Ode To Single Parents

I have a new appreciation for single parents. My hat goes off to all of you out there!

My son in high school recently took part in a program at school that required parent participation. My husband had pneumonia, and although we had planned on participating together, I had to go solo to the multi-event program.

Walking into rooms, dinners, and assembles solo, instead of with my husband, was a bit unsettling. When you walk into a room—with most paired up by two’s—you feel out of place.

Attending a dinner created much trepidation in making a simple decision as to where to sit. When usually, walking in and finding a seat would have been done without much thought. After making a decision, the couple I sat next to talked in another language and only to each other. I changed my seat after getting my food so as not to endure any more rudeness. (And if you’re thinking that maybe they didn’t speak English, that was not the case, because when asked to speak by the principal they could speak English just fine.) Really? Give me a break! So rude! I ended up wishing I hadn’t chosen to sit at their table.

The kindest thing that happened was during an assembly. While sitting next to two other moms, both with their husbands and families, they welcomed me. “It’s okay,” they said when it became clear I was alone, “you can hang with us. We’ll take care of you.” Finally I received acceptance and kindness. Later I discovered one of the couples had been recently married, having gone through a previous divorce, they probably knew all too well what it was like to fly solo at school events.

The kindness of a stranger can go a long way.

After this experience I will not look at single parents the same way ever again. I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for them—having to carry such a tough load as both mom and dad. I know how difficult parenting can be when there are two parents working in unison, but how difficult it must be when the load is carried by only one.

For all of you single parents out there, I salute you. You are all champions in my book! And on behalf of all the rude “couples” out there, I apologize. Please understand that we are just ignorant—ignorant of the many challenges you face each day, and the difficulties single parents deal with in a sea of callousness.

For all of us who are not tackling parenting as a solo act, let’s be more sensitive to those who are. Let’s look for single parents and ask them to join us at our table…welcome them to assembles…include them in conversation…and say to them, “It’s okay, you can hang with us. We’ll take care of you.”

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