I was standing at my mother’s bedside, wet and whining at 1:30 a.m. There was a monsoon outside and I knew I had a flat tire about 5 minutes into my 10 minute ride home from work. To top it off, it was finals week. It would take some serious bribery to get someone to help me before 6 a.m. and all I could do is vent to my mom. She simply stared at me and smiled for the 15 minutes it took to unload.
I tucked myself in to bed feeling defeated that night. There was nothing else I could do, but schedule a makeup date and get some rest.
It felt like I had just shut my eyes and someone nudged me. I heard mumbling. When my eyes focused, I saw her drenched. “What are you doing, Mom?” She answered with a question about a tool. I think she took my puzzled face as her answer and was gone. As much as I wanted to look away at this one, I knew she could use some help.
After stumbling around trying to find something decent to wear, I headed out to find her. It was 5:30 in the morning! Where was this lady? What is she doing? I could still hear the rain coming down hard.
When I looked to see if her car was still in the driveway, there she was! My heart dropped with overwhelming despair and the flood of tears just poured out. She was so wet, looked so exhausted – my supermom! I could not believe she even knew how to change a tire!
When I finished putting on my coat, she walks through the back door and into my BIG hug. She had saved me again! Words cannot express how much I felt her loving me that day and how much I loved her.
My sisters and I have only ever known one superhero parent. Mom was always enough and always came through for us all! I should have known she knew how to change tires too. LOL!
That very day I learned never to underestimate the heart of a single mom. Mom taught me that there was no hurdle big enough to keep a single mom from trying to help her child.
Our single mom, as most others I have met since, has accepted the journey and the challenge of parenting alone.
One time I had my heart set on joining the Navy. My plan was to become a nurse, travel on Uncle Sam’s dollar (in exchange for a couple years of my life, of course!) and help others. However, I could not bring myself to go into the all “boys” office.
So I told mom that I would appreciate her coming with me, this one time. Wink! Wink! I do not even think she noticed there were only men in that room. She led the way and asked all of the questions as I stood there smiling beside her.
Then when the ophthalmologist refused to approve my medical form, mom consoled my tears and helped me find another future into nursing school.
That very day I learned never to underestimate the strength of a single mom. Mom always knew how to find her way, stay determined and focused.
As we looked at different colleges, I realized just how hard mom had to work to support us. She never kept her financial struggle a secret from us, but taught us the difference between “wanting” and “needing.”
Once a social worker cared enough about her and her four young daughters to share with her the importance of getting an education. Thankfully she accepted the wisdom and worked hard to complete her education and started a career.
I saw how hard she worked only to be looked over for that promotion. Her obligations at home made her employer a bit hesitant. Even though she felt defeated at times, she always showed us how to stand up tall and keep moving forward.
Now as an adult, I can appreciate why she pushed me so hard not to give up on my education. At the time, I was not very pleasant to be around. I am so SORRY about that, Mom!
So now when I meet a single mom, I choose to intentionally stop and see her heart. I appreciate the way she hugs her children. I notice the way her children look at her. It is the look of the only true love present during their tantrums and choir performance.
I focus on making sure she is embracing every bit of her motherhood and not being devoured by her mom guilt. Although “mom guilt” is a given in our motherhood journey, for a single mom it can be paralyzing.
Is she getting some much needed relief? How is she dealing with life’s disappointments? Who is her support system?
Asking myself these questions help me show up for single moms. Like my mother showed up and fixed my flat tire. Like that social worker showed up and expressed the importance of an education.
Knowing that single moms can be super strong and jack-of-all trades, they could still use a safe hand. So let’s choose to serve her. Let’s choose to help her grow her strengths.
Oh, and did learn how to fix a flat. Although I have no idea how my mom was strong enough to get that tire off in the first place!