Saturday, February 16, 2013

Single Parenting As A Senior

In my Years of Parenting my own Children I was a Single Parent for just over Seven Years before I met and Married The Man. 
And during his lengthy Military Career The Man was Deployed numerous times while our Kids were growing up... in which time you do the Single Parenting Thing too as a Military Spouse... so I've had Experience Single Parenting... lots of it in fact.  This is an Image of the G-Kid Force's Mommy when she was about Three... so Cute and Innocent... the Innocent part didn't last long, she's our Wild Child and Prodigal!  *LOL*
By the time the first G-Kids began arriving we were still far from having all of our Kids raised... The Son was still in Grade School... he's been an Uncle for a very long time so he's an Experienced Uncle.  So we've also had lots of Years of Experience being Grandparents as well as Parents.  But at this point in time we hadn't combined the two yet into one Job of Parenting any Grandchildren.  Grandparenting is an easy Job... so long as you're not raising any of 'em!  *Winks*
But when our Youngest Daughter's First Child, Prince R, arrived, it became apparent that would all soon change because she was deemed not Well enough to Parent him.  So with Great Love she made the voluntary difficult decision to entrust him to us to raise rather than involuntary placement decided upon by Strangers, Courts and Doctors.   And so we took on a new Role as Custodial Grandparents... it wasn't an easy decision to make at our Season in Life, but in our minds and Hearts there was no other placement option we had a Peace about and we felt she had made the best decision for him so we wanted to Support her fully... it was the Right thing to do, regardless of how daunting it felt.  The Man's Military Career was winding to a Close just a couple of years after Prince R was born so fewer Deployments, but I still had a full time Corporate Life... luckily he Worked Days and I worked Nights and there was little Single Parenting having to go on.
But that was about to change once Princess T arrived and joined us.  And for those of you who might be Wondering... voluntary Sterilization for those battling Mental Health is a lengthy, frustrating, convoluted Process as we and our Daughter would come to find out, probably due to abuses in the past of the Civil Rights of those afflicted.  And other forms of birth control aren't always 100% effective for the Fertile Myrtle's of the World.   But that's a whole other Story, Rant and potential Post... we won't go there Today, or maybe ever... just thinking about it in fact exhausts me!  Lets just suffice to say those that say they won't or can't Sterilize for whatever reasons that seem valid, aren't left to raise the Children they won't then allow the Mentally Ill to raise because they deem them too Ill and not up to the Job... and that puts added pressure on extended Families on what then to do about the Babies that arrive?!?   But I digress... back to why we found ourselves now faced with more time Single Parenting as a Senior?  In a Word... Finances.
As the Family expanded Financial strains increased at a time when normally those entering Seniordom would not still be raising little ones or still have a lot of folks left in the Household to support.  I wasn't yet Retired, but The Man's Health and Disability had forced him into Medical Retirement and a fixed Disability Income... and now having two G-Kids with Special Needs to raise and a Sick Husband had forced me into Early Retirement too... this was not good nor Planned.   And so The Man took temporary Jobs out of State that would allow a Disabled Senior to make some supplemental income and be flexible enough when he felt well enough to Work.   So for a couple of Seasons I did the Single Parenting as a Senior Thing as The Man Worked for Months at a time as a Seasonal Tour Guide in Alaska... which he Loved and was very good at, the Tourists Adored his vast knowledge of the Wilderness and his Great Stories.  I Loved that he was back to doing something he Loved and could still do for a time that accommodated his limitations... and the extra Income was replacing the Income we lost when I had to quit Working.  Note: Grandpa does NOT do the Single Parenting Thing well for even half a day anymore without Crisis or needing backup... so that was entirely out of the question!
But I found that as a Senior I was no longer very good at Single Parenting either, or no longer as adept at it as I used to be even with Years of Experience under my belt... in fact I felt I Sucked at it now.  And Kids sense vulnerability like Vultures circling a Kill, they will show no Mercy, because they're Kids!   You might not be dead yet, but you'll sometimes wish you were when pressed above measure and beyond strength!   Or you'll be Praying to Jesus to help you not want to kill the Children as they surely are preparing to send you over the edge with their antics and knowing you have no backup!!!  *Smiles*  This is why Women past Menopause don't breed anymore... I'm sure of it. *Winks* 
And God made Nannas and Grammas... Grand-Dads and Grandpas for a Purpose and a Reason... to help Parents out!  *Winks*  Especially the Single Parents of the World, God Bless them, because they're gonna need all the Help they can possibly get as backup!!!    But here's the Problem when you're Custodial Grandparents or Single Parenting as a Senior... now the Nannas and Grammas are YOU... and your Parent(s) have moved into GREAT-GRANDPARENT Territory... YOU might have even moved into that Territory yourself, as we have... and so your back-up Plan has serious flaws now!  
 Great-Nannas can't hang for too long, if at all, for obvious Age related reasons... but Mom was a Trooper and did what she could, while and when she could, for as long as she could to provide brief Respites for me!   But most of the time it would be me and The G-Force... which can be Fun, but even during those Happy times quite exhausting when you're doing it twenty-four-seven and can't hand them back to Parents!  And sometimes when you get to be a Senior yourself, your Parent(s) go on to the Larger Life or to Nursing Homes... and so they're not there to be a Present Help in times of Trouble anymore... and you're on your own now Baby!  *Le Sigh*  Dad had gone on to the Larger Life long ago, he never got the chance to meet more than half of his Great-Grandchildren on this side of Time and Eternity... and now Mom is in a Nursing Home... I really miss my Parents for so many reasons... my Parents were ALWAYS there for me as we try to be for our Children and Grands.
And when The Man had to be away for Work at least I knew he'd always be back at some specific point in time, when the gig was done and he could come back Home, and I'd be relieved of my Single Parenting as a Senior.  But with each Health Crisis he had there was always that stark Reality Check that Tomorrow is Promised to no-one and each Day is a Gift not to be taken for Granted!
And God Bless extended Family that Help as much as they have been able to over the Years... interrupting their own Lives to pitch in at Co-Parenting The Force.  The Son doesn't yet have any Children of his own but he has been raised with Nieces and Nephew from an early age and so he's been a hands-on Uncle for most of his Life and all of his Adult Life.   However, when your Parents are raising some of your Nieces and Nephews there becomes this strange dynamic where they're more like Siblings and see you more like a Big Brother.  That Sibling Dynamic comes into play where they Torment and Dog the living daylights out of you and you Tease and wind them up incessantly in return... as all proper Siblings should!  *LOL*  So that gig can go South quickly when The Son steps in to Help since he is not their Parent and the Respect Level for him NOT being anyone's Parent is compromised... and I'm just now dealing with Big Kids and Little Kids not always getting along and playing well with others! There will almost always be Drama of some kind... guaranteed! *Arghhh!*  
And God Bless the various Aunties and Dear Friends that often stepped in to Help over the Years, when everyone was still living in Arizona.  You all know who you are even if you're not pictured in this particular Post and that you are Loved and Appreciated so very much. Sadly that Inner Circle is quickly dwindling as everyone moves away and afar or has increased Commitments Life hands them... and I Miss all of them for a multitude of Special Reasons too... not withstanding what Great Backup they always have been!
And as The Man's Health continues to decline the Single Parenting as a Senior becomes all the more frequent... and I must admit it sometimes scares the life out of me... to consider our Health and Mortality before this Job gets done?!?  Because you see... a Single Parent can never afford to get Sick, or God Forbid Die... especially if they're lean on backup for Child Care or alternate placement or it's non-existant.  And though I've been richly Blessed with Good Health I am getting Older and developing Age related limitations that make doing most things... and especially Parenting... more Challenging.
And during each Major Health Crisis involving The Man there has been that Fear that we could Lose him... and I cannot even Imagine living without him as my Life Partner and Growing even Older Together.   Even in Poor Health I strongly rely upon his Presence in the Household and the Companionship and Love we Share... the raising of The Force that we divide between us so that neither of us has to be Single Parenting as a Senior indefinitely... or at the very least for another Decade Plus!  I am not certain I could do it... that I would want to shoulder it with no present Help... I don't want to have to consider it in fact.  And I seriously doubt he could do it so I better be the last one standing in the worst case scenario!
So I continue to Pray that The Man and I never have to become a full time Single Parenting Senior... because it has been without a shadow of a doubt one of the most difficult Jobs and Responsibilities I've ever been in a position to have to do... and I kinda Suck at it now!
Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. Dawn, I so admire you and what your doing..Sending a BIG hug to you..hugs and smiles Gloria

