March 24, 2011

Hard Things II

Two weeks ago, today, I became a single mom Tymon went to Ghana with a group of MBA students from the University of Washington. They are studying business in Africa and Tymon's group is focused on micro-finance. It's been rough. And hard. And exhausting not having him around...even if he usually gets home late on school nights and does homework and has group projects every weekend. Not having him home at all, even if he sometimes gets home after all the kids are in bed is different. Different meaning that being the sole person responsible for our children can be overwhelming.

I'm not complaining. This has been an incredible opportunity for Tymon. And if I'd been in the same position, I would have gone, too. I have experienced a valuable recurring life lesson these past couple of weeks though: I can do hard things.

Leaving the house with 4 small children can be rewarding and the pits at the same time. I've taken the kids to the Children's Hospital Health Fair, church, and to the office. There were plenty of activities at the fair and the only meltdowns toward the end (and the rest of the day for that matter), friends and family to help with the boys when Little Miss had meltdowns at church, and my brother to entertain the kids while I had a meeting and then meltdowns all the way home. When the meltdowns assault my ears at high decibels, I lose my amazingly kind and fun-loving personality...and it's all I can do to prevent myself from also having a meltdown. Hard to imagine, I know. Ha ha.

I am very grateful for the assistance I receive from friends and family. Thank you for all of you who have stepped in with a helping hand or invited us to dinner. What I don't know is how well I would've handled life if this were longer than short term. Single parenting is hard. I've thought often about a woman I know at church who had 6 kids in 7 years. When the youngest was 18 months old, she and her husband got divorced and she didn't get any child support. I'm sure she only survived those incredibly difficult years through a lot of prayer and by the kindness of others. I can only begin to imagine how challenging that must have been. She told me on Sunday that she was very grateful that she was able to work to support her family. Being able to work is a true blessing.

Not all single moms are so lucky. Her comment reminded me of a family I knew 20+ years ago. They had 7 children and one on the way. The father died in a tragic accident and the mother wasn't able to get a good job because she lacked the education/technical skills to do so. Baby #8 was then born with Down Syndrome. This family struggled on so many fronts and it took years to get the education and job needed to support the family. I know my parents tried to help and I'm sure many others did, too. I remember dropping Christmas presents on their doorstep, ringing the bell and running. But as I think back to how life must have been like for this mother, I am underwhelmed at my sacrifice for Tymon these past couple of weeks. No, my life is not so difficult. Challenging? Yes. But soon Tymon will be home and I'll be on to other challenges.

If you are a single parent, I am praying for you tonight. If you're not a single parent, please join me. And in the next week or two, let's do something to bring a smile to the face of at least one single parent. We can all do hard things together.

4 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. You can do it! Hang in there. I feel the same way about single parents, especially right after I had Noah. Absolutely impossible without help. Strong ladies out there!

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  2. I know all too often what this feels like. It definitely is NOT an easy task! I can just picture you with the kids at church because I have had my fair share of this and know that being alone with the kids on Sunday is not over yet either. Being pregnant makes it that much harder as well. Cliff will be heading out of town here shortly again as well. So, I feel for you!

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  3. That is so sad. It makes my week seem like heaven on earth. I feel so sad for that women to lose her husband. Makes us appreciate what we have!

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