by Karen Rose
Just when I think I’ve overcome the guilt of being a single mother, my child becomes an adult. I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel seeing Facebook posts of my daughter’s friends being dropped off at their selected universities with their parents proudly standing next to them in their wonderfully decorated Pottery Barn dorm rooms. I want to be happy for them – and I am. But I’m also choked up at my inability to contribute to my child’s higher education, or little else that requires a high financial investment.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with community college. I attended a community college and finished university with a Master’s Degree, but that was almost 30 years ago, and I was able to pay my tuition with a part-time job.
Then there are photos of my friend’s teenagers proudly showing off their newly straightened teeth after getting their braces removed, and photos from study abroad trips to Europe, and I know I’ll never afford to give my daughter those things.
Me with my 19 year old daughter, Kat
I’m proud my child is hard-working and independent – qualities gained from having to keep her own head above water and tread like hell. She never complains about having to share a one-bedroom apartment with me, or walk to work because I need to take the car.
She comes home with groceries on payday, and helps with gas and electricity. She’s not a pregnant, drug-addict like some politicians claim children of single mothers are destined to become. She’s smart, hard-working, and appreciative.
Now 19, she’ll be leaving our home in Hawaii for the east coast to dance, act and try her hand at big city life. Did I mention she is independent? She’s also fearless and adventurous–most likely because growing up with a single parent is usually inherently unsheltered.
Although I know many of her positive qualities are attributed to not having everything handed to her, as a mother, I want to give her the world. I want her to have experiences and opportunities that I didn’t have. Wanting those things for her will never change. So I just need to keep reminding myself that I have a kind, intelligent, amazing kid who will do great things – not because she was given everything, but because she fought for everything without pity or complaint. When it comes down to it – what more can a parent ask for?