My children, both boys, are 16 and 10 years old and for their entire lives, I have been a single mother. (I don’t count my first disastrous marriage that lasted all of six months.) There was a point in my early 30’s where I believed that single motherhood was just as good as it was going to get for me. And I was fine with that.
Seriously, it was easier to be single and my children had extended family that stepped in for their absent father. Sure, money was always tight and there was never enough to make ends meet. However, we were just fine, the 3 of us had each other and that was enough. Our little family was complete.
I was lying to myself. There was nothing fine about my children only having the love of one parent. No matter how much their Nanny or Papa stepped in, it was not the same as having a father figure in their lives.
My children are biracial so I dealt with a double-edged sword; not only could I not teach them to be men, but I certainly could not teach them to be strong black men. They deserved much more than I was able to give them, and I will live with regret for some of my decisions for the rest of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing single parenthood because life doesn’t always turn out as we expected. Raising children alone is simply an incredibly hard job, and I can’t believe that anyone chooses to willingly take that long road. My children never said it out loud, but I know that they longed for a male in their life.
There is no emotional pain similar to your son asking why his father isn’t around. What child wants to have to deal with the fact that one of their parents simply walked out of their lives? As much as I said that I didn’t need a man in our family, I was sadly mistaken.
However, as life does, we moved forward from my previous poor choices and thrived in spite of them. In the last four and a half years, I went back to school and am very close to finishing my Bachelors degree. Also, I obtained a well-paying job in Human Resources that provides a stable future for us. But, perhaps, the most important event of all was September 12, 2007 when I met the man who made those years of struggle worth it.
Without sounding like a cliché, after developing a real friendship that turned into love, he has become the savior of our family. His love makes me honestly accept the lies that I previously told about preferring to be single. He supports my dreams, he encourages me, and he is handsome, intelligent and hilariously funny. He works hard to give us the things that we want in life. He is a good father to his own two boys. Best of all, he loves my children and provides the strong black male figure that they have long needed.
And he wants me to be his wife.
After he proposed marriage in front of my family on Christmas Eve, I am still in awe and shock that I will get to spend the rest of my life with him; not only for myself but largely for my children too.
A few months before he proposed, I heard him tell my youngest son that he loved him and was proud of him. Secretly, I cried about that moment because I know how much that must have meant to my son who has no memory of his biological father.
In a few short months, I will celebrate my 39th birthday, and while it took me a long time to find love, it was worth the wait. We plan to marry later this year, and I have every confidence that our marriage may finally heal old wounds in me and the boys. My sincerest hope is that somewhere down the road, my soon to be husband will be the only father to them that ever mattered.
Our family isn’t so little anymore, and it is finally, truly complete.
What is your family dynamic like? Congrats to Margie on her engagement!!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Margie Bryant of Arkansas, USA. She can be found on Twitter @TheHunnyB.
Photo credit to the author.
I recently made a pretty significant trip by myself with our 7 month old, and the first thing I said to my husband when we got home was, “I have no idea how single moms do it!”. My own mother was a single mom for a time, and I had friends who were children of single parents, so I thought I always had an idea of what it is like. It wasn’t until I had my own child, though, that I realized that I had NO CLUE! I think about how drained I am when my husband spends long days at the office … I mean, I’m completely shattered by the end of the day … I can’t imagine how difficult it would be if there was no reprieve. So, yes, like you said, I can’t imagine how anybody chooses to go it alone, though I know people have their reasons. So, to those who choose to be single parents, and to those who have simply found themselves in that situation – you are AMAZING. And, best wishes to you Margie for a happy and fulfilling marriage!
Thank you for your best wishes! I must admit, I have always had a GREAT deal of support and help from my Mom and Dad. Mainly my Mom. Without her, I honestly don’t know how we would have survived. I always thought that I could do it alone but I realize now how much easier it is to have a partner. A good partner. 🙂
Soooooo excited for you about your engagement!!! These are exciting times for you, and we can’t wait to follow your new journey on the blog!
Thank you! I am probably going to drive ya’ll insane talking about it. I know that my Facebook friends are sick of it already!
Big congrat’s to you!!! How wonderful!!
Thank you, it’s a really exciting time for us; things are just falling in place in both of our lives. Our careers are taking off, our children are doing well and we truly enjoy being in love. He really is my best friend.
Wow Margie! Congratulations on your engagement and finding the man of your dreams. I cannot fathom how difficult it must have been for you as a single mom of two young boys. I feel like at times I can hardly do it with my husband and am so incredibly thankful for having a wonderful father who shared 50-50 the chid raising, love and support. To have this kind of companionship and life partner is amazing. I also think it is fabulous that you have found someone to help fill the black role model for your boys. Growing up biracial is certainly hard at times. We have many biracial families on our block and my best childhood friend (who is white) had an adopted brother who is black and was the only African American boy in our entire school. It was very hard for him and it unfortunately didn’t help that he didn’t have good parents to help him get through it all (unfortunately my friends parents were very extreme on their discipline which has effected her too). Thus, I think it is wonderful that your boys can now get that father figure support. I also have gay friends as well so am not saying that you always need a male and a female. I just think a family unit is wonderful and I am so happy for you!
We live in the deep South (Arkansas) and although we live in the capital city (Little Rock), racism is still alive and kicking. I know it is especially harder on my oldest son, who is fair skinned and green eyed, because people tend to assume he is white. He strives very hard to mantain his identity. I love that my fiance provides them a positive male figure to look to for guidance. I think every child needs that regardless. I agree about the family unit too, I think it’s equally important for a child to see a loving relationship as they grow up.
A beautiful and inspiring post. Congratulations to you on your engagement! I hope you post pictures from your wedding day. – Jennifer
Our wedding will probably be a random weekday afternoon at the Courthouse. With my school schedule and our hectic jobs (I work in HR for a large company and he works for a law firm), I don’t think we will plan any type of wedding. However! I do love to celebrate myself so I am planning a big reception. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words!
Margie, congratulations on something that has been a long time in the making, a family of four! And even more special is the fact that your partner fits the race and gender roles you’ve been wishing for in your sons’ lives. Thanks for sharing your good news.
Actually, we are a family of 6 now; his boys are 19 and 17. I am completely outnumbered! His boys live with their Mother though so we aren’t all crammed under one roof. Thank you for your words, I waited a LONG time to be loved like this and I am enjoying every second!
Okay, I just teared up in public while reading the part about your fiancé telling your son that he loves him. Beautiful. Congrats to all of you!
I teared up as I wrote it! My youngest is the most vocal about the impending marriage. I think he’s excited but scared that something may go wrong. Breaks my heart that he has that sense of abadonment. He sincerely wants to be the “flower boy” though (his words!) Thank you for the congratulations!
Hi Margie, thanks for sharing about your journey as a single mom. I can imagine the challenges you faced and how lonely it must have been at times. But I’m so happy for you that you found the man who not only loves you but your children as well!! Congratulations on your engagement! I pray that life will be more beautiful for you and your family from now on!
That’s one thing that sticks with me the most, I was SO lonely for such a long time. I searched through many vices trying to fill that void. Some of those memories are just to painful to revisit. I appreciate my life in so many ways now!
Congratulations Margie! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. I don’t know what it’s like to be a single mom but I know what it’s like to meet the right person late in life, having married my super awesome husband at 38. I am very happy for all of you!
There’s something wonderful about finding love late in life, perhaps it’s just the appreciation that comes with maturity. I know that I still act like a teenage girl with him though. 🙂
Congratulations!!!! Your post is just so wonderful. I cried, but in that I’m-so-happy-for-you way. Many blessings to you and your lovely family. You deserve all of this happiness 😉