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Single +1

Sarah Fowler

Is there any sound more precious than that of a child’s laugh? As I sit writing this, Prinny and her best friend are in her room, huddled under the covers laughing like…well, like five year old girls on a sugar high tend to do. They’ve spent the entire evening playing dress up, decorating cupcakes, cutting some poor innocent Barbie doll’s hair and running up and down the hallway laughing hysterically at some preschool age version of a knock knock joke. It is a beautiful thing and fills my heart with joy. As I check on the girls one last time before bed, Prinny tells me that she and her friend have decided to be sisters but “It’s just pretend, Mommy. OK?” Prinny is an only child and, if I have anything to say about it, she will be for a long time. All of her friends have siblings and during the last baby boom where everyone seemed to be pregnant, she asked for a little brother. I got her a puppy. Then after an afternoon play date with a friend with a new baby brother she came home and announced: “I do NOT want a baby anymore!” Whew, that was close. But, as an only child myself, I do wonder what it would be like for her to have a sibling. Someone for her to play with and go to magical worlds of make believe, someone she can whisper secrets to about fairies and princesses when she’s five and then secrets about boys and crushes when she’s sixteen. There is a part of me that longs to be able to give that to her but another part of me that is scared to death. I don’t even allow myself to think about having another baby because that just doesn’t seem anywhere near my realm of possibility right now. When it comes to the idea of having another child anytime soon…no thanks.

Everyone in the world seems to either be pregnant, trying to get pregnant or just finished being pregnant. I had a routine doctor visit last month and I swear, out of 20 women, I was the only person in the room not balancing a book on her belly. I held my breath just in case it was contagious. In the past few months I’ve been to more baby showers than I can count, listening to people “ooh” and “ahh” over tiny little onesies with yellow ducks dancing across the front while eating pink and blue petit fours in the shape of baby booties. And it’s adorable, it really is, but if I see one more picture of a stork holding a cigar or am asked to guess how many strips of toilet paper it will take to fit around a woman nine months pregnant, I swear I might lose my mind. Because at each and every one of these showers, someone inevitably pats my stomach and asks when I’m having my next one. It drives me insane. Why can’t one be enough?

I am blessed to have an amazing little girl. She is the love of my life and, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again a million times, I have no idea how I got lucky enough to be her mommy. There are nights where I’ll just sit on the edge of her bed, watching her chest rise up in down in rhythm as she sleeps, brushing the hair off her face and marveling at how beautiful she is. She’s perfect. And she’s all mine. I remember the day she was born; I had that moment every mother has where your breath catches in your chest at the sight of your new baby. They place this little bundle in your arms and, my goodness, your world stops. You’re holding this baby that just moments before was inside of you and all you can do is thank God for this perfect little miracle. You count fingers and toes, memorize the curve of their face, the color of their eyes. In an instant your world changes. Just writing these words brings me to tears and I am overcome with emotion at how my life has changed since the birth of my daughter. Prinny and I have this amazing relationship and admittedly, a five year old is my best friend. She’s full of life and personality and has this infectious laugh that makes my world light up. There is a special kind of relationship a single mother has with her children. There are times where you feel like it’s just the two of you (or three or four or five) against the world and all you have is each other. I wonder how our relationship would change if we added another child to our little dynamic duo. And right now, that’s not something I’m willing to find out.

To be honest, there is another element to this equation. I mentioned that I’m scared but in the interest of full disclosure…here we go. What if I got married again had another baby and we had the happy little family? The white picket fence and 2.5 kids with a cow shaped mail box in front? And what if I lose it? Again. I am scared to death at the thought of having more children with a man and then losing not only my husband in a divorce but my children as well. Prinny and I live together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I miss her when she is at school for eight hours; I can’t imagine sending her off every other weekend. I truly admire the parents who only get their children half of the week, month or year. I can’t imagine having more children and then having to “time share” them. They say fear is great motivator but it’s also one heck of a crutch as well.

