It’s been a rough ride, these last seven years. And I don’t want to spill anything just yet, so as to not jinx the good vibes I’m feeling all the way from Alachua County. From losing dependency claims on my taxes and being the parent who sometimes feels like a child because she still lives with her own parents, to being mom and dad to the most incredible human being in the world. This isn’t intended to be a love letter to my child. That will come one day when I’m darn good and ready.
The fact of the matter is this: My daughter is clueless to the turmoil that has surrounded her, especially during the last three years. I’ve lost all of my own personal savings, totally wiped out her college fund, and racked up enough credit card debt to make me a nervous financial wreck for the next 24 months. I have struggled with the universal theory of Right vs. Wrong and compared those results to my own personal theory of Right vs. Wrong. They’re pretty much the same, though it’s taken many tears and emotional breakdowns to come to this conclusion – I’m pretty fucking awesome.
This isn’t about tooting my own horn. We all have certain periods in our lives that cause us all great loss in our own self-confidence. When we seem to rely on other people so much and to the extent that we forget how to rely on ourselves. That is my main goal, to teach my child how to rely on herself or, truthfully, how to rely less on me. I can’t always be with her as she’s growing up and, while this breaks my heart, it’s the only way she will learn who she is and how far she’ll let things go. So far, she’s done just that. I was so proud of her that night but I couldn’t tell her that. I could only tell her that she did the right thing.
Hopefully, she’ll see that I did this all for her. She’ll know that I would do it all again, too. She will know that this is what any mother would do for her child. My daughter might not understand it when she’s 15, 20, or even 30. But the moment she has her own child and her baby’s welfare is threatened in any way…she’ll get it. She’ll know why.
I guess, in a way, I wish I could bottle up this overwhelming sense of confidence and security. God knows I’ll need it next week. God knows I’ll need it for the next 11 years! Single parents (the good ones, the ones who actually, y’know, act like parents!), we don’t have it easy. Sometimes we choose to raise our children without a father, sometimes that choice is made for us by the father. The point is – we are Mother and Father.
Instead of judging us for taking your place in line at the welfare office, consider the fact that I’ve once held 3 jobs to make ends meet and maybe you should get off your sorry ass and get a job yourself. I’d be happy to give you one of mine. Instead of assuming that single parents only breed unkempt, uneducated, foul-mouthed hellraisers, take a look at your stereotypical family (mom, dad, 2.5 kids) and tell me the last time they really, and I mean really, disciplined their child for bad behavior instead of buying them a toy/bribe to shut them up in public.
Sometimes I’m exhausted from all of this parenting stuff. And I’ve had it easy! Living with my parents has certainly relieved me from having to worry about what’s for dinner? and shit, I can’t pay the utility bill this month! While I attended college (on my own dime most of the time, thank you very much, since financial aid was not available to me and this, I believe, gives me every reason to suck up your welfare and state aid if I need them!!!!), I didn’t have to worry about where my child would be for unknown hours each week while was in class. She was safely with her grandparents. At home.
I don’t believe the bullshit statistics that say single parents produce career criminals, domestic abusers, and substance abusers. I believe that shitty parents, clueless parents, even (gasp – dare I say!?!?!) MARRIED parents produce the useless scum of society just as easily as single parents. Trust me, I could soooo name one. Right. Now.
But I refuse to fall for it. I refuse to believe that my child is a statistic. My child just so happens to be the smartest person I know, the most caring individual I know, the coolest 7-year-old in my universe. She is my universe, actually. And because I do it on my own, I'm her universe.
Wow...you (you know who you are) are so missing out.