I wrote an article a few weeks ago titled, “How Are We Single Moms Coping with COVID19?” That was last month, and it literally feels like 6 months ago.
The COVID19 Pandemic has been devastating. As of the date of this writing, 9 million people have filed for unemployment in the United States. I almost became one of them last week.
As a single parent, the thought of that made my divorce look like a walk in a sunny park. It got me thinking about how I would respond to this.
I also threw my hands up and said, “Really God? Now I’m supposed to handle a Pandemic too?
All my sisters are retired. They clearly all married much better than me. They retired young with a plethora of life still to be lived and loved along with large bank accounts to assist them in this living and loving endeavor. I wasn’t so lucky.
I have carried the financial responsibilities of my family for over 20 years and retirement is not an option for another 15 years. My company laid off over 90 people last week due to the economic hit by COVID19 in the tourism industry.
Up until the morning before the layoffs were identified, I was certain that I was going to be part of the wrecking ball. Gratefully I was spared. I don’t know how, but I was.
The survivor’s guilt I felt was enormous as I said goodbye to so many wonderful friends. But as I looked at my two kids, a sense of appreciation and relief washed over me. As the days passed after the announcements were made, I found myself one-night lying in bed with the sudden realization that I had never even contemplated my getting the virus. It seemed almost inconsequential to experience sickness or death.
My panic was, how am I going to support my family?
And then the next thoughts I had were of all the life changing events that have happened after my divorce that I was held to navigate alone.
I endured the deaths of both my parents alone.
I navigated my daughter through the suicide of her best friend and the bullying of her high school friends, alone.
I navigated losing my job a decade ago during another economic crisis and as a result almost lost our home.
I have had utilities turned off and begged a friend to loan me some money so I could pay my daughters school tuition, the repair of my car and my mortgage all at once because my paycheck wouldn’t stretch that far. I promised I would pay him back when I got my bonus at the end of the quarter; and I did.
I have stayed true to every promise I have ever made to my children through what I thought would be every conceivable situation.
And yet, here I am once again facing another mountain to climb.
My job is safe for now yes. I am 1 of 4 Sales Directors retained from an original team of 20. I will now be doing the job of many people, at less pay due to a pay cut and with no administrative assistant to support me any longer.
And yet I feel blessed. Again.
The blessings I feel are strange to quantify.
My two kids are home. A lot. I live in L.A. where the “Safer at Home” order is in place.
The results of this is that we are talking to each other more. We are cooking together. We are cleaning together. We are just together.
My career has always required a lot of travel. With no travel being conducted in these days of COVID19 I have had to calm myself down and quiet my inner vagabond. It has taken me a little while, but I am slowing my roll quite well these days. And my kids are too.
We are getting to know each other in a different way. The topic of a Global Pandemic has made us all a little more vulnerable with questions, fears, hopes and aspirations all being discussed. This is now officially part of our story.
Like when my mother told me the story of her being a child in the Depression and her father losing the family farm. It made an indelible impression on her life forever. I wonder what kind of an impression all this will make on our kids as they enter their adult lives.
I hope that they will just see that when a family comes together…when people come together with a common goal even by practicing social distancing, good things can happen too. Good things that will last a lifetime for them by the example they see in us.
As single moms we secretly want someone, anyone to recognize us for all that we carry and just offer to do it all for us. What I have found in this time of COVID19 is gratitude and recognition I wasn’t expecting from my family and friends.
Those who I worked alongside and who were laid off called and messaged me to tell me how glad they were that I had been retained. They knew I was a single parent and they were grateful that I was spared. Grateful that “I” was spared!
The character that showed in these people is immeasurable.
And it is “I” who am grateful for them. They took a bullet for me in many ways.
I am not going to minimize myself in any way because I do know I work hard and have earned a place at the table. But they have too. And because I am now 60 years old, and at that margin of COVIOD19 population that are identified as somewhat vulnerable, both my kids have stepped up and offered to do many things they otherwise never have before.
That being go to the grocery store, getting gas in my car, picking up a to-go dinner and many more things that would keep me being in a gathering environment. They realized in short order all that I do to make them whole on a daily basis. Or perhaps they just see me as their “Prize Filly” and I guess it’s in their best interest to keep me healthy! But, I’m grateful none the less.
They recognize all that I have endured and were not about to let a Pandemic stop their mom from keeping on. Only this time I will do it wearing the mask my daughter made me and the meals my son is cooking me! Life is still good. Pandemic or no Pandemic!
So, the answer to my question of, ““Really God? Now I’m supposed to handle a Pandemic too? I say, YES! You have been me through a lot in the past 20 years and I have faith in You, Myself and My Kids and we can get through this too.
Just another day in a sunny park! Or will be soon!