It was never my intention to be a single mom. Christian was in diapers when that happened, he had just turned two. He was sleeping in a pack-n-play because he was still really little and because I couldn’t afford a toddler bed. Hannah was four. She hadn’t started Pre-School yet and I can still remember her asking when we were going home. I was 27. Talk about being in over my head. I had no job, no money saved, no idea what in the world we were going to do. The anxiety was overwhelming.
When I think about it now, I think we managed those tougher times because I never believed I couldn’t take care of my kids. There’s not a day that has ever gone by that I thought I wasn’t the best person for the job. Even on the worst of the worst days, I knew I would figure out a way. And even though I always had larger than life dreams, I understood that if I could make it through today then I can make it through tomorrow. And if I can make it through tomorrow, they day after that will be okay too. But talk about how many changes we’ve seen. How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we ate because peanut butter and jelly are cheap. How many times rent was a week late. Or how many hand-me-downs I was secretly relieved to accept because new clothes just weren’t in the budget.
So many uncertainties, anxieties, and fears have seen the light of day, but have yet to define us. Oh, but they have their moments. Just this past weekend the kids and I went to Kalahari for the day with three other families. We had a ton of fun swimming in the hot tub, going down a few water slides, and floating along the lazy river. It’s been a couple of years since we went to an indoor water park and I forgot how exciting the atmosphere is. For nearly eight hours we escaped reality. To say we were tired by the time we started driving home would be an understatement.
Thankfully the kids quickly fell asleep but before they did Hannah asked in an I-already-know-the-answer tone, “Do you ever wish you were married?”
It was as if she could tell how challenging outings can be. Like she could see how disappointed I felt when I had to make them choose between playing a few games in the arcade or getting ice cream because doing both is too much money. Or trying to carry everyone’s jackets and bags and then finding my keys and finding the car and making sure nobody gets run over in the parking lot. Maybe it’s the sigh of relief I let out once we all get settled into the car and she can tell that it might be easier if someone else was with us. I’m not sure why she asked, but I can tell you it made the car ride home a bit somber for me.
I never wanted any of that for my kids. I still wish that wasn’t part of their story. I wish it was easier. I wish I wasn’t stressed as much as I am. I wish they could see I really am trying. Maybe they can. Maybe these are those insecurities trying to define me again. Maybe they know the truth. Because every morning I wake up to a little boy who tells me how much he loves me. And I go to bed with two kids who have requested to be tickled again and again and again. I wake up to hugs and smiles and Legos and a little voice excited to start our day. I go to bed knowing that Hannah read us a story out loud while I laid in Christian’s bed with him. I wake up reminded that I am enough. I go to bed reminded that I am enough. In those moments, my fears of inadequacy and failure are nonexistent and it really feels like Love is enough. That I am enough. That the road we are on is enough.
Happy Valentine’s Days, my friends! Hope you have a wonderful day and I hope you know that you are enough!