A Single Mom’s Lament
In her ESME Showcase essay submission, a Sister shares the pain of solo parenting
I had to apologize to my kid . . . you see, my past mistakes were now affecting her life and causing her pain, and although she was the beauty in a disastrous situation, my mistakes have placed scars on her already.
I’m sorry I chose them. . . . I’m sorry they hurt you. . . . I’m sorry they haven’t been there for you. . . .
I found myself in tears trying to explain to her that when you’re young and without knowledge and guidance, you can make decisions that have repercussions that don’t stop causing pain even after the situation is all over. I explain how you have to be careful giving your heart to someone, that above all things listen to your gut and intuition when it comes to people because it’ll never steer you wrong. I find myself constantly explaining that love doesn’t cause hurt or pain because even when I fall short of being the best role model I can be, I want those words to be engraved in her mind. I want her to know that even though there may not be a father there to guide her, she still has the tools needed to select someone who will love her completely.
Seeing my child hurt because of my choices has become emotionally unbearable. It tears at me every time I’ve attended a spelling bee, basketball game, and cheerleader tryout alone. I am always the only one standing in the crowd cheering her on. It has been that way for as long as I can remember and the pain never gets any easier to stomach, but the smile that spreads across her face when she sees me gives me hope that I’m doing something right. I have watched my daughter blossom into this incredible human being whom I speak to about life, love, and following her dreams and goals, and I feel certain that these words have taken root inside of her.
I’m not saying any of this to portray anyone as a bad parent; this is written only in hopes of waking up a generation. We must continually speak life and love into our children, especially our girls because they are where creation begins. We can’t continue to bring up a nation of brokenhearted, fatherless daughters and expect life to be OK. We can’t continue to create a cycle of abandonment and not take responsibility for our role in it. We are our children’s protectors, and it takes all of two-and-a-half seconds for us to text them to make sure they’re OK, and two seconds to call them and hear their voice. We are creating a cycle of brokenness by not accepting our responsibility in all of this. We are leaving our children ill-equipped to sustain productive relationships and are therefore just repeating the cycle.
I wrote this because I had to apologize to my kid on multiple occasions for mistakes I never realized would cause her pain. We have both suffered and endured like soldiers; we have been casualties of war, and yet we have lived to tell the stories of how being the children of single parents has become a circumstance and not a death sentence. My mistakes have branded her, and my mother’s mistakes have branded me; but this is where the cycle ends. We are more than our past, we are more than our mistakes. We are an unending light in a sea of despair, we are our children’s chance at hope and love.
Feel Differently? Read Margot Kessler’s reponse.
I’m a divorced single mom and writer. I’m the product of two writers and have watched how their love has evolved over the years. Their love is my reason for it all. I inhaled it . . . got high off of finding someone or something worth laughing and fighting for. It defined every second of my life, and I felt like someone should bear witness to it. I am Sapphire.