Thursday, March 17, 2005

Love is in the air.

Love is in the air. Not the air I’m breathing, sadly. I’m still singularly single. But I seem to be the only one who is. Despite the statistics you hear about in the media – 50% of UK children born out of wedlock and a third of all marriages ending in divorce – Scrappino is one of only a tiny handful of kids in his school who have divorced parents. His school seems to be an oasis of the nuclear 2.4 in a wilderness of family breakdown. Of the 27 kids in his class, only one other child (let’s call her Child A – that’s how they do it in the news reports) comes from a ‘broken home’. (I use that phrase reluctantly. Our home may not be perfect, but it’s far from broken.) And in the year above him there is one other child (Child B) whose parents have split up.

But all that is about to change. The mother of Child A told me last week that she is engaged. Mazal Tov. I smiled widely (Too widely? Did I look like I was forcing it?) and tried not to look too selfishly disappointed. Of course I am delighted for her. But it’s hard not to see this from a personal angle. When you are one of such a small minority, you start to view other single women as allies. They help support your life choices in the face of all the smug-marrieds who constantly ask if you’re dating and make that awful “I can’t believe you’re not with anyone” comment. Or worse, tell you in those patronising tones, “I’m sure you’ll meet someone eventually. And he’ll be lucky to have you”. When you start to feel low about being alone (it doesn’t happen often, but there are moments) you regard other single women as members of the same club. You’re not alone. Lots of women are single mothers. There’s Child A’s mum. And Child B’s mum.

Oh yes, Child B’s mum. Barely two days after admiring Child A’s mums engagement ring, Child B’s mum tells me that she’s also engaged. She met a chap at a Christmas party and apparently he’s The One. I smile again. And do another quick mental calculation. How many are there of us left?

And then I realised. None. I am now the only divorced single mother I know at Scrappino’s school. And at work. And among my circle of friends. In fact, I think I might well be the only single divorced mother left in the UK. Even Kerry McFadden has got a new bloke.

There was a time when being a single mother was something to be proud of. My smug-married friends would tell me, when their husbands were out of earshot, that they were actually a little jealous. Being a single mother was a bit rebellious. It was different. It was cool. But not anymore. Single motherhood is over. Being a single mother is distinctly last season.

I wail to M that there must be something wrong with me. Everyone is getting married and I’m the only one left. I used to know loads of divorced mums, but now I don’t know any. They’ve all remarried. Except me. I’m the last woman standing. Or rather, I’m being stood up. I’m going to be left on the shelf. M tells me to stop feeling sorry for myself. At 32, she says, you’re hardly on the shelf. (Ah, how easy it is for 26-year-olds to utter these platitudes.) And anyway, she continues, even if you are on the shelf, it doesn’t really matter. As long as you get taken down and dusted once in a while. But this is a family blog so I'm not going to go into that now.


Blogger timecharger said...

lol. lovely. honestly though RX, I'm sure you WIll find someone someday, and they will be lucky to dust you (as so many have dusted before?)

12:01 pm  

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