I’m no longer a single mom. I mean, I’m still “single” as far as the IRS goes, but for closer to three years I’ve been with a man (with already gigantic feet) who has stepped into some giant shoes, and filled them well. For almost a year, we’ve lived together, and he’s taken on the father role asked of him, deserved or otherwise. He’s amazing with my girls, going from accepting my circumstances (on our first date), to loving my circumstances, and being fully prepared to love them forever.
Before I start this one, I want to thank all the men (and women) out there that love and accept the kiddos that need it most. It’s left unsaid too much, how much you single handedly change the lives of more than just a girlfriend, or spouse, but also the mini lives that come with them.
The nitty gritty. The things unsaid.
Nobody plans to be a single parent. Fewer people plan on having kids, with the intention of losing the love and support that started those plans. Nobody plans on walking the hard life of a single mom or dad, and nobody is fully prepared for what comes with it.
I loved being a single mom. I thrived. I grew. I became more beautiful, more loving, more patient, and absolutely more understanding of the harder side of the world. I learned to understand what it felt like to be lonely, judged, and weak to a point that you have no choice but to be strong.
The hardest thing is the bitterness. Over time, you realize that every time your child’s heart is broken over your situation, every time he’s late, every time he doesn’t show, every time he changes his life or accepts somebody new into it, every time his family judges your choices, every time he can’t make a payment, or every time he asks for more/less time with them….your heart breaks too, and then it hardens. He’ll never be a constant. And that’s the hardest thing to swallow, and will refuse to settle correctly in your stomach ever.
You’re torn between being the mama bear, fierce and strong…and the child…curled up and broken on her bed because you’ve been let down again. The bitterness consumes you, when you realize that by making the choice to raise her on your own, you’ve chosen to let her learn early what heartbreak is like.
It’s taken me three years to realize that every move I make, is being watched and felt by the two little girls that follow me. When I get bitter and angry, they learn those emotions. When I’m overly patient and giving, I subject them up to be hurt…but teach them strength. I’m teaching them that life isn’t in their control, and he’ll never be a constant. I’m teaching them that daddy’s can be plural. I’m teaching them that it’s important to have more than one, if not ten, amazing male role models in their life. Their grandpa enforces the law (and wears a star on his chest, and is their hero). Brandon is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen, and takes them with him in every single tractor they could ever get their hands on, teaching them that with every step in life, there can be a lesson. Brandon’s dad and grandpa are instilling the value of hard work, and provision. My grandpa is showing them how to laugh at the small things. My brother, Ben, is teaching them how to play…and never stop; that being the best is achievable. All of them ooze love, and acceptance. All of them, have been there from the first day I’ve asked them to be, and won’t step aside ever. They are the constants, and that’s only naming a few.
If you let the bitterness of the world control the outcome of your emotions, you’ll forget to look around and realize that it takes more than one person to affect an entire lifetime. Instill love, patience, and the values of hardship and hard work. They’ve got a whole lot more going from than I’m allowing myself to realize. Grace, Nomz. Teach them grace.