By Shanderia K. Posey
Raising kids alone was never God’s plan, yet many – about 10 million women in the United States — are doing just that.
I am one of them.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I dare not use this space to have a pity party. Instead, I must share the triumphs, blessings, fulfillment, accomplishments and contentment I have experienced in spite of being the head of my household.
For example, this Friday will mark a huge milestone in my life. I will receive my master’s degree in mass communications from Mississippi College. Trust me when I say, they don’t just give those degrees away.
My brain has been stretched. I have logged many hours researching, writing papers, doing assignments, etc. With my nearest family more than two hours away, it was my older daughters who held down their youngest sister when I couldn’t be interrupted while responding to essay questions or writing a paper. They were the ones who offered encouragement along the way of “Mama, you got this!”
And yes, they were even the ones who used my own words against me at times. Once, my eldest daughter who is 17, walked into the living room as I sat on the couch watching TV with my laptop, notes and textbook at my side. She said, “Do I need to turn that TV off?” I don’t know how many times I have directed those same words to her.
One of the beauties of being a mother is that your kids serve as your inspiration to do better and be a better person. While seeking an advanced degree will open more doors for me professionally, my real reason for seeking this masters was so I could provide more for my girls.
This concept has repeated itself in my family. I was in the fifth grade when my own mother went back to school – Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine – to become a veterinarian. The things she endured are almost indescribable. Talk about doing what you don’t want to do now, so that you can live the life you want later – she lived that daily.
For the most part, my siblings and I only saw her on weekends while she was in medical school. And those surprise visits from her were priceless. She wanted to give up at times, but she loved to tell us how she kept our baby photos on her coffee table while studying. She would remind herself that her kids thought she could do anything in the world. I was 15 when she graduated and was probably the proudest teen in the building.
Today, my daughters are equally excited about my graduation. They want to throw me a huge party with all of our family in attendance and cook me a lemon pound cake – per my request. We’ll see how all of that pans out.
Truth is I don’t need a party. I just need my daughters to know that I love them and that they are worth every late night I stayed up studying, every research paper I wrote, every video assignment I submitted and every penny I paid to achieve this degree.
When they face challenges in life in the years to come, I trust they’ll recall how I didn’t give up, how I pressed forward during some dark times and stayed prayed up.
Psalm 21:13-14 pretty much sums up this journey in my life. The scripture states, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
To every woman entrusted with the care of a child whether you gave birth to that child or not, Happy Mother’s Day.
Shanderia K. Posey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.