She toted her young daughter along with her to appointment after appointment. She filled out form after form.
She planned out shopping trips diligently and divided up the food stamps to ensure they lasted as long as possible. Her pantry was modestly filled with only the essentials.
She kept track of the bus schedule—it was her lifeline. Public transportation helped get her to work, to school, to all her appointments, to the grocery store, and back home to her daughter.
She usually got home late, and it broke her heart to miss so much of her daughter’s day. She admired her daughter, so little and already so independent. She knew that by the time she got home chores and homework would already be completed.
She lay in bed, exhausted. Her little girl curled up next to her, and they soaked each other in, trying to absorb as much love from one another in the little time they had.
She might not have realized it, but her daughter watched her every move.
She didn’t know her daughter was motivated to work hard in school because she saw her mom studying late and wanted to emulate her dedication.
She didn’t know her daughter completed all her chores every day because she saw how hard her mom worked at keeping a nice home for them.
She didn’t know her daughter wanted to excel at everything because she had a mom who seemed to be able to handle it all.
She didn’t know her daughter never felt like she was missing out on anything, and she thought she was the luckiest of all the girls because she had her for a mom. She sure hoped that was the case, though.
What she did know was her daughter deserved a good life, and she would work as hard as she needed to. She would make sure one day all their dreams would come true.
Her daughter had been the inspiration for her to leave an abusive relationship where she hadn’t had the courage before. Her daughter had reminded her she was strong and able to accomplish whatever she set her mind to. When she felt tired and unable to go on, all she had to do was to look into her daughter’s eyes and she’d find the strength to keep going. She loved her daughter’s eyes, so dark brown they looked almost black and always sparkling. She would tell her daughter the sparkle in her eyes was special, just like she was.
One especially long day, after sitting for hours in the waiting room of another appointment to ensure they would continue to receive assistance, she noticed her daughter was especially pensive. Her daughter turned to her, and she saw those big, brown eyes filled with worry.
“Mom?” her daughter asked, “you do a lot, and I just don’t know if I’ll remember everything you do. When I’m older and have my kids, would you help me remember all the places I need to go to ask for help?”
She felt her heart shatter into a million pieces. This is not the life she wanted for her daughter. She swallowed hard and felt a tight, painful knot in her throat. “No, I won’t,” she said, and she crouched down to face her daughter. “When you’re older and you have your own kids, you won’t need any help like this.” And with those few words, she delivered peace to her daughter. Her daughter believed every word she spoke.
She was right, too.
Her daughter grew up and had a family of her own, for which she is able to provide plentifully. Her daughter grew up with big dreams and lofty goals, and she works hard for them every day. All because she had a mom who showed her what it meant to have a strong work ethic and made her believe she could accomplish anything she set her mind to.
As a single mom, she taught her daughter some invaluable life lessons. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes just by being. That is the power of single moms—in their fight for survival, in their quest for success, they are imparting wisdom to the children they are raising. A single parent who is able to overcome obstacles and succeed against all odds is one of the greatest role models a child could have.
Single mom, when the days get hard and it feels like the work will never end, just remember, little eyes are watching with love and admiration.