My two weeks as a single mom seemed to fly by. It was easy to overlook the difficulties, since I knew I only have to endure for 14 days. We actually had a blast and I took a few lessons from it.
First, once again I am reminded that I am essentially a "lone wolf." Now, that surprises some who think I am outgoing & often gregarious in nature. I can be, sure, and I take great satisfaction from learning about people and exploring the psyche. And anyone who has me on Facebook probably recognizes that I love to make people laugh. But I need my quiet time, my down time, my hours of reflection and solitude. I had both more and less of that with hubby gone. I didn't have a chance to share little man duties- I was always on. However, I did have more quiet time overall.
On that note, I recognize that successful single moms have the gift of raising their child on their own terms. They must also build a layered support system. There wasn't a chance to go to yoga or run out to the store. And when I had to drive long distances for work, I worried what would happen if I were to get in an accident.
I got the chance to hang out twice with other moms while the kids played. And that's twice more than I usually get to. That gets to the heart of a big yearning that I have... to cultivate more "family friends." The kind of friends that you hang out with for picnics and beach escapes and camping trips and SuperBowl. I dearly treasure the friends I have in my life and all the different roles that we play for each other, but it would be such a relief to throw hubby to a pack of men in front of a TV, throw the kids in a room to run wild, and just hang with my gals while knowing that everyone is getting their social needs met. The responsibility of having to be the social director around here gets to me sometimes, and leaves me wanting.
We drove to JAX last weekend to pick up the weary traveling hubby. It was a smooth drive with blessedly sunny weather and a litany of "are we there yet" from the little man, along with strange impromptu games that I created as a distraction. It helps that I genuinely enjoy my little man's company and at age five, he continues to amuse me with his observations on the world.
Husband secured, we sought food and shelter and ended up in a slightly aged Marriott with an indoor pool and hot tub. This is a nice tradition in our little family: the hotel vacation. It doesn't matter where we are, just give us a night or two with a soft bed, cable TV and a pool and we are quite happy. We tried to cap the night off with a visit to the newly opened Pollo Tropical in JAX. We don't have this particular fast food place in our hometown, so I look forward to visits to other Florida cities to get my fix of the "Floribean" cuisine. Apparently, so does everyone else in the state, as there was a series of stanchions, a red carpet, and an insane wait to get into the place at 8:30pm. This is in a part of town with about 5,000 other options, by the way. So I gave up my dream of grilled chicken, sassy sauces and yucca and we ended up at Bono's bbq, where we had banana pudding that truly rocked my world.
Sunday presented us with another beautiful, if chilly day, and we checked out and headed back to battle for a place at Pollo Tropical. This time we were successful and I gleefully feasted- little man reflects my pleasure:
After that, we stopped at a car lot, which ended up sucking away our collective life force. See, hubby has been driving the first car I ever purchased on my own- a 2000 Ford ZX2. It was such a fun car for so long- little, black, sporty, with a sunroof and two-toned leather seats. It wasn't anyone's dream car but mine and I had fun with it for a good many years. However, it started to cause problems around 2005 and I soon handed it over to hubby for his short daily school commute while I drove the new family friendly- and boring base model- Honda. Fast forward- and I do mean fast- another five years and the little car is painfully showing her age and wear. Smoking, breaking down, flaking paint, torn leather, missing side mirrors and big gashes in the side- let's just say she wasn't as loved and cherished in the last five years of her life (hum, that's sometimes how I feel- might be a pattern.)
*** I stop here for a moment and reflect on why I don't write more. We have a little house. I started this when I threw the boys out for a quick trip to Target. They are back, pounding on things and blowing on a didgeridoo. No, I'm not kidding. Oh how I need a quiet place to call my own!***
So, where was I? Oh yes, lamenting that I have spent the last six weeks looking for a new car. Edmund's, Consumer Reports... I've spent serious time with them all. Safe, economical, reliable, highly rated, in my budget... I want it all. And, I want it to be fun. I want something I will be proud to drive. Something that makes me smile as I slide behind the wheel. And for my particular tastes, I want a black car with a sunroof. If I'm writing a check every month, can I not enjoy it?
My specific tastes have led to various, unsatisfactory tangos with car salesmen, but no new car yet. Will I be able to find true love within my budget? The verdict is out on that one.
In the meantime, we finally escaped the dealership and turn a few turns to buy gas for our thirsty tank. It was a strange part of town, but I was fascinated with the colorful little cottages that I spied across from the station. An "antiques" sign was a beacon of glorious things to come. Here's a sneak peak of the outside...
We'll delve inside for the fun discoveries the next time I get a few minutes of quiet. For now, I have monkeys to train.