Lessons from my kid

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Being a single mom is not easy. Being head of household, bread winner, disciplinarian, chauffer, cook, housekeeper, laundry lady, yard girl, homework checker, social media stalker and the list goes on and on, can be an extremely daunting task. So daunting that it is sometimes all too easy to lose sight of how much joy motherhood can bring. And it does bring joy… especially when you are a boy mom.

Now, I am not trying to offend those girl moms out there. I am sure that those sugar and spice and everything nice little girlies bring a much better smelling joy, however, there is just something incredibly special that takes place between the hearts of a momma and her boys.

I have two amazing young men. My oldest is 19 and my youngest is 16. I became a single mom five years ago when they were 14 and 11. In those five years we have been through some interesting times… some good and some not so good. I have tried to keep them on the straight and narrow and they in turn, have kept me there.

As most single parents can attest to, there are periods of time when I get bogged down with work and house keeping and handing out money…I get tense and anxious, and sometimes downright mean. It is not easy to admit but sometimes getting through one day and the next and the next and the next is all I am capable of.

Recently during one of these “mean” times, we encountered a problem. A problem I couldn’t and didn’t want to fix. My youngest got a kitten shortly after his dad and I separated. This sweet little kitten, Gracie, has been with him through the toughest periods of his life. She went back and forth between houses with him for a couple of years. She was there to cuddle with him at night, catch those tears that mom couldn’t, and listen to his worries and fears. He loves this cat. When I rented a house that would not allow cats, Gracie was forced to stay at his dad’s house on a permanent basis. I will not lie and say that I was disappointed. Gracie grew from a sweet little kitten to a very fat cat who left cat hair EVERYWHERE. And I haven’t even mentioned the litter box.

Fast forward a couple of years and I bought my very own home, the boys’ dad remarried to a lovely woman that we all love (I call her Other Mom), and we are all somehow making it through this pandemic with our sanity intact. I know I said we encountered a problem, and this is it…

Other mom developed an unbearable allergy to Gracie. Dad called me and said you must take the cat. I did mention I was going through one of those “mean” phases, didn’t I? I could not bear to think of cat hair and a smelly litter box in my new house. NO WAY was I taking that cat. Dad said the cat would have to go no matter what. This is going on in front of my kid who at the cool age of 16 does not want to show emotion of any kind. I tried to get my parents to take her to live in their barn…my dad said no. I walked in my kid’s room all forceful and said you have to find someone to give her to because she is not coming here.

My baby boy has these huge, beautiful, coffee-brown eyes. He sat on his bed his head bowed. He slowly lifted his face and my eyes met his. Those eyes were full to the brim with unshed tears and he whispered, “mom, I don’t want to never see her again,” and one tear spilled over and ran down that cheek that has turned into a scruffy man’s cheek instead of the baby soft one I used to kiss. Now I don’t have to tell you what this momma’s heart was doing at this moment… slowly breaking and aching with every beat just as his was. “Can’t we buy her a nice house and let her live in the backyard,” he begged, “she’s too fat to climb the fence and we can get her a fan and a bed and I can still see her and talk to her and love her.”

And just like that my kid taught me that there are more important things than clean houses. In that moment, my son reminded me that love, loyalty, and compassion will ALWAYS conquer anxiety, stress, and mean tempers…at least in our home.

Gracie now lives in our backyard. She truly is too fat to climb the fence, but she is a lazy and spoiled kitty who has lived inside her whole life. I will admit that she has been allowed in the house to lay on the cool floor a few times… well…a lot of times. And each time I look at her, I am thankful that she has been a comfort to my son and sweet lesson in life for me.

Charlette Madden is a Mother of 2, a Louisiana Tech graduate, a Financial Advisor and a Feature Writer for The Gazette. Contact her via email at news@fgazette.com