  2. You are amazing, Lady....and you don't suck at it, you are doing the best you can. Mother guilt serves no one, so go easy on yourself! You are a Goddess. <3

  3. Hi Dawn,
    I am so glad that these children have you. God has chosen you for this task, because you are the best suited to it, though I know that it probably doesn't feel like it. Do be kind to yourself, and know that I am praying for you and yours.
    Have a blessed weekend,

  4. Dawn - I know the's all too scary and so stressful! I hope all goes well...sending happy vibes your way! ;)


  5. I also really enjoyed your sweet photos...that is the first time I've seen a photo of your mamma.

  6. Wow I thougt I was having a shitty day then I read this...You are such an amazing lady Dawn...I feel so fortunate to have met you here in Blogland...I just can't imagine how hard this I was reading about your fears my stomach was churning becuase I have the same fears but I do not have the responsiblities of the kidlets as you do...I can remember feeling anxious about my children as they grew...being married to an alcoholic and alwasy fearing that something would happen to me and they would have no one...I can't imagine doing this as a Senior... So I send you many prayers, good thoughts & energy to you & the Man...Just dealing with the health issues alone with our military hubbys is a full timer...Somehow no matter what is thrown our way we seem to find the strength...Some like you seem to have much more added...Thanks for sahring this Dawn... It really puts things into perspective...(((HUGS)))))

  7. I happened upon your blog because I love bohemian style, but reading this post I could totally relate to what you are saying. I have two grown children, my son is independent and a college grad now working and living in his own apt. My daughter...... I have been supporting her, she is almost 29 yrs old. Has had many emotional problems, drug issues, and hubs and I have been helping (every day several hours) to raise her two almost 3 year old son. We love our grandson, but yes, it is hard work. We are in our mid-sixties, so we get tired. Daughter and grandson live in a basement apartment in our house. She works part time at minimum wage jobs, did not finish school. I don't think mentally or emotionally she will ever progress from there. So that means hubs and I had better stay healthy and stick around for the next 20 or so years to mostly raise our grandson. He is beautiful and smart, and we are trying to give him what his mother cannot, both material and emotional wise. If anything happened to my husband my income would be cut in half and I would have financial issues, too. So I'll pray for your hubby, and maybe you can pray for mine. I think everything happens for a reason and we are somehow meant to be doing this, even though it is so hard. My husband keeps saying "I thought these were supposed to be our golden years". Your grandchildren look beautiful and they are lucky to have such a dedicated and caring grandma to raise them. My prayers that you will both have the strength and health to complete the task.


A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl