Yes, I may have grown up having a close bond with my Grandparents who were the best example of true love, but my mom was always the only parent I ever knew. The struggle was real and even though she let it all roll off of her back, you could see it in her eyes. She continues to want the best for me and I thank the heavens for her. She is one of the strongest people I know.
This is what I learned:
There’s always the ‘what ifs’
I know what it would be like to have both a father and a mother in my life, I had it with my grandparents. But there was always that one thought in the back of my mind, what if. What would it feel like to have them both here beside me, in some capacity. Would life be easier, better? But I always accepted my situation. I always made the most out of what I was given. Because she was all I ever knew, all I ever needed.
You grow up faster and a little more independent
Reflecting back on my childhood, I was always an old soul – I always had my own agenda. I grew up faster than others and almost forgot what it meant to be a child – to go outside and play pretend. There were moments when I had to rely on myself for a number of things. I learned to cook and clean earlier than most. She was always working, it was just something I had to do.
Everything is one-sided
I don’t know what makes up the other half of who I am, genetically. I only knew one side of my family tree. Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty awesome family and wouldn’t change it for the life of me. They watched me grow up, they were always there. That is a comfort in and of itself.
‘No’ and ‘we can’t’ were a staple
Despite what it seemed like, I didn’t always get what I wanted. Everything had to be accounted for. Everything had to have a purpose. Material things never mattered. If I got something, I knew that there was a lot that went into getting it. Nothing was ever handed to me, and I am grateful for that.
Family is, and always will be, number one
At the end of the day, family will always be there. They are the ones that love you unconditionally and see you for what you are. They are there through the good, the better, the bad, and the worst. They see it all. They know it all. They will never leave.
Hard work is the only kind of work
The drive that I get to always put my best foot forward comes from her. I push hard for every opportunity that life throws at me. Yes, I feel the need to constantly prove myself to those around me but I don’t want anything to come in my way. I want to be successful at anything I set forward to do and I want to inspire those around me. She taught me that.
Appreciate the small things
I put value towards all of the things that I have, regardless of how expensive or cheap they are. Everything I own and everything that I will come to own, are just that, things. There are more important things in life than owning things and shopping at the best places. I know what it is like to have nothing and I know what it is like to have things, I don’t take anything for granted. Everything that I have in my life is there for a reason, I will always take care of them.
When I look back at where I have been, I get a little emotional knowing how great my life really was. I don’t shy away from telling people I never really knew my dad, that I never really want to. I am proud of come from the type of family that I have. I don’t need to have a picture perfect family, I turned out just fine.