The relationship went down in a blizzard of “f-you!” texts and my ultimately blocking him on my phone. Now, two years later, in the lobby of the building that houses my therapist’s office, there he was.
“Hey! You gonna walk by and not say hello?” he demanded.
I was hoping to slink by unnoticed, but Frank caught me in a hug and kiss.
Frank was the impetus for my getting my ass to AA. Spinless when we dated, I allowed myself to fall into a vortex of excessive eating and drinking. By the end, I was a fat, sloppy mess and couldn’t stand myself.
My neighborhood heard me yelling at my daughter and was appalled.
My neighbor’s wife had a baby five months prior and he still has that new parent glow and enamored with everything his child does. He has yet to find unfinished math homework hidden under the bed or discover that his kid runs opposite of the ball in soccer.
I was my neighbor once.
“I don’t know why she doesn’t leave him!” I heard many of women snap whenever the Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal came up in conversation.
This “holier than thou” attitude toward Huma Abedin often sprouted from the mouths of women I consider smart, sophisticated go-getters, yet were one time or another involved with questionable characters themselves. I’m talking about women who were with players, hustlers and drunks, or who allowed themselves to be humiliated by their significant other’s behavior because they insisted “we have a great connection.” One would assume these ladies, upon noting the common thread, be oozing with sympathy when it’s the exact opposite. They’re often even more critical of the Huma’s of the world.
As I headed down 14th Street in D.C. to pick-up breakfast at the local Cosi, I was reminded again that in my tiny single parent household there are no traditional roles. By defacto, I am both the hunter and gathered.
It was still early and the DC streets were just starting to wake. There were clusters of homeless men loitering on street corners. “Can you spare some money pretty lady?” Hotel workers consumed cleaning their tiny patch of sidewalk. Young workers with Starbucks cups in hand, who with their J Crew looks, I pegged as working for a lobbyist or a Congressional aide. But, I’m from New York, so I assume everyone in D.C. works on The Hill.
Then came me: the gatherer-turned-hunter. Out early in search of food as my tribe of one waited back at the hotel.
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 my daughter Savannah was 13-months old she developed severe idiopathic thrombocytopenic (ITP) and needed an emergency blood transfusion. She – thankfully – survived, but I, no surprise, came down with a bad cold while she was in Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU).
“Why are you sick?” the haughty Indian resident examining my daughter during her morning rounds asked. Her indignation seemed to imply that I somehow violated an unspoken hospital rule that states kids can be in dire straights moms but must remain steely strong.
According to the Pew Research Center 34% of children today are living with an unmarried parent—up from just 9% in 1960, and 19% in 1980.