Single-Motherhood

I’m not new to being a single-mother. Still, as the children grow-up, I realize that there are lessons to be learned. Just when you think you have it all figured out, WELCOME TO TEENAGE YEARS!

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I recall in SeaTac airport, anxiously awaiting to be reunited with my brother and sister. Had it seriously be 14 years since we three had been together? Had it only been two months since I was in the airport, leaving for Europe?

I recall people watching… People are interesting, as they sit and wait in airports: Reading, knitting, chatting up a stranger – bragging on themselves, workflowing on their laptop, napping, talking on the phone, eating… Are you really listening to music? I sometimes put my headphones on, but I’m not actually listening to anything…

My destination was to San Diego, CA. A single mom near me is clearly a California native. “Ohhhh my gawd, next time, we’re taking an earlier flight because this long layover is for the biiiirdssss.” Two blonde daughters doing the complete opposite of what she tells them. “A, B, C, D, E, F, R, Z, X, O, W…” Well, she knows some of the letters! “When we get home, tomorrow, Savanna’s going to come over, then Sunday, mommy has to go to work for a couple hours. Do you want Savanna or Sarah?” These girls are literally 7 and 4 (she told and elderly knitting lady) how do they make these decisions? Then, they have this dog… Girls let the dog run free. Chase him around the terminal. 4 year old has to sit on a chair with said dog asks mom, “Why are you punishing me?” Mom ignores. I wonder what this will do to her children in the long-run? A year from now, five, ten? How will this effect their future relationships, if at all? 

Life is tough. Being a single mom is tough. But, we have to do it. We can’t ignore our children. I try not to allow my children to ever feel punished. Granted, there are consequences. (I hate those, but they are necessary – especially if I want to raise healthy, functioning members of society.)

In my new career, I am going into homes, and assisting with the social-emotional relationships with parents and their children ages Birth – 3 years old. At times, this is cultivating that relationship, fostering it, or just simply being their to offer tips and suggestions to a pretty good social-emotional connection that exists (even if the parent does not realize it). Perhaps I’m offering reassurance in a way. This new career path has opened my eyes to my own parenting style – the kind of mother I am…

If you follow my blogs, you know that this has been a difficult week. This week has been difficult because my relationship with my children – not one, but all three – has been strained! I have to wonder, What am I doing wrong? I have been so ready to just give up. I asked my children, Do you want to live with Dad? They said, “No.” But, the sweet, angel-babies, of whom I am familiar seem to have disappeared, leaving me dumbfounded, hurt, and lost. In my mind, I tell myself, “They are growing up, this is to be expected. It isn’t about you. Stop taking things so personally.” In my heart, I want to cry like a baby! I want to demand they tell me what is wrong – what has changed, what has shifted…

Then, this morning, I was reminded of my Father, who I sometimes take for granted. My Father, who picks me up each time I fall, who forgives me without question, each time I hurt Him. I was reminded of my Father, who loves me unconditionally, whether I talk to Him daily or not – He waits for me. My Father, who longs to give me everything that I have need of, I have only to ask. My Father who is there in the good and the bad, and I pray I don’t turn to Him only in the bad, but that I turn to Him in the good also. Because, He is cheering me on always, hoping that I make the right choices, quick to forgive when I don’t, eager to help when don’t, rejoicing when I do. He never gives up on me.

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How could I think to give up on my three? I was so convicted. My natural father wasn’t all good, he wasn’t all bad either. I strive to be a better parent. But, don’t I have the perfect example? With the example set before me. I owed my children an apology. So, I told them that I was sorry! I apologized. Then my poor son, felt guilty. I asked, “Why?” “For the way I have treated you.” I told him that he could apologize, just like I had, then I waited (he never apologizes). He would not apologize. I pointed this out, and asked about it. Long story short, he has never witnessed a man apologize. I asked, “Do you think they are good men?” He said, “No.” My response: I think are good men, but could be better. He thought about that. What would make them better men? He answered, “If they apologize.” So I asked him, “What kind of man do you want to become when you grow up?” “A good man.” I asked him to recall the story of Jesus, as He was crucified, and some of the words He said, as He hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I asked my son what those words meant to him? He said, “It was like Jesus was repenting for the people.” So I asked, “What does repentance mean?” He answered, “To say you’re ‘sorry’.” Yeah! There you have it! Your example of a perfect man, that said, “I’m sorry,” instead of leaving. And, you know what, although I didn’t need an apology from my son, he apologized, and he said he felt better!

I am not a perfect mom… The kids and I joke about “Good Mom/ Bad Mom.” I often feel like a failure. I rely on their Dad for assistance in various areas: school mostly, bullies and the like. I don’t try to do it all. I would never say that I’m “mom and dad,” because it simply is not true. What I try to impart to my children is truth. This is the legacy I wish to leave behind. My wish for them is that they have hearts full of love, their smiles light up a room, and their souls are pure. Let them be genuine in their actions, and giving: of their talents, time, and love. I pray they are slow to anger and quick to forgive – quick to apologize if they wrong someone. This is not weakness, but strength in character. I hope this is the what they see in me, as the example I am setting for them…

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