Are you a mom? A dad? Or a mom and dad in one?
Do you have a backbone of steel and a heart of gold?
Being a single mother and raising a child alone, far from you is one of the hardest things in this world. If you are a single parent, especially a mom, you can relate so much, (sorry single dads, it’s not that you can’t relate, but it’s a mom’s thing). Many people believe that being a single parent is a life struggle, but I believe otherwise. Being a single mom is a journey to discover your strength. It is a journey for the strong.
Single mother has a backbone of steel and a heart of gold that can endure anything in this world, especially for her child. Is there anything you would not do for your child?
Why I Became a Single Mom
I am an Islander, born in a beautiful paradise called Sicogon Island in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. This is my story on why I became a single mom and acquired a backbone of steel and a heart of gold.
College life was difficult, and although I had scholarship, I had trouble finishing my first college attempt. It was not easy to study with 100 pesos ($2) allowance weekly, a kilo of rice and a kilo of dried fish. I decided to stop after taking the first 2 years of college, as I wanted to help out my parents by looking for a job. What kind of job? I wasn’t sure.
I went to my uncle who was living in the neighboring city and I was offered a great opportunity. His wife was working as a secretary in the head office of Avon and her boss was looking for 10 employees to send to Japan. My aunt introduced me to her and I was one of the lucky 10.
I went back home excited to tell my parents the great news and asked for their permission. Unfortunately, my parents did not give me their blessings, as they were afraid and worried, knowing Japan is far away.
They can’t bare the feeling that their 18 years old, youngest child is leaving them and going to the foreign land. Because of my frustrations, instead of understanding their intentions and feelings, I left home mad at my parents for not letting me grab that opportunity. After a year, I came back home pregnant and my life changed drastically.
Hard Life Pushes You to the Edge
At the age of 19 I gave birth to a baby girl whom I called “Sweet”, and went from being an undergrad student to being a parent. What did I know about life? I am still a child but now I'm supposed to raise a child? What am I supposed to do? Where would I get the money to buy for her everyday needs? How am I going to raise my child? These are the questions I asked myself when I gave birth to my daughter.
I have to leave again and look for a job, but I could not imagine being away from her while she was growing up. The thought of leaving her devastated me. However, hard life pushes you to the edge where you are left with no choice but to leave.
I left her with my parents before she turned 2 years old to find a job to support her. That day broke both mine and my daughter’s heart. The last words she heard from me that day were, "Goodbye Sweet". Words that left a scar in my heart. I can hear my daughter crying while calling "mama, mama" while the boat is leaving from the shore.
My daughter remembers those words. She would look at the shore every time there was a boat and hope that I would show up. She would cry and say "goodbye sweet" every time she realized there was no me. Every day she waited for me to come home and put her to sleep, laying on my chest in the hammock. Just like the way I used to put her to sleep, before I left her. It took a few years before it happened again.
She Fills Up the Emptiness in My Heart
I missed everything. I missed her first day in school, and every first thing that happened to her while growing up.
She often asked her grandma, why she don’t have a mother to take her to school like other kids? Why she doesn’t have a mother to help her with her homework? Why is there only a grandma? Why mom can't be with her?
Those were the questions that always broke my heart whenever I spoke to my mother over the phone. I wanted to be with her and wanted to do everything that she asked for, but how? I can't have both at that time.
Sometimes I asked myself: "Am I a good mother doing the right thing for my child?" "Am I fulfilling mom's duties?" I feared that my daughter would hate me for not being with her.
I hustled a lot, juggled jobs and got back to study hoping to find a better job after I graduate. I was trying really hard to save enough money to make it home once a year to be with her. Going home once a year and being with her for a few days was not enough.
However, I treasured every moment that I shared with her. Seeing her smile, hearing her laughter, and feeling her hugs and kisses made me forget all the missing days I was not there for her. She fills up the emptiness in my heart made by those missing years I was not around.
Seeing Her in Silent Tears Broke My Heart
Leaving her got harder every time, but I couldn’t lose my job either. So I pushed more, and hustled more ‘til I landed a better job. That allowed me the opportunity to be able to bring my daughter with me and try to fulfill mom's duties.
When that time came that I can have both, my daughter and my job, my daughter did not want to live with me. She wouldn't want to stay without her grandparents, especially her grandma. But I insisted that she should live with me.
After my vacation to the Island I brought her back with me so that we can be together and I can be a mom to her. But I guess I was 7 years late. I can’t get back my daughter’s love and affection towards me as her mom. She knows I’m her mom, but she also knows that I wasn’t there for her. Every night my daughter would cry silently. Have I failed at duties of a mom?
Seeing her in silent tears broke my heart. I couldn't let my daughter suffer again because I was being selfish and wanted her to be with me.
She wanted to be with me but she wanted to be more with her grandparents. So, I called my mom to come over from the island and be with my daughter for a while. Maybe she would get used to me that way. My mom came but she couldn't stay long because she also couldn’t leave my father for long. They went back to the Island and I was left alone again, without my daughter. It was a torment, but I would rather despair than see my daughter in misery.
To all mothers, and also fathers who are fulfilling mom’s duties, let me ask you this: Are you willing to do the impossible for your child?
Anyone can have a child and call themselves a parent. But a real parent is someone who will put that child above their selfish needs and wants. Being a single mother is learning about the strengths you didn’t know you had. Completing duties of a mother with a backbone of steel, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed with the heart of gold.
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