I can remember his baby face like it was yesterday. Only two years old.
He sat on my neighbor’s lap as she sighed,
His Daddy just passed away. A brain tumor.
I stared into his gentle face as he gazed up at the wind-blown trees. There was a serious look for such a young child. As if he knew his whole life had changed in this last breath of his father. And it had.
What I didn’t know is I would see his face again four years later.
He ran past me in the gym to join his team in basketball practice. My warrior was the coach. Our oldest son’s team.
I looked at the long six-year-old legs as they flew past me and noticed the glimmer in his eyes as he raced to the court. There was a lightness in his step.
That’s when I noticed her. She brushed past me with eyes focused on her boy. I watched her as I wondered,
How have you made it all on your own?
A few more years passed by until I found that tall boy grinning on the front step as he beckoned,
Can he come out to play?
My boy ran through the door and off they went. These friends like brothers. He came around almost every day. His eyes smiled as he told me,
My Mom had to go back to work full-time.
I smiled as I squeezed his shoulders,
We’d love to have you around here.
He spent his after-school days with my neighbor, but really he found his home-away-from-home in our home. And our hearts grew. This boy who became another one of our pack.
One afternoon he swung his shag hair from his eyes as he mused,
You don’t know my mom, do you?
I grinned into his sweet face,
No, not yet.
His eyes glimmered as he replied,
You should. You two would really like each other.
And he was right. What we didn’t know is she would become my soul sister. She, her daughter, and son would become family to us.
It didn’t take long. You know how it is when you meet your people. It just fits. No planning, or thinking, or long drawn out get-to-know-you. Family. Just like that. As though we’d been a part of the picture since the day their lives changed from four to three.
But we hadn’t. And I wondered,
How have you done this alone all these years?
And I’d like to say she’s a rock star because she looks like one. I’d like to say she’s a rock star because I don’t know if I’ve ever met kids quite like hers. I’d like to say she’s a rock star because she has mothered and fathered those kids for ten years – and has blown the single mom story out of the water.
And she would shake her head at all this and tell me she’s no rock star. Her eyes would fill as she tells me,
It’s been hard.
And ten years is a long time to do this parenting thing all on your own.
She has been my cheerleader during endless deployments and has asked me,
How do you do it?
All I can do is shake my head and whisper,
Because you do it.
But she’s no rock star. Because rock stars have an entourage. They have staff, assistants, planners, organizers, managers, and more go-to people than I can wrap my mind around. I like some rock stars. But my friend is no rock star.
Then, a few days ago, she sends me this message,
makes it all worth it… love this kid. xo
I scrolled down and wondered what made all these ten years of holding sick babies, cooking meal after meal, balancing tight budgets, carpooling, tears, stress, strain, loneliness, and every other day-in-day-out task of parenthood worth it – all alone.
Then this. A letter from her daughter. She was six-years-old when her mother held her next to her father and whispered,
Tell him goodbye.
I read the words from her daughter,
so we had to do a survey for this recommendation letter thing and one of the questions was like who’s the most influential person in your life in a positive way, and how has it made you different and I wanted to share my answer-
The person who has had the most impact on my life in a positive way is of course my mom. I wouldn’t be here without her…literally. But she has shown me what it means to be independent, hardworking, caring, and successful all at the same time. She has been a single parent since my brother and I were young and I can’t admire her more for it. She’s a rock star plain and simple. She has done everything for me in life and helped me grow into the young woman I am. She showed me how to care for myself and be independent. She taught me how to think for myself and taught me to always do my best no matter what, which I am sure everyone says, but it really stuck with me in my teenage years. She has never had to tell me to do my homework or schoolwork and it’s because of her example that I did everything on my own. She is always hard at work to make our lives better and it inspires me to do the same. She taught me that hard work pays off and not to take crap from anyone. She showed me that being caring and loving is just as important as being hardworking. She has made me who I am today and I can never thank her enough for it.
Being caring and loving is just as important as being hardworking. This from a sixteen-year-old girl. She made me who I am today…
This. This is what every mother wants to hear. And she did it by herself. This daughter of hers who is like a daughter to me just made every minute of these ten years worth it.
But she’s no rock star.
A rock star couldn’t hold a candle to her.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed…