They say single parenting is…..
is not for the faint of heart. I don’t know who “they” are…(I suspect single parents) but “they” are right.
Almost 23 months ago I suddenly became a single parent. I went from being a team to being one. Five young lives were instantly my sole responsibility. I remember those months early on. Of the near panic at every situation that arose with my kids….the phone calls to family and friends seeking advice…my brain was numb, I couldn’t think, couldn’t problem solve.
I was determined to keep their lives the same, I was determined to spare them as much suffering as possible. I was going to be both the Dad and the Mom. I think it took me about 2 months to realize that that was not even close to possible, that we would each have to walk our own path of grief, that I would mostly have to just watch, that I couldn’t spare them a thing.
My brothers, during this time, became invaluable. Cannot even count the number of phone calls and hours they spent helping me parent my boys. I’m the oldest in my family and I’m not sure I ever realized how wise my brothers really were….but lets just keep that our secret for now. I am the oldest after all and must maintain my status as “older and wiser” 😉 Thankful for them? yes I am. Such good fathers they all are.
As these last 23 months have gone by I’ve noticed that my relationship with my kids has changed. I actually think the bond between my kids and I is stronger. We are all we’ve got…it’s a “we have to be there for each other” mentality. They also have had to grow up fast and become more independent. It’s been so neat to see the relationships between each of them grow stronger. It’s been neat to see them become good friends and watch them support each other. They’ve experienced a reality that no child should have to experience. I think of what they have been through and where they are now and I’m thankful, and sort of amazed. Are they perfect? no, but neither am I.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I could not fill the role of mother and father. It didn’t take me long to realize the importance of BOTH parents.
When you are a single mom you learn to hide your emotions from your kids. After all, you are “it” when it comes to stability and consistency in their lives. There’s nobody else we can tag to be our substitute even for a few hours. Some days are just about surviving and meeting needs. Some days I think I can hang a shingle out my front door for all the “counseling” that goes on in a day, week or month. And then some days are wonderfully rewarding. When they open up and share their heart, when they thank you for being there for them, when they are all around the table talking and laughing….it’s these times that you treasure and that get you out of bed the next morning.
So, the reality is….I can only be a Mom. Yes, I cry in the shower. Yes, single parenting is not for the faint of heart. I did not choose this, I still don’t want it. It scares me to be solely responsible for 5 lives. I’ve messed up, and I will mess up some more. But this is where the Lord has me right now, and even though I forget to depend on Him, and I fall asleep before I remember to pray, I know that He is faithful.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more
Than all we ask or imagine
According to His power that is at work within us”
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