Monthly Archives: December 2017

Oh Holy Plight

Last night, I used You Tube to try and fix one of our toilets for the umpteenth time. I failed, but it works well enough for the basics. Tonight, I found light sabers for my 10 year old that have been AWOL for the better part of two years – since the last Star Wars premiered. It made his night. Especially when I removed a couple AAA batteries from a remote we never used to make sure it would light up well enough for daycare tomorrow. 

In my years as a single mom of two, I’ve served in so many roles that I can’t recall them all now. But I remember a time, just 15 years ago when I thought this would be completely impossible. Tonight, as I sit and reflect, I realize how far I’ve come…out of necessity.
My first Christmas as a solo mom of one 2 year old boy, I was completely stressed as I fumbled to find and use a screwdriver to put together my son’s first big wheel. I remember that the frustration drove me to tears. Everything I had bought him needed assembling, and as a girl whose dad had departed this earth when I was only 11, I was lost. While I didn’t posess any real ‘do-it-yourself’ wisdom, I did posess the one thing that would see me through – pure determination. 

Like so many parents I know, I have never been one to back down when it comes to fulfilling my kids wants and needs. I’ve never allowed something like ignorance to stand between my abilities and their dreams. So I’ve managed to become a plumber, a painter, a fixer, a nurse, a therapist, a sub-par chef, an exceptional maid, a mechanic, a handyman, a teacher, and even sometimes a super ninja. 

Even though I never wanted or dreamed of being a single mom, I am proud that I’ve done it, that I’ve survived it, and even more proud that THEY’VE survived it thus far. It’s never easy, not always rewarding, but always 1000% worth the blood, sweat, tears, greying hair, and wrinkles – every last one. And I can honestly say, that as an only child of a single mom, I am grateful for my childhood. While it was painful at times – not having a dad – I am grateful for the lessons I learned from my strong heroic mother, who served as both mother and father better than anyone could understand. 

God doesn’t always give us what we want, but he always, always gives us what we need. Sometimes what we really need are lessons. Lessons in love, lessons in strength, and lessons in tenacity. The determination of my mom was the perfect upbringing for what I would face as a grown-up. So much so that now I have two sons that believe women are capable of anything and everything a man can do. They are gentle, sensitive, and intuitive individuals who rise to the occasion every time, and I couldn’t ask for more.

So every time I start to feel sorry for myself and feel that God gave me the short end of the stick, I simply sit back and watch. I watch them at 17 and 10. I watch my 17 year old put his own needs second as he works to save so that he can buy his father an amazing and thoughtful gift. I watch him as he thinks about what he can do to support and comfort his friend. I watch him as he goes to work 4 or 5 nights a week into the wee hours, only to wake up long before the sun and go to school. And I listen to him as he doesn’t complain about the fact that he misses out sometimes on stuff he really loves because he has a larger goal in mind. I listen to him as he writes his music and practices his guitar until his fingers bleed. And I watch my 10 year old as he shares with his best friend, as he gives his last piece of candy to a dear friend who has no candy, and as he relentlessly practices karate even though his legs throb. I listen as he plans out his week and strategizes for himself about all of the homework that’s due this week, and how he plans to get it all knocked out. I watch them both grow into these young men who make me prouder with each passing day.

That’s when I know that THEY are my reward. That’s when I know that God’s big picture is so much bigger than my own, and that’s when I know that with Him none of this was ever possible, doable, or fathomable. But love is everything. God’s plan for love is everything.

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Severed Ties

I remember going to my childhood church for the first time, and I remember feeling excited and energized by the community and the spirit. My mom was proud. Up until this point, I had been a ‘half-breed’. My dad was Baptist, and my mom Catholic. But now that my dad had passed, I was going to be raised Catholic. There is nothing wrong with that. It was not common and sometimes not accepted in my small Southern city, but it was my destiny growing up. And I dove in, full hearted. 

I remember, over the course of the next several years, throwing myself in. I wasn’t only prayerful, but I was the ONE in my household that made sure we prayed and went to church each Sunday. I think, in retrospect, that it was good for my mom. She was everything, but she had already been through so much, that maybe she needed that extra push. I was happy to respond, and happy to push.

Some Sundays, we would be too late for Mass and would just attend our rightful service at Cracker Barrell. But most Sundays, we were there, albeit in the very back. But we were there nonetheless. I never once considered how difficult it had to be for her as a single mom. When you’re surrounded by families in a church where ‘divorce’ is so frowned upon. But my mom wasn’t divorced. She was a widow.

When she finally dated my future stepdad, it was difficult for her to take the Eucharist, and I couldn’t understand.

So when I was twice divorced, and my mom was dying and made sure I took the Eucharist, I took it seriously. I obeyed.

I have raised both sons in the Church so far. But with my second ex-husband AWOL, and me engaged, I knew there was no being accepted by ‘my Church’. I didn’t tell anyone, because I am not close with anyone in my Parish. But finally, my conscious got the best of me. So when I did finally tell the youth director that my kiddos wouldn’t be coming back and that I wouldn’t be able to teach, I thought that maybe someone would reach out. That isn’t what happened.

I was passed by. I feel given up. I feel like anything I did for the church in the last 30 years was fruitless. With two husbands and a stepfather converted, not to mention a fiance totally on board to convert, I said my last goodbyes.

So maybe churches, like people, are temporary. Maybe they walk into our lives when we most need them or they need us, and then they depart and make room for something more.

So with my kids and fiance in tow, I am out in the universe searching – just a girl with a rosary asking to be accepted.

Favorite Things

Church.

Filling  my spiritual bucket, making my eyeballs sweat,

My lungs quiver, my heart bleed with anticipation and eagerness and energy,

And Holy spiritedness.

My youngest son’s laughter, belly up, whole-hearted, white lights & lollipops,

And all the sugar his little body can hold.

My oldest son’s nostalgia, and maturity – his passionate guitar playing, song-writing,

Singing, wailing, with all the rhythm and soul his body can hold.

The two of them experimenting, working together, chatting, bonding, loving

When I thought they had lost each other.

My Hayley dog running back into my arms after taking her own little

Rebellious adventure.

But she’s so glad to be home. And I’m so glad she made it.

Long solo hikes immersed in leaves, and breeze, and nature’s unconditional

Peace of mind – a few hours and moments of being present with

Beauty – unspoiled and lovely – innocent and tender.

The smells of dessert candles, amongst a shimmering glass of wine, a lit-up tree,

Dressed with memories of years and love and Christmases with mom and dad and us.

And I am content and at peace with God’s plan for me, for us, and for the love

He keeps pouring into my heart especially when I feel complete emptiness.

We fall on difficult times so that we can savor the easy ones.

We fall so that we must depend upon Him to lift us up…

Just one more time.

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