“The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter.” –Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
There are only 2 different sleep modes that single moms have. One is “I’m so exhausted I fell asleep while folding laundry and now lay comatose until morning.” And the other one is, “the world is coming apart at the seams and I lay awake until 5am until then I doze off for 30 minutes to face the day.” This particular Sunday morning, I was in the coma type of sleep. However, I was stirred when I heard the little scuttles of feet go past my bed and down the stairs to the kitchen. But, I’m not worried about the marks on the floor that the stool is making when my kids push it to the pantry. My heart doesn’t leap when I know one of my littles is balancing on the stool to reach the cereal. And, I’m not rushing to the rescue when the seal of the fridge opens and I know that the milk is almost completely full, and that small squishy hands will be pouring it. I don’t even get out of bed and try to sneak to see what is happening. I already know…it’s Mother’s Day, and it’s my first one being a single mom.
I didn’t really know what to expect for this first Mother’s Day by myself. Paisley was only 5 years old and Eddie was just 3. But, today, I have a hunch that breakfast in bed is on its way. I sit up and get all ready to receive the bountiful blessing of whatever type of cereal was on sale that week. It wasn’t too long until those little faces turned the corner into my room. They were each carrying their contribution on little trays.
Paisley reached me first. On her tray, she carried an overflowing bowl of Cocoa Puffs with not just any ole kind of milk, but she used chocolate milk to make it extra special. Then, Eddie brought his tray over that had a massive glass filled to rim with, you guessed it, chocolate milk. So essentially, my entire breakfast consisted of chocolate and chocolate, and more chocolate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate as much as any other girl, but this was a bit much. However, just one look at those faces, and seeing how proud they were of their gift, I ate it…all. By the end of breakfast I was practically hallucinating because of the sugar high. The things we do for our kids.
The gifts kept coming. Both Paisley and Eddie stood before me with their homemade cards in hand. They were so excited they were shaking. Eddie’s consisted of stick figures and hearts, but Paisley spent more time on hers. She actually wrote a little note inside her card. It was just one sentence, only 5 little words, but it helped put my entire single parenting journey into perspective.
She wrote: Thank you for being here.
Yes, it sounds kind of strange. Not like the “I love you” or “You’re the Best” inscriptions that you would see in other cards. This was a different Mother’s Day for me, really, all of us. I took for granted something that Paisley didn’t…choice. After all we had been through, choosing to stay with my children didn’t even seem like a choice. In fact, I didn’t even think about it. But, my kids had learned differently. They had learned that, for many different reasons, some parents leave. Paisley was just expressing her appreciation the best way she could. Thanking me for just being…here. Here in this space and time, with her and her brother. Here in the insignificant, and here in the monumental. I never knew that a broken pink crayon could be so powerful.
Sweet Single Momma: no matter what path brought you to the place of gaining the precious honor of being called a single mom, you chose to stay. It could have been a divorce like me, or it could have been out of another choice such as adoption or life circumstance that you chose to single parent. Whatever the reason, God knew your steps would lead you to this place. He allowed your family to be designed exactly the way it is. He must’ve known your shoulders were broad because you carry a very special load. And just as Jesus is with us during this life, dear single mom, one of the most powerful gestures of love you can offer your children is your presence.
Remember, on this Mother’s Day, when your children are sharing their cards, hugs and, yes, even their germs, have faith that your choice doesn’t go unnoticed. When your children go to sleep in their beds, no matter how much money y’all have, or if they wear the latest fashions or if they go to the best schools, just knowing you love them is enough. Single mom, you are enough.
Happy Mother’s Day.
“for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:2