There is a picture on my nightstand of Prinny’s first day home from the hospital. She and I are snuggled in bed and I remember feeling that my heart would burst from the amount of love I had for this child. I loved the baby phase; that sweet baby smell, the tiny outfits, all of the little “firsts”, the way they grasp your finger and look at you with such intensity that you swear no woman has ever loved her child this much; it’s an amazing time. But what is even more amazing is seeing this innocent little baby turn into a toddler, preschooler, kindergartner, teenager and before you know it, an adult having a baby of their own. Who knows, maybe one day Prinny and I will be more than just Prinny and I. But in the meantime, as long as the sweet sound of her laughter fills my heart and our home, I’d say we’re doing pretty dang good, just us two.

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21 comments

  1. Single -3.

    yeah,, yeah,,, you left out she was the apple of your eye, too… But, I missed how you lost your first baby daddy. Was it from some tragic accident? Or, divorce? It doesn’t appear you are sharing visitation, so I’m confused. If she’s five (5) now, you should “get on with it”, because that’s a good age diffference between siblings and she needs a father-figure. 10 years can be too much of an age difference. The older child starts to take on more of a parental role which isn’t good for either one later in life. But, as I said earlier, you aren’t really a parent until you have two (2). Because having two (2) children forces you to have the keenest parenting skills. Bed/bath times and just getting to the car have to be organized. And, you have to become somewhat of a referee for “she’s looking at me”, and to make all the toy values the same, “why does he get a GI Joe and I don’t”,, etc. But, trust me, what ever will be,,will be…so go ahead and separate your sleeping arrangements now if they aren’t already.. If the little one is keeping you warm at night now, I see trouble coming down the road in the relationship department. But, I think these days young mothers are taught these little secrets. Who knows? But, you seem to dearly love your little child and nothing is wrong with that, untill it keeps YOU from finding a partner to live out your golden days. Remember,,, your child might not always be there for you either.

    • Harmony Elliot

      rumor mill in columbus is that Prinny has a father who is fighting for visitation rights with his daughter and who is married with a infant daughter. sounds like he is suing for them. im not sure the validity of these, but if they are true, then something is wrong here. i guess it could be that Sarah is admittedly not apart from her 5 year old except for school (and all the dates she goes on) and “cant imagine sending her off every other weekend.” does not sound like a healthy mother-daughter relationship.

      • Single -3.

        that’s why I mentioned that about the sleeping arrangements. I kinda wondered the same thing. A lot will depend on the state from which there is a divorce decree, if any. Should there be a divorce decree in Mississippi, for a father not to get reasonable visitation, he would have to be homicidal and/or suicidal, or at least a real danger to somebody…And if he’s married to another woman with an infant, it could be hard to prove he’s a danger to himself or others. But, I wouldn’t have any idea about visitation laws from a different state but these type legal matters can get expensive. And, I haven’t read any thing yet about this baby daddy.

        • Harmony Elliot

          previous columns mention him, how he is an absent father, the love of sarahs life, etc.i dont think i will be reading any more of these, it just makes me sad for the little girl caught in such a web. hopefully they can work all this out.

          • Single -3.

            Awwe, I wouldn’t worry too much about the kid,, she will eventually become an adult. Divorce has become more acceptable in today’s society and children from broken homes find solace in their large number of class mates who are also from broken homes.

  2. Harmony Elliot

    I was under the impression that the exhusband has a wife and a baby with said wife…wouldnt that mean that Prinny has a half-sister? which is, in fact, a sister? (as i said, columbus is a small town)

    • Single -3.

      sounds like it could be a half sister to me, too, which in some cases, are as close if not closer than full blooded sisters. Prinny may be taking that every other weekend, 2 weeks in the summer, and alternating holidays route, pretty soon. Then, Single +1’s dating life might be picking back up some… ho ho ho…

