By: Mia L. Hazlett
I know I preach so much about “The Village,” but I believe in The Village. I don’t believe there are any single parents out there. If you claim to be a single parent, than I believe you have a pride problem or you take a lot of people for granted in your life. Now don’t get me wrong. I understand there are many people with limited resources and extended families, so you feel like you are alone at times. Why do I get it? I used to be one of those people. I wouldn’t ask anyone for help and wore the superwoman cape, like I was actually accomplishing something. I was only living a frazzled stressed life, and passing it on to my kids, who ended up shuffled through a day.
Screw it! That’s what my life came down to. A marriage that fell apart, unemployment, and now I had two kids to raise. I said, screw it! I called on all the people who said they would be there for me no matter what. You know what I found? They were there for me. They meant what they said. I’m not superwoman. My pride got checked at the door and I asked for help, both financially and emotionally. I’m so happy I did.
You see it allowed me to start, as cliché as it sounds, really enjoying my life as opposed to just living it. My circumstances still do not reflect where I want to be, but I am so much further along spiritually, financially, and emotionally from where I was last year at this time. In the midst of the storm, I am so centered in the eye, that you have to tell me there is still a storm going on at times. It comes down to, once you leave the world of stress and worry, going back is waaaay to uncomfortable. So when I find myself stressing and getting worked up over things, I ask myself, “Can I control what I’m worrying about?” 99% of the time, I can’t, so I let it go.
So last Thursday was one of those days that I found myself reaching for my cape and trying to be one person in three places. I still have the pride factor placed in the wrong places at times. Instead of just being proud of the way I’ve raised my kids, I want to sometimes still play Supermom. I knew my daughter had a softball game and I wasn’t going to miss it. That promise was made to her when she was still in the womb. If she ever played a sport, I was always going to be in the stands cheering her on. It was all planned out, the day was good, but then – the text, “Mommy my art show is tonight. You have to go buy my picture.” What in the damn?!?! Instantly my mind began to race – how? How could I do all of this? Aaahh!!!
I calmed myself down and picked up the phone. I called her father. He actually told me he had her schedule and had planned on going anyways. I gave him directions and felt grateful that most of my anger is gone. There are times when I get a bit upset. But ultimately, I’ve let him choose if he is going to be a good or bad dad. That’s out of my control. I left work and raced home. I made a packed dinner for my youngest and scooped her up. We were in the car within seven minutes of me returning home. We sped to the school and I hustled around the gym to find her picture. I saw a bunch of drawings and then I spotted her name. I loved her drawing. I filled out the little bid, paid the nice lady, and we were off for the game.
We arrived at the field and they were 15 minutes into the game. I didn’t kick myself too much because three hours ago I was at South Station thinking I wouldn’t make it in time. Now I was at the Cape with only 15 minutes lost and her picture in my car. I had made it to two places, but there was a third I couldn’t make. I wouldn’t have been able to get her to the game on time, so I asked my father. I didn’t want to, because my parents are giving their all right now. Me and the girls are living there with them, so they are already taking and picking them up from the bus stop and all the in-between. But I pulled up and my father was at the sidelines watching her game. He stayed for a little while with us and then left.
It was at that moment that he was walking to his car, that I’m glad I kept my promise to never miss a game. She hadn’t seen me and her sister arrive. The only thing she was watching instead of keeping her mind on the game, was her grandfather leaving. She kept looking over at him, and then she looked over at all of the parents at the fence, I gave her a smile and wave. The anxiety left her face and she crouched down, awaiting the ground ball. I looked beyond her as she raced into the field to chase a ball that had gotten past her and saw her father, grandmother, and cousin step out of his truck. We all stood by that fence and cheered her on for the rest of the game.
That day is what family is to me. No matter what the level of dysfunction that exists, you should always be able to pull it together for those who have nothing to do with it. Kids don’t ask to be brought into this world. My kids had nothing to do with our separation. But the one thing my little girl deserved that day, was to have her family on the sidelines cheering her on.