Stories of surviving being a single parent to four children while maintaining your sanity.

Coping with an Addiction

Preparing to confront my lifelong addiction for the first time, I stood in front of the mirror ready confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is admitting something is wrong.

“My name is Jackie, and I’m a gum-a-holic.”

Since I was five-years-old, chewing gum as been a vice of mine with the first piece of Bazooka Bubble gum innocently placed in my mouth by my father.

Chomping on the sugary substance with a mouth full of baby teeth, I laboriously […]

A Mother’s Love for her Children

Looking more like an overstuffed mushroom than a petite 17-year-old girl, blubber oozed over the sides of my Montgomery Ward bell bottom jeans. This new style of the 1960’s was supposed to have a slimming effect, but at 5’5” and 170 lbs, modelesque I was not.

“What do you think?” I asked my mom as she gazed lovingly at me.

“Oh, honey. You look beautiful.”

Several years later, I realized my mother was a liar.

Pouring through old family photos, I was horrified to see that during those […]

Brain Dead

Have you ever walked into a room on a mission only to find you have no idea why you came in the first place? For me, it’s a constant battle. My blind eyes never see because my glasses are lost on top of my head. The car won’t start because I’ve misplaced my keys usually in the black hole I call my purse, and my four children are close to disowning me because I tell them the same story over and over. But my […]

The Memory Keeper

“Oh, no. This has all got to go!”

While attempting some spring-cleaning a few months back, I came to the frightening realization that I was turning into my mother: I was a hoarder of life’s minutia. Every cabinet, drawer, and closet were overstuffed with items that had clearly outlived their usefulness or purpose. Living in one place for 30 years can do that to a home.

I adored my mother and normally would be proud to be “just like her,” but not in this circumstance. My […]

With All My Heart

“I don’t care who started it!” My mother screamed at her four arguing children. “Don’t make me come in there!”
Throughout my childhood, my mom had a litany of one-liners she’d yell at us to get her point across. There was, ‘if wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” “eat everything on your plate, children are starving in China,” and, of course, her tried-and-true explanation for everything, “I just want the best for you.” My favorite, however, was, “I love you with all my heart.”

In the […]

The Enabler

Hi mom! I’m home.”

I jumped up from my computer and sprinted to my front entry-way. Finding my twenty-year-old, six-foot-tall son there, I screamed, “Hi honey!” and leaped into his arms. Tim was a junior at UCLA, and this was his first visit in four months.

“I’m so glad you’re home,” I said, excited to see my baby boy.

“Me too, mom,” he replied, taking me into his arms and squeezing me tight. “I’ve missed you.”

Wanting to relish every single moment of this mother/son bonding, I hung […]