From One to Another: A Letter to the Children of a Hardworking Single Mom

12 May

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Grow Up.

It’s not too much to ask, is it?

That you step up, take some responsibility for your life, and take some of the burden off your mom’s shoulders?  

I get it, it’s tough. I know your heart is broken; I see the holes left behind when your father isn’t there. I see the anger and humiliation you feel as you watch your mom suffering, see her struggling to make ends meet and to satisfy all your needs and hers beside.  I know that you resent the world for not helping, for not stepping in and lifting you and your family up. That you are confused, because on the one hand you want so much more for her and your family, but that feels like a betrayal to the mother who is already doing so much.

It feels so unfair and it makes you so angry and sad that you don’t know whether to rage or cry. You just want to let everyone know how upset you are, but you know that honestly, no one really cares.

 It doesn’t matter if you’ve never met the man or if you’ve lived with him for years. Neither do any of the other excuses people try to give for why your heart shouldn’t be this shattered.  In your brain, you get it–it’s not your fault. Your heart is less easy to convince, too cluttered by embarrassment, excuses, and defenses.  

And even if it isn’t your fault, why didn’t you and your mom deserve better? Why were you the ones fate chose to leave stranded and abandoned? Why do some people have lives so rosy and cheery, and yours is nothing but a struggle and an effort to break even? Every day you go to school, to church, to the grocery store, to the group meetings – and it makes you so angry all over again. Why is their life so easy when your mom’s life is so hard?

I know that you love your mother; that your anger and sadness are never meant to damage her. That even if she’s the one who gets the brunt of it all, you’re angry for her not at her.  You see how hard she works for you and your family, and you know she deserves better. But that just makes you all the angrier and sadder. How dare he? How dare the world ignore and mock your pain with easy platitudes and constant excuses?

And I understand why you are driven for approval from others; regardless of how low of character they themselves might be. 

That need for people to accept  you, because each person that offers approval is one more person proving your father wrong.  It’s one more person you can shove in his face, the world’s face, to say “SEE! I am worth more than this . . . I deserved better!”

No matter how much you deny it – there is always an unceasing, burning rage at the unfairness of life, the ignorance of those around you who just don’t get it!  It keeps stirring up in there, and sometimes you just want to SCREAM at them all until he comes crawling back to you begging for forgiveness.  

And You’re right.

It’s not fair.

It’s not just.

You were wronged, and you do deserve better.

It’s not okay, and there is nothing anyone will ever do to make it completely okay for you again.

Life Sucks.

So stop. Right now, just stop what you’re doing and scream. Cry. Yell at the world all the angry things you ever wanted to tell it.  Stomp your feet. Break things. Beat the wall as much as you want – I don’t care if you bloody your knuckles on the dam*ed thing, get it all out.  You have been wronged and you have the right to let everyone know just how horrible and furious it makes you feel. Even better, write an email to your actual father and tell him all of that. He deserves to hear it, and, speaking from experience, it will do you good to tell him.

Done?

Now Grow Up.

Get over it.  

Stop letting this be an excuse for wasting your life. 

So you were wronged? Good. Now, take that anger, that sadness, that power and let it motivate you to become better than anyone would have ever expected.  

Don’t you dare. Don’t you DARE let this be an excuse for failing, for throwing it all away.  I watch so many use their past as an excuse for drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. I watch women falling all over one man after the other, losing their souls, futures, and pride for the chance of just one sign of affirmation. Men using and throwing away woman after woman in a stupid pursuit to one-up their father in despicable behavior.  

Dropping out of schools, refusing to try. Never aiming at further than a McDonald’s job at minimum wage or sex with a baby mama/daddy who so graciously deigned to find them satisfactory.  So frantic for even a semi-affirmational relationship, they’d do anything to get it.  Ending up in abusive marital or employment situations, or becoming the abusers themselves. Either letting people walk all over you or taking your rage out on others in violent, vicious, cruel ways. Joining other groups of wasted, angry, resentful people who have the same low aims and are all to willing to give you more excuses for your lack of maturity.   Becoming lazy, worthless people reflecting your worthless views of yourselves. 

You take the stupid hand fate dealt us and instead of refusing it and casting it off, you embrace it as your own, using it like a banner to be waved about proudly. 

Do you know that at this time, most of the fatherless children in my town are the children of fatherless children?  Why do we keep this cycle going?!?

It’s just so stupid!

So let the cycle stop here.

