Every single parent has a story that changed their life completely and landed them in this undesired group…
It was a brisk sunday morning. I sat bundled up next to my kids while watching my nephew play flag football when my dear friend, who also got a divorce when I did and will remain nameless, came running up to me. I gave her a big hug and asked, “How are you?”
She said, “It’s like Groundhog Day every single day.”
I paused, mirroring the same exhausted expression that she had on her face. I knew exactly what she meant. It’s the rinse and repeat of everyday responsibilities weighing heavy on our single mother shoulders.
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The days repeat themselves like a never ending ride, feeling heavy with demands while simultaneously void of the thrills that remind us that life is good and fun. In this mix, it’s easy to feel disconnected from ourselves and tough to find the beauty of being alive here and now. It’s tough to feel presence. Maybe we catch glimpses of it when we hug our children or when an old friend calls up out of the blue or when we see an elderly couple holding hands.
It’s the simple things that reflect back pieces of gratitude and joy and love. However, we are caught up in the overwhelm of grocery lists, school projects, carpool schedules, work deadlines, house cleaning, disciplining, counseling the hearts of our children, and somewhere in the mix trying to put ourselves back out there hoping someone great would like to join in on this wild ride.
So those brief glimpses of peace are quickly swallowed up by the chaos of what needs to be done, what I should be doing more of, what I need to be better at and so on. At some point in the chase, in this never ending ride, it’s easy to begin thinking life can’t be good anymore. I get it. We tend to forget what we no longer experience and then conclude that that thing isn’t real anymore – joy, love, peace.
I invite you to consider that those things are always present just as the sunlight shines during the day. Our experience of the sunlight changes everyday depending on what’s blocking us from feeling its presence. The same goes for the good things in life.
Deep down everyone just wants to feel good in every single way – finances, relationships, health, spirituality. As humans it’s in our DNA to want to live – to be okay. We are incredibly driven.
As single parents, this journey toward making life feel okay again is extremely difficult because we are rebuilding something – a family, home, relationships – to look a way we’ve never experienced before.
Everything is new, unfamiliar. So we trudge through the unknown hoping it will look better, be better. This extra load leaves us deeply weary, making the effort to create our own life much more difficult.
Initially, for me, “Single Parents Day” felt like an obnoxious spotlight on all the painful points that brought me to this place, drawing attention to a club that I, nor anyone, dreams to be a part of one day. Yet here we are. Every single parent has a story that changed their life completely and landed them in this undesired group. That story is full of crushed dreams, deep pain, loss, heart ache, and tremendous grief. Whether you experienced divorce, death, abandonment, addiction, incarceration or something else – you have a story linked to your “label” of single parent. And that story doesn’t feel great.
So yes, the days seem to run together and feel so similar in their efforts toward okay-ness. When we spin ourselves around in this repetitive grind each day, it’s easy to lose sight of how far we’ve come. It’s tough to see the growth that’s been created through the painful story.
So I invite you to pause today and remember.
Recall what you’ve gone through to take care of yourself and your children. However big or small, you made changes, shifts. And that’s hard.
When a man asked Michelangelo how he carved such a perfect replica of David out of the stone, he answered, “I did not carve David out of the stone. I simply took away the pieces of stone that didn’t belong to him.”
Likewise, you’ve been through some tough etching to create the brave, strong, tender, insightful, wise person that you are today. Celebrate that.
And maybe let’s consider that this idea of “being okay” is just an illusion. It’s a chasing of the wind. It’s constantly moving, pulling us outside of this present moment.
Today I invite you to come back to the present moment as often as possible. It’s in this connection to right now that we can feel the sensation of a hug from our children and have gratitude for their life. It’s in the pause that we can observe how the sun feels on our skin and receive unexplainable peace. It’s in the deep awareness of creation around us that we feel supported by something beyond what we can see. Just as the sunlight shines during the day whether we notice it or not, we find all these good things in this present moment if we take time to observe it.
I hope you find time to celebrate how far you’ve come and to feel the gift within the present moment over and over again today. And may you find that you’re doing okay and that okay-ness feels amazing. You deserve to be celebrated not because you’re in this undesirable “Single Parents Club,” but because you have an incredible story that made you into the brave and beautiful person that you are today!
Your story matters.
Happy National Single Parents Day.