I nodded and smiled.
My co-worker has no idea that I was a single mom for five years. She has no idea that my first husband walked out on me when I was pregnant and then I had a set of twins. It's not something I feel the need to advertise to my co-workers and I think almost no one, except the people I feel close to, really know this about me.
I thought about my friend, the adoptive mother, later. She knew that it would be difficult for her, raising a daughter all on her own, a first-time mother at the age of forty-five. But she was up for the challenge. Last time I saw her, she had lost weight and a whole lot of sleep, but she was the happiest I had ever seen her, ever.
Because that's what mom's do, right? We make do. We do our best. We love our kids and we keep things moving along, because that's just what we do.
I have a hard time remembering what it was like to have two children under the age of one and have no one to help me out. Most of the first years of their lives are a complete blur. I really don't recommend attempting to raise two children on your own while going through a really bitter, painful divorce. It's just not good times.
I think I will start being honest about it, though.
It sucked. I mean, really. It sucked.
There is something completely soul crushing about smelling like dried milk and baby powder. Going on a job interview and realizing AFTER YOU LEAVE that there was a snot stain on your shoulder or a fruit loop stuck in your hair. Dating? Yeah right. There are just thousands of quality men beating down the door of a twenty-two year old chick with three jobs and two kids, as you can imagine! (Note: I'm not saying no one wanted to date me. No one of any QUALITY wanted to date me) And let's not overlook the joys of laying in your bed at night, crying because you are exhausted, hoping you can afford to buy food tomorrow, and wondering just where exactly everything went all wrong.
For several years whenever people asked me, "Was it hard?" I'd always say something like, "It wasn't that bad."
But, okay? It was bad. Sometimes it was worse than bad. Sometimes it was okay. But it was mostly bad.
But would I do it all again?
Of course. In a minute, in a heartbeat. For the opportunity to have the two most amazing people on the planet as part of my life? Are you kidding? I don't know any single mom (or dad) who would say anything otherwise.
I am who I am because of these people. These two little people make me want to be a better mother, a better wife, a better person. I would not be who I am at all, without the two of them.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Or some crap like that.