The other day I ran across a rare journal entry written during those single parenting years. It really brought home the difficult time I had being a single parent. I was transported to this specific day in time.
I had a go-around with my oldest two boys who refused to live by my rules. The oldest was old enough that he could have just left if he didn’t like my rules. My second son, however, was still in high school and did not have that option. On this particular occasion, I had reached such a level of frustration that I called my ex-husband to give me some back up. Now what on earth made me think, that the man who wouldn’t back me up as my spouse would back me up as me ex-spouse, is beyond me… but I called him.
He came over with his second wife. I wasn’t thrilled to see her I’ll tell you, but I understood that she wanted some solidarity. I explained my situation. His wife actually got it. She got it! She told the boys that if they thought my rules were unreasonable they really wouldn’t like hers. She guaranteed that living with me would seem like a blessing compared to living with them. I thought, “Thank you!” My ex shushed her and said that wasn’t what they needed to hear. The heck it wasn’t it! It was exactly what they needed to hear!
He told the boys to take care of their responsibilities (they had refused to do chores amongst other things). My oldest son started crying and told his dad, “Why don’t you take care of your responsibilities?” The second boy went downstairs refusing to hear any more.
At this point his wife was insightful again. She turned to him and said, “If this is about your boys being angry at you, and taking it out on their mom, you need to talk to your sons.”
Oh he really didn’t like that! He told the boys to just work it out with me, and nearly pushed her out the door as they left.
I felt let down by my ex-husband again! I felt like I had to scoop my boys up off the floor and put them back together again.
They did their chores. One of them apologized. The other took a few more days to apologize. I never called their dad like that again.
The next day my ex-husband called and asked, “So did you get things worked out with your boys?” It was like reality slapped me in the face! They were MY boys. My job to raise… my sons.
Reading that after all of these years I was transported back to that time. I remember the house, the carpet, the smells that were there at the time, all of it. Back to what it took to be a single parent. Back to how much I love and care for my children. (All four of them)
I wish I had written down more days than this one. Occasionally I find one or two that I wrote down, but they are few and far between. I wish I had written down more of our happy days. Of how it felt to watch my children grow up. Days that I just enjoyed watching them play basketball in front of our house. What a kick I got out of the kids jumping on the trampoline, or digging a hole in the garden. How good it felt to sit down to Sunday dinner together and say a prayer over the food. Playing on the computer together. Or the day I kicked their butts playing a video game. All I did was push buttons having no idea what I was doing and I beat them!
So, no matter where you are at in your life, write it down. It will matter some day. You get old, you forget. Having it on paper and reading it again, you suddenly remember, even more than what you wrote. Write it down.