  3. momof5

    I was a single mother for 7 years. I loved it, but realized that my child needed a father and made sure that my son spent LOTS of quality time with his dad, even when I was lonely or I missed him.
    It’s very easy for a single mom to use her child as an emotional crutch and say things like “its just me and my child against the world” but that can be very very unhealthy! Down the road, this leaves room for the child to feel incredible amounts of guilt for having their own life, or for desiring a relationship with their other parent…they will feel like they are betraying you, and no child should have to wrestle with those types of emotions.
    Your child should not be your “best friend,” you should be the adult and allow them to be the child. They should have a best friend their own age, as should you.
    I understand having a great love for your child and a special bond as a single parent, but make sure that you have healthy boundaries and are allowing both you and your child room to grow emotionally and have a healthy amount of time apart, especially fostering relationships with the child’s other parent and grandparents.

  4. Summer's Here

    I have heard these rumors as well, I work in the education system and see things like this all the time. The mother loves her daughter so much she has a hard time seeing someone else in the childs life. It sounds like Sarah is a smart woman and is trying to do the right things by the little girl. Sometimes its just hard to see the right thing through the love.
    Now go enjoy your summer!

  5. Candy

    I have to disagree with “Single 3″. You are a parent whether you have 1 child or 10. Some people can only have one child……does that make them less of a parent? Myself, I have 2. I’ve been raising them pretty much alone since my divorce when our daughter was barely 1 year old. She is now 9.My son is 12. Their dad has every opportunity in the world to see them whenever he wants, but he chooses every other Saturday afternoon & even that just began happening about 2 months ago. My kids didn’t see their dad for over a year & that’s because he decided to pound his chest & my face in front of our son last year. He got remarried 4 years ago & up to that point, he was an excellent dad. He was more help after we were divorced than when we were married. Now, he sees them every other saturday afternoon because the kids chose to see him. But while they didn’t want to see them, he didn’t call them (they have their own phone), he wouldn’t have to talk to me. His wife makes all of his decisions about the kids & unfortunately, she doesn’t want them over either. I get so mad sometimes about the way he treats the kids, but as long as they want to see him, I’ll let them go, although legally, I don’t have to let them visit. BUT you can bet if he ever disrepects them or beats them & they come home crying……depending on the situation, you can bet they will finish growing up without him because a negative influence is worse than no influence.

  6. Single -3.

    Candy,, that’s Single -3 (Single minus 3) that represents my one (1) ex wife and my two (2) grown children, none of whom lives with me. And, you want to take my ‘parent’ definition literally too, but, you know what I mean. Yes, a lot of men are pigs and some are not. And, you didn’t really expect your ex-husband to control anything after he got re-married did you? But, don’t let that make you angry, we learn from our mistakes. I don’t know what to tell you about your visitation issues. If you are willing to allow more visitation than the visitation schedule in your divorce, then, perhaps make sure he and his new wife know that. If it’s not mutually agreeable between you and your ex-husband’s new wife, it is not going to work anyway. If a visitation schedule is not being followed then all you can do is let the children go when it’s cool with everybody. Never talk badly about your ex in front of them; and, encourage them to “want” to go see their dad every chance you get. Then, let the chips fall where they may.

  7. Carol

    If this is all you guys have to be stressed out about, I am SO envious. There is absolutely nothing in this article that should offend anyone. Single-3, you are obviously an adult if you have two grown children. Why do you have the time to write such judgmental comments on these columns? And Harmony, you must know Sarah and have issues of your own with her. If you don’t, I’m very confused why you know so many things about her and take time to post more than one comment regarding her personal life on here. If you do, I suggest you handle those in an appropriate way. The packet is not the place to act out a personal vendetta.

    Candy, I’m sorry you are going through such a struggle. I can imagine all of that is very painful for you.

    • Single -3.

