I'm Mom, Amanda, Manny, Manda, Ms. T, or whatever you may want to call me.
If you've met my exs you may know me by some expletives. The attached picture is (left to right) Me, my son - Manny, and my niece. It was taken at a Boston Red Sox game we attended last summer. Yea, I ambitiously wanted to give my son the "traditional" summer, seeing as much of America as I could drive to in a week. I put 3000 miles on my little Prius. I'm sure he'll have a great many memories of the trip. One memory may be of me crying while talking to a ticket scalper about how I had taken my children from Chicago to Boston to see a Red Sox vs Yankees game and never thought to purchase tickets in advance and only had $100 cash. *Insert hysterical laughter here.*
Back tracking, Manny came into my care when I was married, almost 5 years ago. My then wife and I had applied to a Chicago social service agency, to be a part of a foster to adopt program. I had always wanted to be a wife and mom. Since I was young I wanted to adopt a child, take care of a home and those I love. Years later my son came and I was working 14 hour days because my wife and I were no longer in love and I was avoiding her. There were no prospects of being the stay-at-home-mom I always wanted to be since I was the primary breadwinner.
Needless to say that less than six months after my son came to our home as a foster child my wife and I were no longer together. Though she initially tried to keep in touch with him, after three attempted visits we decided he was too much for her to handle and she hasn't seen him since. You see, we were told he was just a little behind academically. In truth he was almost three years behind academically in addition to having memory deficit, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, obvious emotional processing issues, et.. Life quickly became everything I didn't want it to be, except for the fact that I was still an out lesbian and now also a mom.
This single, lesbian, mom thing is not for those looking to skate by in life doing any and everything easily. Just shy of two years after he came into my life, which was filled with birth mother and family issues, the adoption was finalized and I had a son to call my own...all my own. There was no one to play tag with when I needed a breather, no one to come home to and vent to about my day, no one to have dinner ready or homework done. It was all me and there were no taksies backsies.
We celebrated our fifth year as a family in February 2015. In the last five years I've had to do a lot of undoing. I've taken my son from someone who thought being gay was wrong to being someone who now tells people, "It's just different. It's not wrong, just different." I've had to search the city to find groups where I could get some adult time and he could get some time with other kids of LGBT parents. Guess what? I never found it. He was too old for the ones I found in Chicago.
Then there are the constant issues of me dating, him getting some positive African American role model time, him in Catholic school because it's the best education in Chicago (everyone in the nation knows you want your kid anywhere but Chicago public schools), me trying to advance at work so I don't have to keep working one full time and two part time jobs to make ends meet, him in every sport possible - and being amazing at each of then, still helping him catch up in school, and the list goes on.
There is always a fun parenting story or twenty which sprinkle into my week. There was the time he hit on a white girl in class and she said she can't date him because he's black, the time I caught him looking at porn on his phone, or even the time he cut off half of his finger the day we were moving. Each and every story left him growing into a wonderful "man in training" and me growing into a kick ass mom.
I can't give you advice on leaning on my partner or keeping the love alive. I can give you advice on raising an amazing kid and doing it all while being a fat, white, out lesbian who maintains her sense of self while actually getting out and dating too.