The first of the month has crept in ever so slowly; ready to devour my peace of mind and swallow up my money in one gulp. I waited patiently like a child on Christmas morning; waiting for my direct deposit to hit my bank account at one am just like every other month.
My children are fast asleep dreaming of all the small things that the can have in the morning. They are quietly and happily dreaming of Amazon purchases, fast food, a new book or a new game. However, this single mom is up worrying as normal; about the mountain of bills that are cascading down my mind like an unexpected avalanche.
I feel the anxiety mounting fast as I began to calculate the monthly bills. I start envisioning the amount that is about to hit my account and how I know I have more bills than money. I know that it’s not enough to cover the bills once again. The sweat starts to pour from my head as the time inches near. My heart starts to pound as I walk down the hall looking into their bedrooms. They are sleeping so peacefully and soundly without a care in the world. I know they are going to wake up with those Jovel and innocent smiles because they know that mommy just got paid.
It’s 1:00 am and instead of feeling happy; I feel the frustration seeping into my skin. I feel sadness creeping in as it rests its head on my shoulder asking me if I would like a tissue. I swipe off that feeling and encourage strength to show up before I start paying the first bill. As I begin dissecting the bills I set up a list in my mind of what is a priority. Next, I see what we can do without this month. Finally, I see how I can get them both something that they really want too. I am not in the equation once again but that isn’t new so I am not taking back by that. That is the natural order of things in my book of single mommyhood.
My 18-year-old son started working at 16. Recently he lost his job. When he was workin it was a big help for me. He was able to buy the things he needed, wanted, desired . Not only for himself but for his girlfriend and his sister too but it all different now. I can’t allow that to affect my train of thought but honestly how can I not? On top of the $473.00 light bill; I have to pay my Rent, violin fees for my daughter; car insurance for a inoperable car, my cable bill, food bill, and internet bill too. pay. Now I have to pick up his $130.00 phone bill, $35.00 gym membership fee, haircut money and more. Let me not forget that my baby girl broke her phone last month too. So I need to fit in that in as well as a pair of new shoes too. Oh; did I mention that The IRS is going to start taking 30% off of my check on the 14th of this month for school loans too? Fuck!! I can’t even begin to think about next month!!
I feel resentment marching into my mind..like on D Day about to storm the Normandy beach. I feel anger settling into my bones and getting comfortable and of course, disappointment does disappoint. He shows up at the party with bells and whistles. The noise is deafening but I sit down and begin. I start with the most important bill first. Which is the utility bill. It is still cold, we need lights and hot water. The basic essentials need to be met. I go online to pay my bill but I am left with a blank stare coming from my computer screen. This means that I have to pay Xfinity account first and foremost. I can’t do it on my computer so I have to do it from my phone.
I jump on the website only to be met with sign-in problems. After an hour of trying I have to call customer support to unlock it only to see the billing statement reflecting a number that I was not anticipating. I owed a ten dollar late fee, a $29.00 fee for something I do not recall buying and of course state taxes. I look and I see $108.76 staring back at me daring me to say something. What the hell could I do or say at this point? I need to pay My light bill. That is the top priority.
I paid the bill and print the receipt and wait for the internet to do its thing of reconnecting its self. Of course, I am met with another sign-in problem on the utility website. I start to scream “damn !!!” in my head repeatedly for 25 mins until I was able to connect with the server. I hurry up and paid the light bill. As I scrolled over the amount again and again with my fingertip; my hand starts to tremble before I press the send button. I hesitate. I shake my head and I press send. I exhale with relief. My babies will be warm, clean and comfortable for another month.
My car insurance and daughters violin fees both come out on the second and ninth of the month. So that will take care of its self. Next, I hurry up and pay the phone bill because I see how fast my money is flying out of the window. Damn, Not my night! What’s this? Keep Kidada out of all her accounts night?? I get in and it is now refusing my card. Finally, it goes through. I smile and exhale.
Now my beloveds will be able to connect, reach out, make calls, watch youtube and more on their phones for another month. I laid my head down for just a second when I heard movement. It’s almost time for them to get up for school. I walk into the kitchen and I do a once over scanning for food..There is not much to spare. I have to save whatever is left for dinner. I have at least 3 days of food left to cook.
As I go through my day I hear my belly rumbling. I tell it to stand down until they get home from school. I promise her I will feed her then. I do my mommy duties around the house for the next 6 hour. I washed six loads of clothes, cleaned all three room, both bathrooms, swept, mopped and mowed the front lawn. By now My head is spinning from being so hungry. I start to count the hours down until they come home. I laid down until 4:02 pm and I ordered the last fast food treat of the month that I knew would tickle their souls. All I could think about eating but I couldn’t show them or worry them that mommy is hungry.
I feel a tear slide down my face but I quickly wipe it away when I hear” Momma” My son is moving around. He’s up, hungry and smiling all at once. So while he showering I decided to order my daughter some Mcdonald from Uber eats while she is asleep. As he prepares to leave I give him my card with a mommy smile and say ” make sure you eat today. Oh, the smile on his face was just as priceless as my daughter’s smile when she woke up to her food. I felt like a super mommy for the moment.
My daughter came home. I could read her body language. It screamed out to me quietly ” She hasn’t eaten since this morning; I hope there is food here for her” it says to me; but per usual My Little angle says ” Did you pay the light and phone bill yet”? I said yes and I also got you something to eat too. Man, she was so delighted and then she finally said ” Mommy I was hoping you did because I was hungry all day” Score !!! Mommy magic. I did it again. They both ate and fell fast asleep. I sat there and ate slowly. Enjoying every bite. Savoring all the flavors as they hit my tongue. I ate and I smiled to myself.
The house was quiet just for a moment when it hit me; Rent. I need to pay my rent on time before I have another late fee. My car is not working. I refused to walk four hours to the rental property. site again to pay it. My car has not been operable for four months now. Every month I am not able to factor in the car repairs. Who do I call to take me there? If they take me how much money can I spare for them to take me? I shake my head and begin pouring over the 2 people I have to ask. My list of support is extremely limited.
Just as I started texting my two people I hear my son calling me. He reminded me that he needed to go pick up his medicine from CVS but he didn’t have a ride. So I smile the “don’t worry mommy got you ” smile and I called him a round trip uber and also gave him money to pay for his medicine too. He is full, happy, going to get the Medicine that he needs. He leaves and I start deducting the money in my head and counting what I have left to work with. Then My daughter wakes up to her friend who what’s her to spend the night. I didn’t want to send her away without money too. There goes $54.17 that I didn’t have to spare.
It’s 24 hours later and I am down to just my rent money and hopefully $20 dollars extra for his hair cut. He deserves to feel good about himself. So, of course, I will make that happen no matter what. So what is left is my car insurance and Violin fee. Which honestly I don’t believe I have left. If you are following along my beautiful songbirds; Did you notice anything I left out? If not let me tell what I left out and have left out for 4 months now. I left out food shopping. That didn’t make the cut this month, as usual, We were not able to receive food assistance because he was working. So we did without.
We actually got used to the lack of food. We drink protein shakes. Eat noodles or canned food. My Therapist does bring canned food here when they can so we at least have something to eat. This is why we enjoy the first of the month because we get to eat what we enjoy for one day. We have learned to savor the small joys in life like toilet paper, a hot cooked meal, soap, washing detergent, hot coffee and the wind blowing in our hair as we ride down the street in our own car. Just the fact that we don’t have to ask others for help is gratifying to all of us.
March the second rolls in crashing on my shores of reality. The reality of the refrigerator being bare again for the rest of the month. The days are coming. Soon when we silently understand that tonight is not going to be a night of fullness but a night emptiness and smiles. Where apples and peanut butter are on the menu instead and we are grateful for that. As I sit here summoning this up I can’t hope but think what the hell happened? Why the hell am I doing this all alone? How did I end up here? I didn’t make them on my own. I made them with their father Selah Craft.
