Four and a half years ago, I officially became a single mom. I had been functionally single for a looooong time, but still wasn't really prepared for the reality of raising two little boys entirely on my own. (And yet, that statement is misleading, because I've never been entirely on my own. What's true is that the buck stops with me. I've got - for the moment, anyway - sole legal and physical custody of the kids. I'm entirely responsible for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But I'm entirely supported by a community that starts with my parents and siblings, and expands to include neighbors, friends, teachers, and various groups to which we belong.)
There's a part of me that has taken a huge amount of pride in the fact that I'm doing really well as a "single mom". I'm not really sure how to express it, but it has been the core of my identity for the last four years. Maybe there's a little (a lot?) of ego tied up in the fact that my kids are doing well academically, that they've made huge strides socially, that they are involved in lots of different activities, that I'm politically active, that I find time to exercise and take care of myself, that I maintain close friendships, work full time and (mostly) do a good job of making a home for the three of us, and that I've done all of this successfully without a partner. My kids definitely wish that their dad was a dad to them, but I hope that despite his general absence, they'll look back on their childhoods as happy and filled with love and fun.
So I guess that all of the above is why I'm feeling that this summer is a bittersweet time for me, because our family is about to change, and that identity is about to shift. I'm so happy that I've met someone who will truly be my partner in every sense of the word, and yet...I won't get to be a single mom anymore. Adding another adult to the equation changes everything, and while the changes are good, the dynamic of our happy little family will inevitably shift.
And on top of the emotional changes, we've got the physical changes involved in consolidating households -- what do we do with 4 sets of silverware? How many sheets does one family need? Who is going to sleep where until we get a house that's big enough for all of us?
At any rate, I think it might be time to rename the blog. I'm considering something like, two boys, a mom, and a snake plus a man, two more kids, a dog and a fish. Whaddaya think?