Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I'm a hustler, homey

Man, I don't know how my Mom did it.

See, I grew up the only child of a single mother. Pops was nowhere to be seen on the scene, so it was just me and Mom. Like most single moms, she had to work, which meant she had to arrange childcare for me. And even when I hit school age, she had to find one means or another to make sure I was taken care of after school got out every day, not to mention the summers. I remember being in at least two different daycare centers. I remember riding home from school with various friends' parents or teachers, staying an hour or two after school at different friends's houses. I remember watching TV at a neighbor's house while eating bowls of rice with soy sauce or spaghetti or pudding or whatever the hell she had available that day. Even after I got old enough to stay by myself at home, that same neighbor would check in on me to make sure I was allright. She came over one day while I was playing with some matches and asked why it smelled like smoke. I said I didn't know. She asked if I'd been playing with matches. I lied.

Another time, I had to stay with a different neighbor across the street. She put on the TV for me, but I had been grounded from TV for one reason or another -- probably for playing with matches -- and I was such an honest little shit, I actually told her that I wasn't allowed to watch TV. She looked at me funny.

My point is, it took a lot of people to watch over me growing up, some of them paid to do so, others out of the goodness of their hearts. And it must have taken a hell of a lot of hustling on my Mom's part to pull all this care together. At the time, it never felt like I was being shuffled around, but looking back at it through my parenting lense, I see there must have been a lot of behind-the-scenes scrambling to make this all happen. And she was all by herself.

Now The Ash and I are in that same boat. It's not our ideal situation, but our lives are such that we both have to work, which means we have to hook it up with care for the boyos. Our first couple of tries with daycare went horribly, but after much arranging and rearranging, we finally worked out a situation where Simon spends the day with his grandparents, while Henry spends the morning at a Montessori school and then joins up with Simon and the grandparents in the afternoon. It's never been a perfect situation, and in fact there's plenty of complaints that could be lodged against it, but it's at least kept everybody in one piece and mostly healthy most of the time.

Except now we're back in hustle mode. The Ash's folks have some bigger fish to fry these days, so the boys simply can't stay there anymore. In truth, this is a relief because our concerns about them staying have been growing in size and number. But all of a sudden, we find ourselves needing to find full time care for the both of them. By the time today had come to a close, we had worked it all out, but the arranging and the calling and the adding up the fucking cost of it all made for a bit of a trying day. I was ready for a stiff drink by the time lunch rolled around.

It's all gonna work out. I know this. It worked out for my Mom and I, and it'll work out for us now. I've always appreciated my Mom for taking care of me, but as I learn more and more about the nuts and bolts of this parenting shit, I appreciate her on a whole different level.

Gotta hit the sack. School tomorrow.

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