Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned
Last week I found myself wondering how to deal with an electric bill that was overdue, a dead tree in the back yard that needs to be removed before it lands on a neighbor’s house, college tuition that I miscalculated, a funny noise under the hood of my van, a cat that needs to have oral surgery, and a bank account with a balance of less than $100. Did I mention that my oldest daughter has moved back home because the job market in Virginia has nose-dived?

I was not sure how I was going to cope with all of these problems at once, and I was quite ready to pull out my hair in handfuls.

I cannot tell you that I have even the majority of them resolved at this time. I made payment arrangements for the electric bill. My homeowner’s insurance will cover the removal of the tree, though I still must find a reputable, yet affordable tree removal service. The college tuition will have to be paid. The van is still making that noise. And my bank account is still less than $100.

My situation is little better in reality, but for some reason I am feeling better emotionally. Why?

The only explanation that makes sense is that I have realized, once again, that I will survive. Think about it – there is very little in life which we will not survive. We may think that our current circumstances are more than we can handle, but generally we, as human beings, do manage to survive an awful lot of trouble.

We are resilient, adaptable, resourceful, strong – both physically and mentally, and we are greatly inventive, which may be one of our strongest suits.

How does this equate to single parent issues? Simple. Single parents have to be the most creative, resilient, adaptable individuals in existence. Being both mother and father, nurturer and disciplinarian, confidante and “enemy”, single parents have the weight of the world – and the worlds of their children – on their shoulders. And yet they trudge forward, day after day, with success in mind.

When I get frustrated because my oldest daughter will not give up hope on another human being, I must remind myself that her tenacity came from my determination not to give up when we were dealing with her dyslexia and depression.

When I listen to her creative thoughts on stretching the grocery budget, I must remember that she has watched her mother on many occasions stretch a budget and get creative in a variety of situations where money was needed and none was available.

When I witness my younger daughter’s determination to succeed, I am reminded that she understood the sacrifices I made to work and go to school so that I could succeed for all three of us.

So while I may have less than $100 in the bank this week, and my next paycheck may already be spent, I know that I possess a wealth that cannot possibly be replaced. It is found in my daughters, my family, my outlook, my determination, the practical gifts I pass to my children, and my love of life.
It is that love of life that keeps me moving forward when the days get hard and the circumstances seem insurmountable. It is during these times that I am reminded that the only true failure is when we give up and the loss of opportunity in this life only comes when we take our last breath.

Regardless of your situation, if you are able to read these words, then you have hope. Hold on to it and remember that you have the strength to continue to move forward – for both yourself and your children.

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