About Monday Holidays
(My thoughts today are with the wonderful ladies of the American Widow Project, who connect today's generation of military widows with open hearts and shared memories. They inspire me -- but today's post is from experiences that reel in my own heart today, because Memorial Day is right in the middle of my own anniversary season.)
During the two years that I was a single mother, Monday holidays were the worst torture I could imagine. It wasn’t that we had any traditions for those days, and losing Gavin disrupted a beloved custom; with Gavin self-employed, days off were never a particularly festive occasion: he’d go off into the studio on some of them anyway. And with a new baby, we were waiting to create new ways to spend special days off.
Gavin’s diagnosis meant that our first Christmas as parents, our first Thanksgiving, first Easter, Memorial Day and all the miscellaneous Mondays were also spent with a terminal diagnosis. Yes, we enjoyed our state of hopefulness, but in some sense we must have known this wasn’t the first of twenty Christmasses as a family. His advanced age meant that, semi-consciously, I didn’t assume our family traditions would be permanent in any sense.
In my general state of anger at him for being ill, I often wanted to say, “if you’re so sure you’ll live another 20 years, why don’t you fucking floss?”
But Mondays without him. The curve of the weekend as a grieving, lone parent was deadly: It was hard for me to say which was worse, late afternoon on a napless Saturday, just a few hours of daylight left, the depth of the pit, or the same state on Sunday, looking desperately forward to the relief of work and daycare come Monday. Many a working mom finds a haven in work, not just in time with grown ups, but in constructive occupation and adult expectations and words. But for me, desperate, inexperienced, with a TODDLER of all things, coming to work on Mondays looked like a ray of rainbow shining upward from a unicorn eating a dozen donuts. Beautiful, blessed, and sweet.
But Monday holidays were hell. It was hard enough for me to use a calendar and plan playdates – and understand how as a parent you have to break up the day to survive – but with all the people out of town, it seemed we were always alone. What I would have given for a tool like Foursquare. Instead, I sent blanket emails to a half-dozen moms hoping someone was free and could hang out. It usually didn’t happen; everyone else had car trips to see cousins, or grandparents visiting for the long weekend.
We were rarely invited anywhere for those Mondays. On the few occasions we were asked out, we always went, unless we were already in hives from the stress of the weekend and leaking adrenaline so visibly that I knew we couldn’t pass for company.
And there’s no way to feel more left out than to be alone on a Monday, drained from two days already alone with your kid, with no one around or reachable or interested. Those Mondays were when I felt most alone and the solution was so simple, but I just couldn’t get there.
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