Their father and his girlfriend were both Black Panther leaders for the Tallahassee chapter before they moved to Atlanta. They would help, feed, clothed and support the black community here in town but he doesn’t help his own black children in the same town. What a walking contradiction. Why in America are we going to bed hungry as a family but he is not? Why when my daughter or son needs school clothes, shoes, school supply and more am I the only parent obligated to “By any means possible” to make it happen. Why am I burdened with all the bills, therapy and doctor appointment by myself? While he lives in a different state with his girlfriend and her kids. How can he feed, clothed, home schools and care for them but not his own children?
Why am I forced to be it all, do it all and still stand tall like I am not in pain? It’s not fair that he not only owes me; thirty-one thousand in back child support but he doesn’t feel the need to call them, text them or inquire about their welfare as if they don’t exist. How int he hell can he go through life on a daily bases knowing that his very own flesh and blood is hungry, cold, depressed, in need or left feeling abandoned because he doesn’t acknowledge their precious existence. How do I explain to them that the man that fathered them doesn’t give a fuck about their welfare or about being a father?
My daughter is so hurt and angry. She feels like he doesn’t love her and that he abandoned her and her brother for another family. My children are 18 and 14 now. They are able to see it for face value now. How come it’s so easy for a man to walk away and leave the whole world on the women’s shoulder without looking back? Why the hell doesn’t he understand because of deep hatred for me it is affecting my two beloveds in a negative way. He wants to see me struggling; but doesn’t he understand that in the midst of me struggling, my his kids are struggling too.
As of December 27th, he left the state of Florida and moved to Atlanta with his homemade family and left behind his biological children to fend for themselves with one parent. He didn’t plan to even tell them he was leaving the state.
Please understand before you walk away from your children fathers; that you are internally scaring your children’s minds, heart, and emotions too. You are breaking their spirits and wounding their delicate souls. They didn’t ask to be here but nevertheless, they are here. They need clothes, food, water, love, compassion, your time, effort and energy. They are innocence souls who need us to co-parent them until they are ready to fly the nest. It takes a village to raise one child and I have two. How the hell can a man walk away from his own children when they need him the most. As for me, I am tired, stressed out, scared, overwhelmed and barely able to keep my head above water from one month to next,
I want to be able to buy myself a new coat, shoes, clothes, and pretty panties too but I can’t because I am a selfless-human being. I placed their needs, wants and desires before my own. I have experienced being in the dead of winter without a jacket and wearing flip flops on my feet so they could have their coats, boots, warm clothes and more. I would like to eat without feeling bad like him for once, but I can’t. I eat once a day and that’s when they come home from school. I do this to ensure that they have enough to eat and enough to have seconds if they want.
Thank God that I am not skinny. Lol, and my body has enough to fat to live off of. I haven’t been out to a movie in 5 years, dinner in 10 or shopping for myself in 15 years. I just wear the same things over and over just to ensure that my beloveds look better than me and represent me well when they out in the world. I have a factor five blood clot disorder which requires me to take a blood thinner for the rest of my life to prevent future blood clots. I have asthma too and I can’t even afford to buy own medicine to live. Instead, I have to pay for their medicines first.
I want to go get my hair and nails done. Get a pedicure or a massage but instead, I am washing, cleaning mowing, doing yard work, cleaning off the roof like a man and cutting hedges. I am the cook, the laundry attendant, uber driver, therapist homework helper, hairdresser, janitor, maid and more. I am up when they are sick, sad, depressed or manic. I am their everything. I am all they know and all they have. I am their mom and dad and I have learned to embrace it instead of run away from my responsibilities like he did. I don’t want a meddle or a badge of honor for doing my job. I don’t need accolades or praise for a job that I am supposed to do. I am only here to get these thoughts off my mind so that I could finally fall asleep. I have been up for 24 hours now because it’s the first of the month and this is my norm.