there is no comparison.

You have done the right thing for you and your son. It would be foolish to tell you you shouldn't be angry. You have every right to be. But trust me, the anger will eventually fade.

And you still got the better deal.

Kelly said...

You have every right to be angry. May I also suggest that sometimes depression can be masked by anger? Or, really, anger is sometimes the only way we can express our profound sadness. We have to go on. We cannot simply lie down and cry on our beds, even if that is what we want to do most.

It is so clear how much you love your son. You've been through more in the span of a few years than most people endure in decades. Perhaps you should seek out a doctor, someone to talk to, and take it from there.

chasingjoy said...

Bravo! Great post. I hope it brings about some of the relief you crave and deserve.

I cried reading about "The Sunshine Song". Everything changes when those little guys come into our lives. I laugh at the things that were important to me before. Now it really is all about making sure he has his blanket and secretly stocking up on more of the same blanket so I can postpone the experience of disappointment for him a little longer.

Jo said...

I wish my mother had been, or would be, as loving as you are. May God just pluck that anger away and give you peace. You are amazing ...

Anonymous said...

You are an incredible person, as everyone has said. To have pulled yourself up to make such a good life for yourself and your son is an amazing accomplishment. And what do these other people who have done you wrong have to say about their life accomplishments? Nothing near as good. You have gone beyond them in the journey of life and I doubt they will ever catch up.

I would also like to reiterate what one other person said here. You remind me so much of my own mother--strong, made it against incredible odds, lived for her child. She put all of her everything into me, but ended up having real problems when I became a teenager and then an adult and needed to be my own person, problems that continue to make our relationship difficult to this day. That transition (which I imagine happens in slow steps all along the way) will be much easier for both of you if you can find a way to be prepared for it. Maybe doing more things for yourself, maybe developing a life outside of your son would help? I don't have the right answer here.

I really hope this is not coming across as a criticism because I admire you as someone who has the strength beyond what most people are capable of. I am so glad you are letting your anger out, because that is truly the first step to inner harmony. Thank you for your incredible example of what a mother can be.

pkzcass said...

I agree with everyone else that you are an incredible mother, and your son is lucky to have you. And have every right to be angry. I also agree that perhaps you might seek out some therapy so you can be at peace with yourself. Can I also suggest that you talk to someone in family court in your state to see if you can get some child support from your son's father? I don't agree with the idea of letting it go because then that just shows these deadbeat dads that they can get away with it. Maybe you can channel some of your anger that way, while you learn how to let some of it go. I only say this because I have a friend who works for the family court system in our state, and her job is to go after deadbeat dads. She takes tremendous pleasure in hunting them down and making them pay up. And if there are people like that in the court system where you live, then they can help you. It's not necessarily about the money, but the responsibility of the father and perhaps helping you to find some healing as well.

As for Avalon, you're a better person than I am. I'd be harassing that man on a daily basis. Why should he and his new family live in the lap of luxury while you and your daughter had to struggle?

Anonymous said...

I am amazed by how strong you sound. I am amazed that you are still single. Someone will be very lucky to hsve you as their life partner. And I predict it wont be long...

Martie of

http://uncontainedchaos.blogspot.com

K. Restoule said...

Wow. I have nothing but respect and admiration for you.

I know that words on a screens typed by a stranger may not mean much, but I don't believe that you're "alone". I would stand with you if given the opportunity.

mmichele said...

Beautiful post.

Thanks for sharing. I admire your strength in wanting to deal with your anger.

Annie said...

The best revenge is a happy life well lived. Do what you need to do in order to get this anger away from your sweet spirit... He's done enough, and you don't deserve to spend the rest of your life angry - take care of yourself the way you wish someone else would... and there are people who have lost their only child to illness or an accident and will never know the joy of grandparenting... Give that joy to them and enjoy a family of choice not birth.

Anonymous said...

I was like you. 21. alone. pregnant. My DD is now 11 and is still the light of my life. I'm not sure when I let the bitterness and anger go. I just know that it took time and now I have.

Hang in there. You are strong and you are a wonderful mother. You need to let go of the anger and bitterness for the health of your relationship with your son and maybe more importantly, you need to let it go for yourself. It's so much easier said than done, and I hope this is your first step.

