• From Us Parenting

    Dear Single Mama: A Letter from Your Daughter

    Dear Mama,

    I want to start off by telling you that I love you. And that I’m OK, better than OK really. I’ve grown up to be a fiercely feminist, loving, resourceful, and strong but emotionally connected woman; and I learned it all from you.

    Together we faced the world, mama. And I know that it wasn’t always easy. Or kind. I know that you worried about me, every single day. You worried that I was exposed to too many “grown-up” worries too early. You worried that you couldn’t keep a close enough eye on me alone, that I’d get into trouble.

    And I did. Not huge trouble because you were a detective. But we’ll get back to that another time…

    Throughout my childhood, I remember failed relationships: dating, marriages, and friendships. Sometimes I was disappointed. Like really disappointed. I’d fall in love with these guys just like you would. I know you were careful. I couldn’t meet them until you were sure they’d passed your standards. And I was always safe. So I thank you for that. But you couldn’t control their actions. And those relationships eventually fell through. They cheated, they lied, they chose to be single; they were dumb. And I was watching.

    So, I’m going to be real here. Mama, you tried to shield me from the pain. But sometimes I heard you crying; I could hear arguments through the walls of our apartments. And I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for you to try to hide your disappointment from me time and time again. After all, you couldn’t put your life on hold for 18 years, and you deserved to find romantic love. You deserved better.

    I bet you never expected that while I was watching you learn some really difficult life lessons, I was learning them as well. So thank you. You included me in your life, in all of it. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

    1. How to spot a scrub

    By the time I was dating age, I’d witnessed lots of dating experiences, and while I didn’t get it quite right on the first try (as you are aware), I was able to avoid a lot of heartbreak by avoiding bad boy and player types. I already knew the ending to that story.

    2. How to budget

    Being your daughter meant that sometimes money was tight. You taught me to thrift, DIY, and shop sales like no one else I know! And also how to buckle down and think critically about money. I’m so thankful for this.

    3. How to be independent

    Even now that I’m married, I know how to be independent. I hope that I’ll never have to be as strong and fierce as you were as a single mama, but I know that if that time ever does come, I have it in me. Because I’m your daughter.

    4.The value of time.

    Mama, you worked your butt off to get me the nicest gifts and clothes at every occasion. And I appreciate it. But what I remember most is the time and experiences we spent together. Our 2-person family was enough. And now that you’ve grown our family to include additional siblings and an amazing husband, I am looking forward to even bigger, more joyful celebrations and experiences together.


    Thank you for always putting me first; but for not giving up your life entirely for me. I couldn’t understand at times why you needed anything outside of our family of 2, and that must have been difficult for you to reconcile too.

    I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for all that you invested in me, for all that you taught me, and for being there for me when my father chose not to be. I’m so glad you took me along for the ride. From every up and down, I learned. You shared your life with me, and it was beautiful. It was ours.

     

    I can only hope to be half the mama you were, to my own daughter, and I promise to do my best to live a complete life outside of parenting. I’ll take time for myself. I’ll date my spouse. And I’ll be vulnerable with her, showing her that mamas are human too.

     

    I love you from the bottom of my heart; te quiero mucho,

    Desiree

     

     

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