Monday, May 07, 2007

Being a single dad

It's not like the sitcoms. I'm not rich like the Drummonds or the Schroeders or any number of the single dads we grew up with on TV. I'm closer, maybe, to The Courtship of Eddie's Father, except that I don't have a nice Asian housekeeper to rely on for day-to-day matters. Some days, I think I'm just a variation on Caracticus Potts from Chitty, Chitty Bang-Bang.

One of the hardest things about being a full-time single parent is keeping up with everything. Keeping the house clean and (relatively) neat, washing the dishes, making sure the refrigerator is stocked at all times, paying bills and not losing mail, walking the dog (as much as possible), washing and folding and putting away the clothes, cooking meals, keeping up with Banana's homework (even in pre-K), turning in all of the forms and little collateral items from school on time, making plans for the future... it goes on, of course, and it's not news to anyone has gone through it.

Mornings like today, parenting gets funny, weird, and irritating all at once. After a rough night--one wake up from bad dreams and another from a potty accident, and not such great sleep on my part either--I was slow-moving, and Banana was late and slow in waking up. Once we finally got moving, things seemed to be pretty smooth. Breakfast happened. Her lunch was packed. Reilly was fed. She decided to clean the bathroom sink rather than brushing her hair and putting on her shoes... and with that we ran late. When I got her to school, the teacher asked me if I had any PTA raffle or lotto tickets to turn in. One more thing. One more. The lottery tickets--for little things they were going to do for winning students--were sitting on the kitchen counter where I'd left them the night before. Right next to the forms for the school pictures that were due on Friday.

Yeah, it's about keeping up, and some weeks it works, some it doesn't. Before I got shot, we'd gotten into a pretty good rhythm and the loose ends were tightening up. Ever since the shooting, however, I've been struggling to get back on my game.

Venting over, for now...