Have you ever felt like collapsing from sheer exhaustion? Have you ever felt pummeled by harsh, unsolicited, opinions? Well, I have. There are occasions when I feel like I could just lie down and give up. There are times when all my might feels as though it’s been kicked out of me; a spineless jelly fish and no back bone with which to stand.
And, just when I feel like throwing in the towel, a small voice comes to me and gives me the strength I need, at the perfect moment, to keep on keepin’ on. This is the voice of a child, my child.
On one occasion – I’ll never forget it – he and I were at a festival. We had our book, which we co-authored, on display, “Pep Stephen, I Live with My Mom”. We were selling and signing that day. The book is about a young boy, who lives in a single-parent home. It’s the very book that is shown on the bottom of this webpage.
Anyway, a married couple walked up to our table. Colby was sitting behind the table and I was standing in front of it with my back turned to him. I handed the gentleman a book to look at; he glanced at the front cover, and then he asked, “Do you condone this sort of thing?” I was a bit taken back.
I didn’t really know what he meant, so I responded, “Well, I’m hoping this book helps a lot of kids in single-parent homes.” “No, I mean do you condone kids being in single-parent homes? Blank-Blank always fights against this sort of thing on her talk show, dead beat dads, and here you are condoning it.”
Gulp! First, I don’t watch her talk show; I work all day. And second, I don’t condone, nor do I condemn children being in single-parent homes.
“There are many reasons why children end up in single-parent homes. I have a friend who lost her spouse due to illness, now her daughter is in a single-parent home,” I responded.
“Oh no, that’s not what I mean,” as he rolled his eyes. He was being extremely negative and confrontational, and all I wanted to do was reason with him. His wife snuck in a jab here and there, but not as offensively as her husband.
“There are all different ways to become a single parent. No matter how you get there, it is still difficult. My book is NOT about the father who does not support his child. This book is for children who are growing up with one parent. It is meant to encourage them and teach them that they can be achievers no matter what the circumstance. “
They continued to refute me. The more they spoke, the more drained I became; nonetheless, I tried to explain, “I don’t agree with dads not taking care of their children, but I will address those issues in my next book, which I am currently working on right now.”
“Okay, they said, “We will be sure to follow you.” Finally, before walking away, the wife blurted out, “This coming from two people who don’t have any children.”
Wow, they were quick to jump all over me, but they have no children of their own. When they walked away, life was sucked out of me, my enthusiasm was crushed, and I was left wondering if my efforts in writing this children’s book was pointless. Did I do the right thing? Is this a bad topic? All these doubts were racing through my mind. I wanted to just crawl under the table behind me. I stood there, still frozen, seconds after they left. I could not even turn around. All of a sudden, I heard a soft, but strong, voice behind me. “I love you, Mommy.” As if to say, we are fine and you’re doing great… just keep going.
For such a small voice, it sure packed a lot of power. My posture changed from hunched to erect. It felt as though someone infused confidence back into my spirit. I was able to hold my head up again. My nine year old –at the time – heard the entire ordeal and knew I was hurting. He knew just what to say to fix my broken spirit.
On another occasion, I was talking to my older daughter. I said, “Sometimes I just feel like I’m all alone.” My young son overheard and from across the room, yelled, “I’m here, Mommy.”
This happens over and over again; not so frequently that it becomes expected or un-inspiring. It happens when perfectly needed, like a shooting star. It doesn’t happen often, but when you see one, it takes your breath away.
The reinforcement that our children give us is incredible. They can sense when we are hurting emotionally, or when our spirit is low. They often say just the right thing at the right moment, or give us a big hug or a kiss on the cheek when we need it most. It’s amazing. They are our strength.
Your children have your back.
Written by Alice Monterio