Could an aching back be yet another side effect of being a single mom because my back certainly does hurt! I had never experienced real back pain before, but shortly after my husband left me pregnant and alone, my back began hurting. Now, when the pain flairs up, I know it’s just another side effect of having to do too much on my own. It’s a sign of needing to slow down, put my feet up, and take a day off, and someday I will do just that!
My back pain started soon after my husband left. I was five months into a complicated pregnancy, alone, and to say I was not feeling well is a huge understatement. At the time, every part of me hurt, physically and emotionally.
I remember being in shock when, shortly after my husband left, he took the boys on a parent-son campout with Cub Scouts – something he had never done before and hasn’t done since. Upon their return, he dropped our six person tent and all the equipment in the doorway for me to lug to the basement. I was six months pregnant with no one but our young boys to carry all that heavy equipment to the basement.
I remember being in awe (I’m not sure that is the correct word) a few weeks later when he watched me, at almost eight months pregnant, struggle to carry a 40 pound bag of water softener salt in from the car, up the porch steps, and inside knowing I would also have to go down more steps to the basement and then lift the salt into the machine. He never gave any assistance. Who was this man?
It was while I was pregnant and alone and doing all the work for our large family that I began experiencing back pain. Two years later and my back still hurts sometimes and recent events have caused major flare ups.
About two months ago, we had to move out of the house I had helped build due to our impending foreclosure and because I could not heat so large a house. After spending two winters freezing in our own home, I could not ask the kids to go through that again. Never once did my soon to be ex-husband offer to help with the moving.
To be fair, a lot of stuff was in the new house before he knew, but he was aware that we had to go somewhere and that I was having difficulty finding a place to live. No landlord wanted to rent to an unemployed, single mom of five boys with a credit destroyed by foreclosure and an inability to collect child support. It didn’t matter that it was not my fault or that I had near perfect credit before my husband left. I understand their reasoning, but not knowing what would happen to us made house hunting a scary time.
So my back has been hurting on and off for two and half years now, and the move two months ago has really done it in. I did way too much heavy lifting and packed and unpacked (a work in progress) almost the entire house by myself. A friend has been taking stuff to the dump for us. Someone else loaned us a huge trailer we filled to capacity, and I have brought over many full minivan loads for weeks. It is amazing how much stuff a large family can accumulate!
Last night was Halloween. I am no longer pregnant and alone, but that back pain has stayed with me. That precious little baby is now two years old and HEAVY! Add to that the fact that we had a freak winter snow storm and the kids needed to be bundled up for trick or treating. I had one heavy little boy to carry around with a hurting back!
I wouldn’t trade a minute of trick-or-treating with my boys last night, but have to admit I did look with envy at intact families where the dad was shouldering some of those heavy bundles of joy, two parent families holding hands with a happily skipping child holding their hands in between adults who chose love over self, and tired toddlers and even elementary children cradled in parents’ loving arms.
Noah was cold and tired too, but I was having a hard enough time with Kaleb. No way could I have given Noah a piggy back ride like some of his friends were getting. It made me sad that he didn’t even ask for one. It made me sad that I caught him with a little smile as he watched two friends riding down the street on the backs of their parents. I didn’t ask what he was thinking. I’m not sure I wanted to know.
My back hurts, so I will slow down, take a day off, and put my feet up – as soon as I finish working, washing the dishes, putting away suitcases from the weekend, taking out the garbage, washing and folding three loads of heavy winter laundry, finding our living room floor under all the junk that got thrown here in the past two days, sorting candy and throwing out wrappers the kids never quite bring to the garbage, and…oh forget it!
I’ll relax tomorrow.
The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
~ Exodus 33: 14
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