      @ Carol,,, who died and made you the “comment police”? Nobody’s “offended” by the article, at least I wasn’t. You said it yourself, my children are grown,, so time is definitely on my side,, right? That said, I wouldn’t concern myself with that if I were you, I would just continue being envious. If you don’t mind, please define “judgmental” for me and cite me one (1) example of a “judgmental” comment that I made.. Then, perhaps we can talk.. If you have time that is……

  8. Harmony Elliot

    Carol- i’ve never met Sarah but Columbus is small and we do share acquaintances and it’s thru them that I heard about this article. Also, those who work in civil services tend to be gossipy and things get out. I respond on here because I get an email when someone comments on something I commented on is all. I have nothing against her, only that she sense scared of losing Prinny to anyone and that makes me sad. Her whole world is centered around a little girl. A lot of pressure for the kid and a lot of fear on the moms part. I hope it gets better for her.

  9. DaddysGirl

    “She’s all mine?!” Sick. “Just us two?!” The little girl needs her Daddy. As adults, a mom and daughter can be best friends. As a child, she needs a mom and a dad. And she need to be her own person, not a mini-me for the mother. Let go and let God, I say.

    The “She’s all mine” statement really gets to me. A child is not a possession.

  10. Elizabeth Brown

    In this “small town”, whether you’ve known Sarah all your life or have bumped into her in Wal-Mart, it takes all of about five seconds to see just how much she adores her daughter and how much her daughter adores her. It is no where near “sick” or a “unhealthy relationship” but obviously two people who have made th best out of a bad situation. If you’re going to not only listen to the gossip/”rumor mills” but continue to spread it by posting it as a comment on her column (which is obviously for entertainment purposes and nothing more) then you should tell the rest of the story as well. Has anyone thought to question why the child’s father isn’t around? If its such a “small town” then surely we would have all seen him around by now. Hmm…wonder where he is? Before you all get on your soap boxes about the “well being” of an obviously much loved, happy and healthy little girl, perhaps the one who should be getting the brunt of your questions is the “baby daddy”. But wait. He doesn’t make himself such an easy target for your judgement now does he? You’re all so quick to judge her and say what you would do in a situation that you clearly know nothing about but why don’t we all take a moment to stop criticizing her and actually give her credit for not only raising a daughter on her own with dignity and class but taking your judgement and negativity as well? I don’t always agree with everything she writes but I admire her for putting herself out there. (And she doesn’t hide behind a screen name.)

  11. Mom2

    @ Harmony. To set the record straight. Sarah is a great mother. She many times has play dates for Prinny that include more than 2 or 3 children, so I have no doubt she could manage a houseful. As far as Prinny’s father goes, she has never been kept from him, he doesn’t live here, and seldom travels here to visit, of his own decision! His parents have traveled to see Prinny more than he has. Sarah always puts her daughter FIRST, unlike many other single mothers her age. In today’s world where too many parents are caught up in their own selfish lives, Sarah truly gives her all to her child, and for that I respect her. I would say to anyone who is spreading gossip, keep it to yourself!

    • Single -3.

      To both Elizabeth Brown and Mom2,,, all of these comments are just opinions. Nobody here works for this publication. Single +1 (Sarah) puts out an article every week; and, this is a place where the general public can offer up their opinions on whatever she writes. I don’t believe there is a love any stronger than a mother’s love for her child. No comment that I’ve read has implied any differently I don’t think. And sometimes it can even be stronger than the love for their husband. And, the baby daddy is not around due to some unfortunate situation, whatever the reason might be. Some women relocate for the purpose of making visitation more difficult for the ex-husband/father. And, we don’t know what the facts are surrounding Single +1’s personal situation. But, if she’s willing to continue putting her personal life out there, then other people will always be willing to inject their personal opinions. We just shouldn’t take those opinions too seriously……..in my opinion….

  12. Harmony Elliot

    I agree, i was only saying that she sounds scared to share her child in a situation where the dad is having sue her to see said child. and that i hope it all works out for her because she loves her daughter so much. its hard when the dad is in the military and out of state to stick to an exact schedule, especially if he is ever deployed overseas.
    i agree we should not judge. it is easy to nit pick when someone puts their lives in public. all of this is great entertainment though and a fun read.

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