Back to School Night. Alone

by singlemomseeking on September 23, 2009

Tomorrow is Back-to-School Night. I’ve gone every year solo — and it will be no different this year. Jeesh, it sounds like I’m getting ready to host a pity party. The truth is, going alone one isn’t as hard as it used to be. (If you’re a new single parent, it really does get better. Really.)

I’ll never forget that first Back-to-School Night: how I squeezed into one of those tiny plastic chairs with my ballpoint pen and handouts. I was surrounded by couples. I didn’t want to look up from my photocopies and see how she was smiling at him, and how he nodded back. Later, on their way home, they’d share beginner reader’s tips and wonder how the transition into kindergarten was going.

chair classroom

As much as I’ve gotten used to going solo, some part of me imagines having that very sweet Lucky Guy join me at Back-to-School Night someday. We’ll sip carbonated water in the hallway before the teacher calls us in. I’ll introduce him to all of the other parents. It’s too early now, although I do think he’d be open to coming if I asked.

As I sat alone yesterday, thinking about all of this, my Dad knocked on the door: it’s his day with his granddaughter. When he walked in, I smiled. What’s with all this feeling-sorry-for-yourself? Sure, I might be going to Back to School Night solo, but my Dad really is the man in my daughter’s life. Right now.

“Hey, Dad, want to see what M is doing in fourth grade?” I said.

“Sure,” he said.

I handed him the thick Back to School pamphlet, which was filled with details about the entire curriculum for the full year. We had a great talk about homework and what his role should be as grandpa: tutor? friend? He knows every important detail about my kid: which graphic novel series she is reading, and which spelling words are stumping her this week.


Do you ever think about what it would be like to have a partner at your side? As I filled out the Back-to-School survey tonight — the teacher asked us to let him know any concerns beforehand — I wanted some reminder that I’m not alone. So, I put the word out on Twitter, and heard back from a number of single moms.

Staying Home with My Son, IrishAMom Speaks, and Spark Wisdom Tweeted right back that they’d gone to Back to School Night solo recently. Funny how the Internet can give you this sense of instant community with perfect strangers. Thank you.

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