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I am a mommy, scribe, and middle-school English teacher. I am trying to cope with being separated from my beloved. DoUWantMore? email me: theprisonerswife@gmail.com

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Living Single

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 10:03 PM



The first time my son met his father was in jail.

Blistering cold out, I wrapped my almost two-month-old son in a baby-blue snowsuit, and a hand knitted blanket and walked to the train station. We took the E train in Queens, then transferred to a bus that would take us to Rikers Island.

When the bus crossed the bridge onto Rikers Island, I didn't know what to expect. Even though I was somewhat of an around-the-way girl and had cousins who had been in an out of the prison, I had never set foot in a jail. My experience with jail was only what I'd seen on Law & Order, and from the looks of the show, Rikers was like the ninth circle of hell.

When I got off the bus gripping my newborn son, I didn't know I'd have to go through three sets of metal detectors, leave everything I carried for the baby—except for a blanket—in a locker, remove my shoes, shake out my bra, and take off my socks just to spend an hour with my beloved and introduce him to his son. It was a humbling experience, and I never wanted to do it again, but it's been three years, and this is our life…for now.

Raising a child is an arduous task. Raising a child alone is even more daunting. Because his father is away, I am in the precarious situation of being a not-so-single, single mother. Although his father tries to father our son through visits, phone calls, and letters, he is not able to be with us on a day-to-day basis, which means it's up to me.

I never planned on being a single mother. When my beloved was locked up, we were a week away from ushering our son into the world. We had bought all of the necessities, celebrated with two baby showers, and were happily awaiting his arrival. One night, our lives changed in an instant, and I was thrust into the difficult role of being another single, black girl with a baby.

When my son was first born, I vowed that even though he was being raised in the absence of his father, he wouldn't want for anything. I have made it my mission to give my son every advantage, every opportunity, and every indulgence that is feasibly possible. And even though we now live 3000 miles away from his father, I have made a conscious effort to keep our family intact and make sure we see him as much as humanly (and financially) possible. Even at three, my son knows both his mommy and daddy love him fiercely, and he is happy.

Solo-parenting my son has been both rewarding and very lonely. When we venture out to the park or to the movies or anywhere and see complete families, a hint of sadness curls around my heart because I am reminded of what is lacking in our life. Although beloved and I are together, I am still the one parenting our son alone, making sure he doesn't feel as though he has missed out on anything just because mommy's raising him by herself.

Since becoming a parent, I've become acutely aware of how I'm viewed, and have gone out of the way to make it known I'm not the stereotypical single mom. Even though single parents are raising more children, there is still a huge stigma that looms above our heads. And for black women, it's even worse.

I am not your stereotypical single mom. I have both a Bachelor's and Masters degree, I'm a professional, and I make a decent living. I am not on welfare, I'm not out having multiple babies by multiple fathers. I am young, black, and gifted and a mom.

As my son grows older and becomes more aware of his father's absence, I know I will have to explain the situation and reiterate that he is loved truly, deeply, and completely by both of us. He will have questions, and I pray we will have the answers. But for now, I am enjoying having my son all to myself. I am blessed to experience all his funny faces, silly dance moves, and I loves yous and not feel selfish one bit.

8 Response to 'Living Single'

  1. AfroChic Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242282000000#c2731245628727918616'> Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:20:00 PM

    be strong sis, though I'm sure you get tired of hearing that phrase. I too enjoy the selfishness of having my daughter all too myself. Great support keeps me from becoming overwhelmed but parenting solo or otherwise is a real task. Can't imagine the pain of having your love incarcerated but at least he is remaining active as best he can. The bonds of your family may be stretched but they aren't broken. keep your head up and live moment by moment.:)

     

  2. Lovebabz Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242303360000#c2789331929217106185'> Thursday, May 14, 2009 5:16:00 AM

    The world will think whatever it wants about who you are and what you represent. We are all "those" stereotypes and we are none of "them". Our worth is not in convincing the world that we are honorable decent women. The real battle is convincing ourselves. You have nothing to prove to the world. You only have to live your life as you see fit. Raise your child with love. That will do more good for him than any material thing you could give him.

    ((HUGS))

     

  3. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242311700000#c3317120520977472334'> Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:35:00 AM

    Much love and blessings for you, your son & your Beloved, Prisoner's Wife.

    1Love,
    Geoffrey

     

  4. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242322440000#c7700748462247470422'> Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:34:00 AM

    AfroChic: thanks for stopping by & commenting. i'm glad you have a good support system. it does help SO much. without my family, i don't EVEN know what i'd do. i was just thinking about that last night as i did laundry & went to the grocery store. if i had to do it TOTALLY alone, i'd be in trouble. hats off to those that do.

    Babz: you are so true. i don't really care what people think of me in terms of being a single mom. it is what it is. i don't, however, mention that beloved is locked up. the stigma attached to having a parent/loved one in jail is one i'd rather not put up with. i have so many students and the frist thing some teachers say is, "you know her dad is in jail..." i don't ever want that to be their first impression of my son.

    Geoffrey: thank you so much. bless.

     

  5. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242342120000#c8069034322008322883'> Thursday, May 14, 2009 4:02:00 PM

    I have nothing but respect for single parents (raised by one), and although you're not the typical single mother, the job is just the same. Your son and husband are very grateful for what you do.

     

  6. Safiyyah Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242346920000#c1851828713673178892'> Thursday, May 14, 2009 5:22:00 PM

    Greetings of Peace:

    I am very touched by your blog sis. I return often to see how you're doing. Hang in there.

    I work in a women's prison and I am often amazed by the single dads. There's one guy who comes religiously to bring the baby to see mom. This is important because often women in prison are forgotten.

    I know what you mean about Rikers. Try being someone who works in prison going there to drop stuff off for a husband in prison. We are not married anymore. But despite my years of working in prison, Rikers was quite the experience. Especially riding the bus over to the facility.

    God bless sis ...

     

  7. Christina Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1242352980000#c5782439051874293031'> Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:03:00 PM

    You have a beautiful family. I don't need to remind you of that. : )
    Love to you all.

     

  8. SE'LAH... Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2009/05/living-single.html?showComment=1243270801261#c154242485516138409'> Monday, May 25, 2009 10:00:00 AM

    WOW! When Christina told me that she started blogging because of you, I told her I would check you out.

    Am I so glad I did!!! You stay strong and do all you can to provide for you and yours. Stereotypes are just foolish talk...ignore it and do as you have, enjoy life the best way you can.

    Sending positive vibes your way.
    One Love.
    Se'Lah