Saturday, November 17, 2012

Standing Strong During The Hardest Season of the Year

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"Tree in Town Square," December 4, 1948
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I was reading through my blog roll this morning, and ran across one that brought up some old memories. 

Not Consumed has up some ideas about Christmas from the single parent's view. 

And the memories flood back.

It wasn't overly long ago when I was a single mom raising a special needs child with lots of medical problems.  Looking back it seems like a lifetime ago, another world, different people.  In a sense it is--life has changed, times changed, and so have the people involved.

I remember my first Christmas out on my own with Mr. Kevin.  He hadn't quite yet turned 2.  He didn't adapt well to the new little bitty apartment, mom having to work a lot and him having to go to a babysitter, and not being near his dad.  He didn't understand that dad had abused mom, and there was no way we could ever be a "family" again. 

Our first Christmas on our own, it was most definitely not a picturesque moment.  My tree was a tiny 2 ft or so one, barely decorated, and had few presents under it.  I saved and scrimped to buy a dancing Elmo for Mr. Kevin, he'd loved it so much in the stores that I wanted him to have one. 

I felt so empty that year.  I was a new Christian, but not really into the bible much yet.  I'd seen some miracles happen, and I do mean things that no one man could do, only God could do.  But my heart was empty.  I was alone.  My father had passed 2 years before, my mother had passed just the month before, I had family but didn't want to bother them, and was working trying to keep myself and Mr. Kevin afloat.  Surviving. 

It was coooold that winter as well.  Icy, cold, snowy, and I had to make it across the city to houses to provide in home care, face the icy streets with child in tow to the babysitter's house in order to go to various homes in order to do patient care.  I so deep down wanted to stay at home and snuggle up next to my little toddler. 

We made it through that lonely time, and things got better as the years passed.  I eventually married and have 3 children and a hubby at home to enjoy the Christmas season with.  But those years as a single mom were hard, especially during the holidays, when people chatted about what they were buying for their kids and spouses, holiday parties were going on, and I always felt on the outside, at the edges, looking in. 

This is a hard season for folks struggling with all kinds of issues.  What is supposed to be a season of happiness turns to a season of depression and loneliness. 

It doesn't have to be that way.

If you're a single parent, don't hide away in the house and refrain from family adventures.  Take the kids and go touring the city looking at the lights all over houses and decorations.  Take time and make cookies, even if it's the cold dough ones from the refrigerated section at the grocery store.  Spend time together and read the nativity story in the bible.  Make memories that will last well beyond the season. 

If you have a friend who is a single mom, offer to babysit for a while so she can go to spend time with other adults.  Offer to have her and her children over for a meal and activities.  Make her feel important again, loved, needed.  A night of playing a board game or watching a dvd with others goes farther than one would think.  All it costs is a bowl of popcorn and a little time.

Don't forget the single parents around you this time of year.  God loves the single mom too...just as much as He loves you.

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