Written by Gabi

I remember the first day I realized I was a single mother – not that my divorce wasn’t a clue or anything – but I remember the first moment it occurred to me that it was up to me now.

My son was about 6-months-old, and for the first time since he’d been born, I decided it was time to have that much deserved glass of liquid calm. Wound up yakkin’ with a friend til the wee hours, and finally collapsed much later than my designated 9 p.m. bedtime. Around 4 a.m., I heard my son’s cries from his room. I lifted him from his crib, brought him into my room, and as I laid on my back in my bed, I lifted him above my head.

“What’s a matter lil’ dude?” I asked wearily.

He puked in my mouth.

He had the flu. Within a few short hours, it became apparent that my 2-year-old daughter did, too.

Picture this: it’s about 115 degrees outside. The hottest Denver summer in history. I bought an older house, in part because I thought it was “cute” to have radiators. Only with radiators, you can’t have air conditioning, so now, both my children are throwing up, and since they’re not old enough to get to the bathroom, they’re puking on just about everything, including themselves, me, the furniture and the floor. And the house is like a sauna. Within about another 5 hours, I, too, get that feeling in my stomach that tells me I, too, have the flu. Now it’s the trifecta of vomiting. In a hot house. Did I mention we didn’t have air conditioning?

Of course, no one will help me because they don’t want to get the flu, so the only help I get is an occasional ring of the doorbell when people leave Pedialyte at my doorstep and desperately run for their cars.

I covered the living room floor with towels, and well, let me poor little kids have a pukefest. It lasted two long, horrible, dreadful, unforgettable days. And in that moment, I was relatively sure I had sunk to the depths of hell.

That was six years ago, and I’m glad to report we all survived. Because that’s what we single moms do. We survive. It’s not always pretty. It’s not always pleasant, but we always figure out a way. And each and every one of the moments that makes us think we just aren’t cut out for it gives us a few more tools that prepare us for the next surprise.


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