Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder if I’ve accomplished all the right things as a single mom. My confidence occasionally goes by the wayside as I recognize a “fail” moment. But those moments come fewer and further between as my kids get older.
No father in the picture, often means children grow up without the benefit of a male influence in their lives, or lacking in some sort of attention because they don’t have a “Daddy.” In my case, as a single mother of four, I find that probably isn’t the case, although it easily could have been.
My oldest went to college, met and fell in love with a young man who had some issues, but she chose to love him anyway. They have a lovely daughter and the young man has chosen to walk away. His lack of presence in their lives left them vulnerable and alone. She sought friendship and the result was another baby. This time a little boy.
She needed help with her daughter, as a working mother, and that help came from her sister and brother-in-law. They shared her apartment and Tatia watched Elizabeth while she worked.
Meanwhile, Tatia and Kevin realized they were also expecting and the arrangement became one of joy for both girls as they shared the excitement of motherhood, and all the trials and tribulations that came with it. Brenna, a single mom, toughing it out alone through the trials found respite in the sisterhood of pregnancy. Tatia, married and enjoying the benefits and blessings of having a husband, shared the struggles and wonder of a new marriage and motherhood with her sister. The blessings for both were many.
When their special days came, Brenna called Mom, and I came. I brought along two unsuspecting little brothers who didn’t understand the roll they would come to have in the lives of three babies. We came to Denver and stayed.
Elizabeth began to refer to the three uncles as The Uncles, and their presence in her life attributed more than just playmates. They assumed parental type roles and took on more than their share of responsibilities. Her little brother benefited from their presence as well. The Uncles fell into step, changing, loving, cuddling, holding and caring for Colm in ways most teenagers just don’t bother to do. Their efforts were appreciated.
When their brother-in-law joined the army and left a mere six weeks after his son was born, they took on the weight of one more child, often putting him to sleep, holding, changing, cuddling and playing with him. Once again, The Uncles fell into step, looking after their sisters and providing the sincere, caring role of Uncle to the babies, and Elizabeth.
Complaints were few and far between. Their efforts sometimes breaking through the late hours of night, or awakening them in the early hours of morning. They sometimes struggled to get their chores done around “baby duty” as they affectionately called those times when they were needed to care for a child. School work became a luxury they longed to do, and they spent hours studying, dedicated to getting an education in a home where family and life sometimes provided the lessons.
Little boys became men, proving themselves in the hearts of babies who depended on them, to be the men they might not have been old enough to be. They both stepped up where needed, and continue to be father figures, solid, strong role models in the lives of their niece and nephews, as well as in the lives of a few second cousins who find them absolutely mesmerizing.
This tribute goes out to these two young men who understand that life isn’t always about being a teenager and “hanging” with your buds, sometimes, it’s about being the best you can be in order to bring something better to the lives of others. When you see them with the children in their lives, there’s no doubt where their priorities lie.
Recently, on returning from a mission trip, we met them at the church. Elizabeth ran along the sidewalk to greet them. “Uncle Shorty” spotted her first and slipped through a group of teenagers, past an instructor and down the sidewalk to greet her. He swung her high in the air, as he twirled around hugging her close.
Inside the youth center, she spied another uncle. “Uncle Bookworm!” She cried out. He was talking to a couple of girls and excused himself immediately to run between them and across the room to pick her up, swirl her around and squeeze her tight in a hug that told her how much he missed her, and everyone else in the room, where his priorities lie.
Both received numerous compliments from their Mission Trip leaders for their efforts on the trip. They were described as responsible, mature, leaders and best of all, simply adorable.
Sean and Kenton – I love and appreciate you. As your mother, I have to say, “I’m so very proud of the young men you’ve become. I thank God every single day that your strength, your power and your love is blessed by Him.”