I remember as a young mom hearing, “enjoy it, these years will fly by”. I deliberately chose to try really hard to cherish each day, but you know what? The days, weeks, months, and years still flew by!
I don’t have a three year old and a 10 week old.
I don’t have a four year old and one year old.
I don’t have a five year old and two year old.
I don’t have a six year old and three year old.
Those were the years of being a single-but-not-yet-divorced mom.
When my children were young, I was involved in the leadership of many activities – MOPS Steering Team, AWANA leader, Bible Study teacher, Sunday School teacher, and helped with Women’s Ministry Events – I/we were involved with all of these for the first three years of our single parent days. I don’t regret those days at all. We needed the activity because we would meet with my (not yet*) ex-husband once a week in a public setting. Wednesdays. It would take us until Friday or Saturday to recover from the two hours, then Sunday – Tuesday were kept busy so we didn’t go crazy in the apprehension of Wednesday coming. Visitation days were just plain awful.
But God. To this day, the most awe-inspiring thing I remember was on the days I felt the most vulnerable God always, Always, ALWAYS had someone I knew who would be wherever we were meeting. Sometimes it was a group of people. Never was it pre-planned. But God knew and He planned. The individual or group wouldn’t talk to me and I didn’t talk to them. They were people from our church family and not necessarily people I would talk to, but I recognized them and knew at the very least I had someone to help me call for help if needed. I’m not even sure they knew what was going on – it was the reality my Heavenly Father knew I what I needed. Ironically, the one time the police were called – I’m pretty sure it was the grocery store clerk who called, who knew enough from watching previous visits. That day, I don’t remember seeing someone I knew from church. Even though we were at the grocery store – the day before Thanksgiving.
But now? When I reflect back, there are very few visits that stick out in my mind. Also, I prayed a lot. I prayed for God to erase the bad memories. I knew in order for me to “move on”, I needed to not be able to remember or visualize what went on. I am thankful, because while I have few memories of those years – overall those days were wonderful. I loved being a mom then. (I still love being a mom today – it’s just really, Really, REALLY different!) My children weren’t old enough to understand money. We lived on very little. There usually wasn’t child support, so we lived on odd jobs I might do from home and the Alaska PFDs. Because my dad was committed to my being able to stay home with my children, we’ve continued living in the apartment attached to my parents’ home. I didn’t work consistently because I didn’t have to pay rent or keep lights on or pay for heat. I paid for my car insurance and gas, food, and necessities such as toilet paper & dish soap, etc.
My point in this? More than a decade later, I know in my head those days were hard. some were truly awful. … but overall, what I remember are good times with my children, and I am so thankful!
I remember I used to think – in five days, five months, five years, ten years, or even fifteen years – will I remember this [whatever hardship]? Now – it’s been more than fifteen years! I can honestly say, nope. I know there were many hardships, but I don’t remember specific details. I remember those days fondly.
The other question I remember pondering, will this parental battle be worth it? They must have been, because my children have mostly grown up – one is considered an adult – and they’re good kids. Yes, there has been conflict, but overall – it’s all good.
Now: I’ve been a single mom for 16 years.
Now: Now I have a child in college and my baby is a junior in high school. They are 19 & 16!
Now: I’m staring to stare down the reality of children no longer at home.
*We were separated for three years before he filed for divorce.