Grow Up

Man up. Woman up. Whatever. No more excuses, no more wallowing in something that was just a crappy toss of fate’s dice.  

Life sucks for a lot of people. So what.

My advice – get over looking for a father to make the world better for your family and do it yourself.

We have more to prove, so prove it!

Grow up.

Fatherless children should be the best, the most diligent and hard-working, the most successful young adults because they know exactly how important that is to uplifting their mothers.  If you are a fatherless child, and you make you mother’s life one moment more difficult than it has to be, you should be ashamed of your self!  

Mother’s are a beautiful thing. Gracious. Kind beyond measure. Sacrificing. Hard-working. Other’s-focused.  If you can’t be a better person for yourself; do it for her.

Drop the lazy, addictive behaviors. 

Get out of the drugs, the gangs,, the alcohol, the smoking, the gambling, the overeating/under-eating.  

Be home on time. Stop running around all night leaving her worrying. 

Help out around the house – don’t leave her with all the chores and housework. Do your part to make life easier for her.  Do the shopping, carry the bags in for her, put things away. Help with your siblings.  Yes boys, I mean you too. 

Get a job – even small part time jobs while in school, just contribute financially to the family.  And continue to do so as long as you live.  She’s earned every bit of your support.  

Drop the stupid cuss words and foul language — it’s not as cool as you think it is.  And don’t you ever speak to her with disrespect or rudeness. She will never deserve less than the utmost politeness and respect out of you.  She works her ass off for you, acknowledge it by honoring her always.

Stop the teenage/twenties angsting, ain’t nobody got time for that in our families.  Some kids are fortunate enough to have time to go through the defiant teens, but we aren’t some of them.  We have moms and siblings to support. A world to amaze. Life to grab. Success and futures to obtain.  

Do you have a brain?  Then use it.  You don’t have to be the brightest brick in the shed, just don’t make grades that leave your mother in tears.  

And treat the rest of the world with the same maturity and respect.  Your father was a loser? You don’t have to be like him! 

Respect the elderly; help out when they need a helping hand.  Be kind to children and don’t ever abuse their trust. Work hard for your bosses, be diligent at your job, put everything you have into being the best that you can be. 

Fate tried to make you worthless, prove it wrong. Be worth something. Be a real adult.  

I’m going to be real frank right here.  Fatherless children are some of the biggest sources of stupidity, useless behaviors and lives in the world. Check out the city slums and thugged up brother- and sister-hoods.  The criminals, the drug-addicts/dealers, the alcoholics, the obese and anorexics, the jobless, the unmarried parents.  We make up the vast majority.  And we’ve been wrong there.  We screwed up.  We let the bad lots we were thrown dictate how we lived our lives, and in turn we’ve made the world a worse place because of it.  We got so angry at the world that we trashed it up with bad behavior and worthless living. And we are breaking our mother’s hearts in the process.

Aren’t we better than this?  Don’t we deserve better than this kind of life?

Grow up

I’m writing this to tell you, we can do better.  I was one of the fatherless kids, the sad and bitter daughter of a worthless man.  But I grew up.  I finished high school two years ahead of my classmates. I graduated from college with two degrees in four years. I have a PhD by the age of 25, and I have a solid, reputable job as a college professor. I have good grades and a good reputation.  I make decent money.  I have a nice apartment. I get to travel the world.  I have many, many friends with people from all levels of society, and they are actually good, affirmative, uplifting relationships.  I don’t throw myself at every man I meet because I know that I am worth something. Any man who tries to abuse or use me learns real fast that it doesn’t work on me.  I deserve the best because I work hard to be one of the best. And I refuse to accept anything less.  I already got screwed in the father category; I will not let life screw me anywhere else if I can help it.  I love feeling like my life means something and that I am contributing to making the world better for my children and my mother.  

And I’m just one of many. There are so many others out there.  People who have done far better; become way more successful. People who moved past their circumstances, past the life they were given and became something better. Something the world could look up to instead of down upon.

Now, when people see our moms, they should see that they have mature, adult children. Ones who do their best to make the mother’s life the best that it can be.  Ones who are polite and respectful. One who volunteer in the community and are examples of good citizens.  Ones who know that “coolness” is just a worthless word, as easily lost as it is gained. One who recognize that standing out as leaders later is much better than fitting in with the lower crowds now.  

We deserve better.

We can be better.

We should be better.

So Grow Up, And Become Better.

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