I’ve rewritten this post a couple of times today. My original idea was to post about the day I had yesterday. (The shorthand version is that I had child support court and the outcome was great but the 6 hour wait sucked… So that’s that.). The more I started to write this post the more I wanted to change the guts of the post. I wanted to focus more on the positives that came from yesterday and what I have learned about myself over the last several years of being a single parent.
I really don’t like the term single parent. I feel like that implies that there is one single individual raising a child. Yes, the other parent is absent or somewhat around when he feels like it but I have, by no means, raised my daughter on my own. I have two incredible parents that love both my daughter and I unconditionally and would do anything for us. I’ve got a whole baseball team worth of siblings that have contributed to helping with Lana when I was working or just needed some space. I’ve got lifelong best friends that treat Lana as their own and I’ve got a man that has been a male role model and a leader for Lana. So, I don’t like to think of myself as a single parent. I feel so fortunate to have had this support system for the last 12 years.
With that being said I am a mother raising a child whose other parent does not choose to put her as a priority. There have been many years of struggling financially as well as mentally and emotionally. I can recall a time when my daughter was about 2 and we were living in a one bedroom apartment in a not so great area (sometimes when I would leave work at night I would call the non-emergency police line to see if a cop would make sure we got up to the apartment ok). I think there were a couple of items in the refrigerator and she was down to the last couple of diapers. The toilet had overflowed and it was late so there was nobody available to come fix it. I was sitting on the flooded bathroom floor, plunger in hand, sobbing… thinking there is noway this could get any worse. Well, it did!! Fast forward to a couple years later. I was living in a new, crappy apartment (although it was an upgrade to a 2 bedroom) when on a Friday afternoon the company I was working for closed it’s doors very unexpectedly. That following Monday I got appendicitis (without insurance) so it was a couple weeks before I could go back to looking for work. In a matter of several months I lost my apartment, my car was repossessed and everything I had in storage was auctioned because I couldn’t afford it. I was working nights at a bar and it seemed like I never saw my daughter. I was depressed and felt like I had failed as a parent and just as a human. I can remember when the clock struck 12:00 ending 2011 I cried tears of joy because that horrible year was over. That rocky road seemed never ending.
Fortunately, that rocky road turned into a moderately bumpy road, then a gravel road and eventually a dirt road. Always a little bumpy (as life is) but it got better. I have worked very, very hard to get to where I am now, but this whole life I live would have never been possible without the help of others. Over the years I have grown in the workforce and I have grown as a parent. I have been through many ups and I have been through many downs, but every single time IT GETS BETTER! You keep going and life keeps going and it gets better. God will never put you through anything that you can’t handle. This life is not over on your terms. It’s over when the good Lord tells you it’s over, so keep pushing… It may seem like a situation lasts for eternity, but it WILL end and there will be a new chapter in your life where you will flourish and become a better you. You can and you will thrive as long as you want it.
One of the main reasons I started writing my stories was because I wanted at least one person to read it and understand they aren’t alone. That being a mom is tough but sometimes it’s easier when you know your struggles are other people’s struggles too. I want moms, especially single moms, to know that life does get easier. There may be certain areas that you struggle in for what seems like forever, but one day it will just be part of the journey. You will look back and appreciate those hard times because you knew that it made you stronger and better.
So today I am rating life… and it gets a 7!! Life can be brutal and sad and defeating but the best part about life is you get 2nd and 3rd and 4th chances. There’s always the option to bounce back. There’s always the choice to keep going and make this life the most beautiful journey. So, I hope you read this today and you feel a little better, a little lighter, knowing that you’ve got so many more chances to make this life so incredible for you and your family.