Families have changed a lot over the years. The “typical” family used to be made up of Mom, Dad, 2.4 kids (I never understood those numbers), and usually at least one 4-legged furry.
Now, however, there really is no “typical” family unit. The atypical has become the typical! But the values we share bond us together, no matter what label the world tries to put on us.
Twenty-six years ago when my son was born, he was born to a single mom (that’s me). Back then, there was still a large stigma surrounding single mothers, no matter the reason they were single, but I was stubborn and determined to make it. The thought of a single woman doing everything herself was pretty unusual…and pretty easy to judge.
Money was a constant struggle, time was a struggle, emotions were a struggle, relationships were a struggle, balancing everything (and having some things work out even once in awhile) was a miracle. I wished, more than once, that the movie Multiplicity could come true for me. I desperately needed more MEs.
Friends and family and coworkers and teachers and school counselors and even strangers turned out to be surprise blessings. I quickly learned that being stubborn and prideful was a waste of time when there was a plethora of good advice and role models out there!
I learned to read the different smiles of other moms (and sometimes dads) in the aisle at the grocery store or the school hallway or the doctor’s office waiting room. You recognized kindred spirits. I’m in the same boat as you. And it will be okay. Really.
I fought the stigma and the judgment early on, sometimes from places and people I never expected. But I prevailed because God was with me, and because of the support I got, also usually from places and people I never expected.
I made sure that my kids and I were a unit, that they knew I loved them and would do anything for them, and that even Mommy messed up once in awhile and would say “I’m sorry”.
Now, my son is 26 and my daughter is about to turn 21 and I could not be more proud of both of them. It is said that our purpose as parents is to raise our kids to do better than we did. My kids have already far surpassed my goals and wishes for them…and I know they aren’t even done yet!
My son proudly served our country for seven years and, now in the Reserves, has returned to school to get his college degree. My daughter attends college full-time, works, and is in her 3rd year of college women’s wrestling – yep, she kicks butt and takes names later – which makes me feel better about her taking care of herself away from home.
I look forward to what the future holds for both of them.
My family might have been “atypical” when it started, but nowadays, isn’t that what has become the “typical” family unit? It doesn’t matter who comprises it, we love each other, we support each other, and we are who we are. I’m not much for labels, so I’ll stick with “my family is my family” and that’s all that matters.
What does your family look like? Share in the comments section, or with others TONIGHT with Dr. Gail Saltz @9pm by going here to RSVP to the “How We Family” Twitter party!
You can also go here to find out more about the event.