Single Mom Slice of Life:
If Only For A Moment In Time

It’s weird.  If I hadn’t been there myself, I never would have believed it.  After all, our house has been full of stress and fighting of late.  Yet, it still happened:

All three of us.  In the same room.

For several hours.  Having a good time.

Because we wanted to – not because we had to.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.  I have fought hard over the years to learn to balance my need for tradition with my inability to be traditional.  Though we no longer eat dinner around the dinner table, we do all eat at the same time, and hold a conversation while we do so (sadly, on the couch, watching TV).  We fight like cats and dogs, but make it a point to tell each other at least three things good that happened to us, or because of us each day. 

Family night for the most part is still intact, though, but that is usually spent arguing over who’s turn it is to pick pizza toppings and movie selections.  (Geeze, pick a bad movie one time and suddenly it’s a battle to get to have a say…)

Read more: What’s Your Default Position?

Anyway, picture it if you will, a Sunday afternoon, sun shining despite the fact that it was freezing cold.  A mom, her 18 year old, 13 year old, and their three dogs, all bundled up in the living room.  All of us were on various devices – a laptop, an iphone, an ipod – but we were all in the same moment.  There was no television playing in the background and no one was wearing headphones of any sort.  It almost shouldn’t have worked, yet – it did. 

Have you ever noticed how when you’re in a theater, you are completely engaged in the movie, your entire focus is on the screen.  But if you pull away from it, and look around the theater, it’s like an out of body experience.  The all consuming movie is gone, but you can witness others being held captive by it.  It’s almost a little surreal.

This was exactly like that.  I looked up from my email and saw – really saw – my kids.  They were both smiling.  They were both playing.  They were both happy.  Unable and unwilling to break such a magical bond, I quickly looked back down at my laptop.  I’d seen enough.  It was only a mere moment, nothing more than a heartbeat really – but it was the most serene heartbeat this family has seen in a long time.  A year from now – heck – a month from now – I won’t be able to remember that the conversation had held a hint of Prom, a touch of laughing at how loud I snore, blaming a foul odor on one of the sleeping dogs, or even that I was forced to answer some very uncomfortable questions as to why I still have a VCR and a copy of Speed on VHS.

Read more: Better, Not Bitter: Top 10 Things I Am Thankful For As A Divorced Mom

I will remember that in that single moment of time, there was no yelling, no fighting, no television, and no outside influence.  This was us.  As a family.  A modern day snapshot that only I will ever see, but will cherish forever.

What about you?  Have there been any surreal moments that you didn’t want to disturb, but touched you forever?  How do you remember them?  Have there been more since?


Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent since 2002, with two boys ages 13 and 18. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and has returned to college for her B.A. Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler.

More from GEM:

The GEM Debate: Say What?  Breastfeeding in Church… Is It A Do Or Don’t (POLL)

Smack in the Middle: Never Stop Improving.  What I Learned About Life from Lowes

Ask Rene: Is My Son Gay?