265 Hours a Single Parent

At first, there was energy, there was inspiration; the challenge was accepted.

By Friday, there were movies.

Josey and Judah left on a Saturday morning for the Philippines and I stayed home with the two girls. Sunday was normal: breakfast, church, play, dinner, play, bed. Not a big deal, but I wanted more; I wanted inspiration. So I picked up my club and went after it, prepared to beat away all distractions.

We knocked the crap out of Monday. It was perfect.

On Tuesday, a friend took the girls for the day and for a sleepover (IT HAD ONLY BEEN TWO DAYS!!! And already I was given a break), and the Inspiration flowed like the salmon of Capistrano.

But by the time Friday dragged itself in, the girls were watching two movies a night, we were having Mac N Cheese for dinner, and the girls hadn’t taken a bath in three days.

What happened you say?

I’ll tell you what happened, those pesky little goblins invaded my house while the girls and I slept, that’s what happened. I swear. Everyday mounds of dirty clothes appeared from literally no where! I’d never even SEEN some of them. And while I threw them in the washer and drying and tried to keep up on the folding, those invisible little shits threw a dirty dishes party in the kitchen. How, after one day, are there FOURTEEN DIRTY CUPS!!!

Every day this happened. Every. Single. Day!

Before the break, while working and not, ya know, parenting 24-7, I could get up at 4:30 every morning, read for an hour, head to work by 6:15, work a full day, and then come home and be a dad till everyone goes to bed. It was hard, but not impossible. But this week, my off and relaxing week, I couldn’t get my eyes to open till after 6:30 . . . and I was going to bed at the same time!

What happened you say, with a slightly hidden sheepish grin?

I’ll tell you what happened, answering literally 14 million questions of which I have no idea what the answer is because no one in the history of the world has ever asked it is 14 times more exhausting then grading mediocre papers (but perhaps only two times more exhausting then all-staff meetings. Am I right? Eh, single parents, you feel me?). This is just a sample of Zion’s train of though:

And I’ll tell you what else happened, Life. Each day had a simple philosophy: if we stay inside all day, we’ll go crazy. So lets get outside for at least a few hours every day . . . I never knew getting two girls ready and out the door and around the city and back home could be so. Friggin. Exhausting. That day off I had, the one where my friend took the girls for the night, I had the self appointed task of spending the entire time exploring the city (I could also only spend 100 RMB, the equivelant of around 12 USD). I walked over 25,000 steps, but that was nothing compared to 4 hours of city walking with my two little ones.

Also, I had hopes of reading and writing A LOT over this break?  And why not?  I got nothin but time baby! . . . I think I wrote on maybe three of the days. Out of the 265 hours, I clocked in maybe 15, and that’s giving me the benefit of the doubt, because I deserve it, because I worked hard!

But only for 265 hours.  And really, that isn’t that long.

I have always had respect for my wife and the role she plays as a stay-at-home mom (one of the toughest jobs there is!), but now, more than ever, I respect the single parent. Good Lord you are the toughest of them all. If I had to write a paper because I was in school, or if I had to get out of bed because I had to go to work, or if I had to do this for months and months on end AND love my kids the way I want to . . . I just don’t know. Really.

We all know the quote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” but I think it is perhaps true in reverse too, “With great responsibility comes great power.”

And what greater responsibility is there than raising kids? Loving them? And withholding the burden’s of the world from them so that they can play? Those who carry this responsibility amaze me, inspire me, and almost shame me into getting my butt into gear and to stop complaining.

365 days a single parent. My goodness.

If know one, show em some love. Make them dinner, wash their dishes, or babysit their kids. At the very least, by their coffee because I promise, they drink more than you. A beer wouldn’t hurt eitherJ

If you are one, you’re my hero. Sincerely.

Here’s to you!