I heard somewhere that pretending to have it all together is unfair. It’s unfair because if someone is looking up to you, they will never get to where they think you are. I hope that I do not ever pretend that I have it all together, or that I’ve figured it all out. Being a single mother is not easy. I may make it look good (in my discounted clothes) but I hope if you’ve learned nothing about me while reading these stories you learn that it’s not easy. I would like to take it a step further to say that I hope that I don’t ever take all of the credit for making it through this thing by myself. I’ve been beyond blessed to have some amazing people in my corner. I’m feeling grateful these days, every day actually so today I will say thank you.
For starters, there is my amazing aunt, who at 61 can still beat Nia in a footrace to the car or to the house and will bite the child’s lip if she sees it hanging out. She doesn’t believe in crying for no reason or negativity and I am forever thankful for her. She also has an active social life so when I need her I have to call a few days in advance to make sure she doesn’t already have plans. I love it though, because she lets me act my age as well and won’t ever judge if I ask to go on a date or on a vacation or out for a drink. When I was a kid, she used to let me play in her perfume and lip stick so I can understand why my child wants to go to her house even when I don’t have an event or a need for her to babysit. She is the aunt that helped raise most of the children in my family in some way shape or form and is still at it.
There’s also a fellow parent who, when I was working two jobs, agreed to pick up my daughter and take her to art classes with his daughter. Even though the class was five steps away from the girls’ elementary school, I was naturally unsure. While I wanted more extracurricular for her I didn’t know the fellow parent well. However, at the kid’s request I attended the first few classes with her and saw that she would probably flourish more with her peer and without me there hovering. Once that parent and I developed a relationship and I met the rest of the family, sometimes he would pick up my kid and sometimes I would pick up his kid. In an emergency, I can call him or anyone in his family for that matter, and they could help me with Nia. It is also a beautiful thing because our daughters who don’t have siblings their age have each other to play with. Whether good or bad, they now have a sister-like bond.
One of my good friends that I met while working part-time a few years ago is also a part of my village. While just casually chatting during lunch one day I told her that I wasn’t sure about how I was going to get Nia from her school bus stop to her after-school program. She volunteered her own mom and even though I had never met her, she introduced us all that day and she agreed to help out. It turned out to be a match made in heaven because her mother lived three doors down from the bus stop and the after-school program picked Nia up from there. I still don’t know what I would have done without her help.
Let us not forget my own mother, who has not only driven down in the snow to watch my kid on a snow day but also cooked a full soul food meal in time for my arrival home from work. This woman has not only sewed on buttons, sent home new clothes for my kid and taught her how to make the world’s best pound cake but she also put together a dresser and desk from Ikea, washed dishes and did laundry without being asked and made countless trips down the road to my city for the tiniest of our events, celebrations or dance recitals. She is a Godsend. I really don’t know what I would do without her.
My dad has taught her amongst other things how to be a slapjack champ and allows her to practice her signifying and boxing on him. He is also the positive male influence she needs more than ever right now.
And God bless her aunts and uncles who support her hobbies, take care of her when I have client meetings and give her those outdoor camping and hiking experiences that I may not be brave enough to try.
There’s my two BFFs, one of which has taken care of her for a whole summer and bought me a freezer full of food when times were really tough and the other who is there at the drop of a dime whenever I am sick to drive me to the doc or watch Nia while I go; the Nana in the Bronx who she visits some summers and sends big boxes every fall; my friend from work, her grandmother’s best friends and distant cousins who remember her birthday every year… the list could certainly go on but since I’ve got more work to do I’ll stop.
Just needed to share how blessed we are with a village. She is loved and so am I.
We are thankful.