Authored by: Alicia Hendricks
Editor: Zac Halloran
They say that once you have a child your world will revolve around them. When I found out I was pregnant 12 years ago I joked, "Well at least I get Mother’s Day". Not until becoming a parent did I understand that Mother’s and Father’s Day wasn’t about us at all. It was more about celebrating my son who made me a mom and eventually would also soon become dad. I finalized my divorce when my son was three and from then on it was just the two of us.
Being a happy successful single mother is still something that I strive for every day.
Don’t get me wrong, it is very hard, but it is also the most rewarding situation I’ve ever been in. I had two roads to choose from when doing this alone. I could have wallowed in self-pity and become mad when I had to now cancel the occasional happy hour with my best friends. Instead I chose to stay positive and focus on raising my son and not focus on the hardships of being a single parent. Sometimes even outsiders, who mean well, can bring you down. I can’t tell you how many times I would hear, “Don’t you hate your ex?”, or “Did you at least take him for everything he has?” It was hard at times to not get sucked into that mentality, but I didn’t. I made the decision that I’d rather be a happy single parent than stay in a toxic marriage.
I thought to myself that my son and our relationship does not have to be defined by divorce and separation. We are still a unit and we can still be happy. We weren't going to let this bump in the road cripple our journey together.
I remember signing up my son for little league for the very first time. I was nervous, this was supposed to be something Dad does. Is my son going to suffer from mom trying to teach him sports? As I fill out the paperwork, they asked me at the field, “Do you mind helping out once in a while, we are short a few volunteers.”, and 20 minutes later they are handing me an equipment bag and calling me coach! That's how I approached gender roles and expectations from that day forward. I was not going to limit Devin's experiences to my own loves and hobbies. If Devin wanted to be a scuba diver, then you best believe I learned everything there is to know about diving, no matter the fear of drowning.
I would have stepped aside and let Dad handle the sports stuff. I am glad I didn't because it is a lasting memory that Devin and I still share to this day.
My son and I have formed an amazing relationship over the years, he truly is my best friend. He also has matured and stepped up to help me because it is only the two of us. He will help with laundry or do yard work or walk the dog if I am running late in the morning. He has become so selfless and hardworking because I have taught him that if you want something, you go get it. We've cooked a turkey for two on Thanksgiving, we've decorated a Christmas tree and the house together for just us. The Easter bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa have all managed to pass through our home at one point or another. They say parenting is like wearing many hats, I say it is like wearing many costumes.
I've never made Devin feel like life was on hold until another man, husband or father figure showed up.
One of the greatest qualities of Devin is his compassion for others. We started out in a small, one bedroom apartment. I think starting from humble beginnings has given both Devin and I the true ability to reserve judgement. He has friends from all walks of life and he treats them with the same respect no matter rich, poor or in between. As a proud Mom, that is my favorite part of Devin. We are so grateful and blessed to now close on our first home. It truly has been a beautiful journey together and I think we are only just beginning.
I surrounded Devin and I with my amazing friends, family members and teachers and they have always been there for me. I am so thankful to have found such amazing people who love Devin just as much as I do. They want Devin to succeed and reach his full potential as a young man. It truly does take a village to raise a child. I am happy to be in a circle of influence that is both positive and inspirational to my son and me. We are who we surround ourselves with and it is 100% OK to take your time in finding the right people.
I once wrote this for my son on mother's day, but I felt it was appropriate to share and connect to all single parents. It is a difficult road for both us moms and dads alike. You may find yourself in a similar situation and feel helpless. Dust yourself off from the world wind you just experienced. Look your little one(s) in the eyes and let that be the fuel and guide for your journey together.
I love you Devin Carter. - Mom/Dad/Coach
A special thanks to Alicia Hendricks and her beautiful piece and contribution to our blog here at Twill. On behalf of the Twill Team, we thank you for sharing such a wonderful memoir of you and your son's journey. To the many loving parents out there, Happy Parenting and God Bless.