Never forget, take care of yourself so that you are able to care for your son.

Kat said...

This is so beautifully written. You are doing an amazing job. I think this it is a wonderful thing you're doing, to post it here as a beginning to not "shoving it down" anymore. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that the deadbeat dad should have taken responsibility, I can't believe your mother's actions.
I suppose I'm very blessed to have a family that would welcome you with open arms regardless of the situation. I wish I could give you a big hug.
I hope you find that special someone to complete your family. Perhaps that will help you to release that anger and feel complete.

Anonymous said...

You may not want to hear this, but I envy you. Making it work with a husband can be more trouble than it's worth.

Bloggymommer said...

I am proud of you.

Anonymous said...

You give me hope. With a just turned three year old and starting out on a degree, hearing about people who've been there and done it, people who pay their own rent and have independance. I want that. Feeling angry is good, it shows you still have emotions, still feel.

I want to be as brave as you.

Kandee said...

Wow. I can imagine how you feel. But I could never fully understand. Your emotional honesty is impressive. You have every right to feel the way you do. I hope you find the support you need and the recognition you deserve.

Stephanie said...

As a married mom of 3, this post is eye opening to me....thank you for sharing. I'm sure I could offer more support to my single mom friends....and listen and just care more....you are so brave to bare your soul like this.
I wish you healing and peace and someday, when the time is right, I wish the perfect man for you, to become the father your child never had!!!!!!

kittenpie said...

Woman, I am beyond impressed. Seriously. It's so easy to get caught in that cycle you mention, to let such a burden crush you. But you are doing amazingly. And I can tell you, as the daughter of a mother who bore me at 21, uneducated, poor, with family hundreds of miles away, a mother who also climbed tooth and nail out of the situation to make something of herself and of me - some day, your child will look back at all you did, all the work and the struggles and the energy, and be mightily grateful and, as I am, impressed. I dont' know how you or my own mom manage, but you should be fiercely proud, and some day, your son will be, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, sweetie. I was a single mom at 24 with much of the same circumstances. I was angry that something so precious to me could just be written off by so many. He's 20 now. I was very careful not to bash his Dad (who eventually was forced by a court to acknowledge his son) because my little guy didn't need extra baggage. One day when he said he hated his dad for leaving me to handle everything alone, I just reminded him there are two sides to every story and he's only seen one (inside I was High-fiving my intelligent teen). I don't have any advice other than to let it go. He is the one who lost, and you know that every time you snuggle that boy. It is hard-- a hard that no one around you understands. There is no "you" time, no break, no holiday, but that was your choice (and mine) and if you embrace it instead of resent it, things feel easier. You are not alone. You have the greatest gift and unconditional love. You never would have gotten that from the jerk.

--J in NM

Anonymous said...

What are you angry about? Get over it and be proud instead.

Single Mom said...

I know exactly where you are coming from. I have those same feelings, even though I LOVE my son with all my heart- it is hard and makes me angry at times !

Thank you for being so honest !

mrinz said...

One way to look at your anger is imagine that it is the fuel that has helped you to achieve independence and the good life you have.

So in a strange way it has also had a positive effect.

So now you have achieved some of your goals, then give it away! You don't need it any more.

mom2jfm@snet.net said...

I am very proud of you! You are a childs dream mother. Keep loving him like you do and he will become the man his father will never be. He will know how to work hard and love with his soul. You will find you mate someday.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing mother you are.

However angry you are, I am personally uplifted by the unconditional love and support you have given your son.

Anonymous said...

You do have the right to be angry. But anger is like a hot stone you are holding, waiting to throw it at someone. Only you get burned while you are waiting.

Forgiveness is all about you. Forgiveness is the CHOICE to let go and it's not easy. Not at all. But you have to choose it every day.

Anonymous said...

virtual hug. stay strong. you have more people on your side than you realize. I can't contribute anything else since I can't empathize but for all the other women in your shoes, I hope that they can be as amazing as you.

rantsalamode said...

What a beautiful post. Your baby's father was terrible to you, but you are still very young and there is no reason why you couldn't meet a partner if that's what you want and one day have a the kind of family your friends have. In the mean time, however, your son is not suffering, I'm sure. You are doing a great job. A "traditional" family is not the only kind of family. It sounds like you are a great mother!