By: Mia L. Hazlett 12/29/11
As 2011 comes to a close, I must determine what needs to stay here in 2011 and what needs to be treated as life lessons to carry forward. In August of 2009 my husband and I separated, leaving the bulk of child-rearing to me over these past two years. The first year there was a sufficient involvement on his part, but in June 2010, I took my girls to Houston, TX. We needed to leave the drama behind and start over. It wasn’t the start I had in mind, but I will share the lessons I learned in 2011 about being a single mom.
1. I’m not a single mom. There have been so many people on this past year’s journey who have stepped in and been there for me and my daughters as we stumbled to find our way. We now have a protective Village, which has formed around us and sustained us in our season of lack. Between my family, my friends, and their teachers, my daughters and I have wanted for nothing. God has truly blessed us with those who have found favor in their hearts for my family. How blessed we are.
2. This is my family. I always had the idea in my head that a family must have a father, mother, and kids. That was a family in my head, basically that was the family I was raised in. It wasn’t until I was driving my daughters across the country to Houston, that I realized in that van was my family. A mother, two girls, and a cat, at least that is the picture my daughter recently drew at school when she was told to draw a picture of her family. It also included her grandparents and her cousins and aunt from Texas. Who am I to tell them that is not their family? So we don’t have their father in the mix, who cares? My family of three, cat in tow, is doing just fine. Thank you Jesus.
3. Kids are smart. I went through a lot this year and at the beginning did my best to shield my children from the reality of what was really going on. But as my bond with my oldest grew and we began to talk more, I realized how much I hadn’t hidden from her. She saw, knew, and comprehended everything that was taking place in our lives. So I learned to be honest with her when she asked me what I deemed “grown” questions. I had to accept that although I wasn’t bringing up the “D” word (divorce) with her, her friends and cousins were already sharing their experiences with her. I guess honesty is the best policy.
4. I need to take care of me too. I’ve experienced such a grueling year and became so focused on making sure my kids had no worries, I neglected myself. When we arrived in Texas, I tucked away the idea of ever having “me time” again. I was all about my daughters and making sure they were adjusting to the changes in our lives. It wasn’t until I returned to Massachusetts that I realized I had to take care of me too. I finally don’t have a problem taking a night out for myself.
5. I love who we’ve become. This year has taught me so much about being a mother and head of my family. A year ago today there was no real direction in our lives and I was leading us so blindly. Today there is such a peace and my eyes are wide open as I guide my family to our Ephesians 3:20. Because if there is anything that I’ve learned throughout 2011 its, Joshua 24:15 …”But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”