To all the single mommies graduating this semester, exhale. You made it.
I know it was hard. As. Hell.
But you did it.
All of the times you’ve rushed back and forth between classes, wondering if you remembered to put the baby’s lunch in their backpack before you two took off, or if it’s still sitting on the kitchen counter next to the assignment you stayed up all night doing.
Those all-nighters can leave one a little delusional.
Thank goodness your professor was cool. He said you could just email it to him when you got home.
He remembers the times you visited during his office hours, trying to suppress your tears while you asked him to further explain previous assignments.
“Do you have any help?”
He knew your predicament. You didn’t have much help, but you’d be fine.
No time for excuses.
What about the times you had to deal with those group projects?
Having to listen to your group members complain that meeting outside of class meant they had to cancel dinner plans with their friends, or find someone to cover their shift at work. They were going to have to miss the Alabama Shakes show!
And they were so tired.
You were desperately scrambling to find someone you could trust to watch the baby for an hour or two, thoughts racing to figure out what she would eat for dinner (since you’d spent your last dollar on making sure you contributed to her school’s fundraiser). You wondered if she’d get to bed on time (or connive her way into staying up late because The Enforcer wasn’t there).
What if she was crying hysterically because you weren’t there and she was sick of having to “hang out” for a “little bit”… and did you send enough coloring books and puzzles to keep her busy?
What about the times she was sick and you had to miss the test you’d been preparing for, for weeks? Of course the doctor can squeeze you in, she’ll see you at 11 a.m. ...the same time as your exam.
Who could forget about your boss? She tried her best to cover for you. Really, she did. Even she (whose best friend is also a single mom so she totally gets it) was starting to grow weary of the number times you’d been late or had to cut out early.
But you were the only one who could make it to your kid’s spring performance. And you had record to it and send it to your family.
They’re so proud of you, both of you.
I’m sure you won’t forget the times you had to bring her to your night classes because you couldn’t afford a sitter that week, apologetic every time she burst into giggles or screamed she was hungry or sleepy.
Good thing your classmates had nieces/nephews so they knew what it was like.
Some of them even had their own, the kids were home with their spouse.
What about you? The breakfast-less mornings, your tattered mismatched socks and the hat you tugged over your head to mask the bird’s nest you had to neglect for days at a time as you two flew through the door?
You breathed sacrifice more times than you can recall.
No need to downplay the time you set your alarm early, just so you’d have 30 seconds of silence before the mayhem began. Or the mornings you locked yourself in the bathroom to stare in the mirror, pleading to make it through another 24 hours.
And those sleepless nights? Girl.
You couldn’t possibly forget about all the rolls of toilet paper you went through, crying rivers as you watched your baby sleep soundlessly on the bed you two shared.
Your tears wrinkled the pages of the textbook you had propped open on your lap, several more strewn across the floor. Your computer screen provided the only light in the room so you didn’t have to disturb her sweet dreams.
You thought over and over: “Is it worth it? Will it end?”
Of course it would.
Thankfully, all the nights you spent contemplating if you’d have the strength to get up and make it through another day, were met with countless other moments filled with encouragement:
- When your baby ran up to kiss you on the cheek for no reason.
- When someone bought you groceries just because, not knowing you only had enough food for your kid that night.
- Some of the girls from your Business Models class were hanging out at the park and took the baby along so you could rest.
- Free coffee from the on-campus café? Yes please! The baristas remembered when you had to drag the baby in there to finish up an assignment because the Wi-Fi in your room didn’t work some nights.
- The life-giving phone conversations you had with your mom when you were at the end of your rope. She always reminded you why you couldn’t give up.
- When other students brought a book they thought she’d love to look through, or some Play-Doh they had left over from a Chemistry assignment.
- Or the one student who let her spend the whole class watching YouTube on their phone because you forgot yours underneath the pile of laundry weighing your bed to the floor.
They sacrificed Snapchat and IG scrolls, for you?
YES, Getting through the past years with another life/lives to care for and nurture nearly took you out.
But. It. Didn’t.
And you and your child are much stronger because of it.
They may miss skipping across campus, playing on the ginormous Macs in the computer labs, and high-fiving random students as they passed by on their way to class.
Or the time they got a lollipop from the lady in the financial aid office, or pigged out at one of the end-of-the-semester potlucks.
You beautiful, RESILIENT creator of life, would you have had it any other way?
You made it through. Go ahead, exhale.