My kids are grown and they are thriving
Author’s note: This a deeply personal essay, but I felt it was an important experience for other single moms to hear.
“Single mom” is a label I never wanted. It’s especially a situation I never, ever wanted for my children.
I was raised in a home of divorce. My parents’ had a messy divorce, and we “kids” suffered a lot of loss.
The thought of my kids having to endure a similar pain, quite literally, made me sick to my stomach.
Life, though, rarely turns out as we plan, as you know.
I tend to dwell on the bad stuff and worry. When it comes to my kids, I wanted them to have the “perfect” childhood.
Because addiction is a factor in our family, my kids have had limited contact with the rest of our family for about seven years.
There have been moments in those seven years when I have agonized over what our children have experienced. How will they turn out? Will they be okay with, literally, just me?
It’s true my daughters have experienced a different life than I had wanted for them.
Well, here’s the twist; What if it’s been a good thing? What if my plan for them wasn’t the best plan for them?
Our daughters are two amazing young women.
I’m not advocating divorce. I am, however, seeing some huge silver linings I never expected.
My oldest is in her early twenties. She is one of the strongest women I know, both literally and figuratively.
She’s unconventional, ballsy, a tremendous athlete, adventurous, tenacious like a bulldog, super smart and able to embrace new ideas.
It’s was bumpy for awhile with this one. She was angry, for good reason, and I was the available target.
There are always things a parent regrets; it’s the nature of the beast. I can say, however, with absolute confidence, I’ve given her all tools in my toolbox, and she’s going to do amazing things.
She’s already doing amazing things. In the last year, she and her partner have visited the Rockies, Hawaii and Belize. I didn’t help with a dime.
I wish I’d been able to help, but my kids know as adults, they must be fully self-supporting. Those vacations weren’t taken on credit, they were taken with saved cash.
This brings us to my youngest. Working on her license, but already purchased a car with her own funds. Paid in cash with money earned from a dog-walking business.
She has an envelope started to buy a house someday.
My youngest daughter is kind, bright, creative, cool, amazing with dogs and kids, out-going, savvy and confident. She has an amazing fashion sense, or the “gift” as we call it.
Because of addiction, she has learned how to say, “No,” when she needs draw a line.
They aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. But, they are going to be okay. This was my worst fear seven years ago. The thought my kids would experience a life-altering pain making their adult lives more difficult.
What I’ve discovered is absolutely unexpected on my part. They experienced a life-altering pain, but they have come out better people. I believe their adult lives will actually be easier, rather than harder.
Both know the value of asking for help, getting help, finding support, saving money, setting professional boundaries and being able to financially support oneself. Most importantly, both our daughters have compassion. They know what it’s like to feel loss. They are kind.
As I move into this next phase of my life, I’m exhaling. The unknown is now known.
While I won’t be spending my later years how I imagined, I’m surprised to find I’m excited about what’s ahead.
I was given a challenging situation, and I did okay.
Like, I’ve always said, raising a kid is like raising a good dog; success requires a daily commitment and insane consistency.
It’s very cool to have stepped up-to-the plate. Now, I get to stand back and watch all that hard work amount to something.
Hang in there ladies. It’s never fair. It just isn’t. HOWEVER, things may actually turn out better than you originally planned.