The social worker from Administration from Children Services (ACS) kept calling. She was eager to close the case and get the file with the allegations from the rage-fueled off her desk. (See: Are All Fathers Created Equal? Not Really)
I was happy my nightmare was coming to an end but irked that taxpayer money was spent investigating me when somewhere there was a child locked in a closet or being denied food. Every year in New York another child makes headlines for dying at the hands of his parents. The common thread running through all these cases is that there was horrific abuse that occurred over a prolonged period because ACS dropped the ball.
When people hear I’m a single mom, curiosity often gets the best of them and I’m immediately bombarded with questions about my daughter’s baby daddy. I’ve been through the drill so many times I can recite the questions by heart. It goes something like this:
Acquaintance: “Is your daughter’s father still around?”
Me: “Yes, he lives across town.”
Acquaintance, assuming that all baby daddies fall off the grid: “Does he still take her?”
Me: “Yes, but it’s complicated.”
Acquaintance: “But does HE take her?”
Me: “Yea, but….”
Acquaintance: “No!” shaking their head, “All that matters is that he’s still involved!”
It was 6:30 a.m. and we were in the dog park with Sadie and Joey, our neighbor’s adorable mutts, when my 11-year-old announced she felt “guilty” for charging the dogs’ owners for her services. All I could think is the neighbors are snug in their bed and we’re scooping up poop, praying Joey, the older dog who clearly has one paw in the dog cemetery, doesn’t die on our shift and you feel guilty?
It was a year ago this month that I stopped drinking. I’m often asked why I quit or if I miss it.
Many assume there was one big bang moment that caused my life to swing out of control and made me realize either the bottle goes or I. There is some scandalous story of waking up after a night of binge drinking and finding myself crammed into a Riker’s Island cell or passing out in subway car. AA meetings are chock full of I-can-top-that stories, but they’re not mine.
On the shelf where I keep Savannah’s medical supplies, there are several outdated prescriptions. I hang on to these bottles the way a needy child’s clings to her security blanket. Years will pass before I’ll throw those suckers out.
When you have a child with a medical condition that requires several medications, especially if one is expensive, you’re on constant alert for that one insurance company glitch that will prevent the specialty pharmacy from refilling your order. It keeps you on the defensive and you become a Nazi with your record keeping. You also do crazy things like keep old medicine “just in case.” In an emergency, something is better than nothing, you theorize.
Posted in Mommyhood
Tagged children, doctors, kids, Motherhood, New York City, parenting, pharmacies, prescription drugs, rare disease, Single mom, special needs
It was over chicken tikka at a neighborhood Indian restaurant that a friend shared she was still grappling with issues from her childhood. “I have a lot of anger toward my mother,” she confided.
I’ve heard this before from other friends and acquaintances and it always struck a soft spot within me, as my mother at age 67 – just two years older than my dear friend – had a massive stroke and was left completely paralyzed on the left side. I was just 34 at the time.
Single mothers in the US have tripled since 1960, causing a seismic shift in family structure. Today there are 12 million single-parent families in the US, more than 80 percent of which are headed by single mothers. In fact, New York is home to one of only five counties in the country where the percentage of households run by single mothers is greater than 30 percent (Bronx).