Normally on my blog, I like to focus on positive things, on things that I have gone through and God has shown me how to handle it, I like to be encouraging. However, the past few days, I have been struggling with something, and I really felt this morning like God was saying, why aren’t you sharing this struggle? I thought about it and I realized that it was because I don’t have an answer to how to deal with it. Now I am not the type of person who generally feels like I need to show that I have it all together or that I know the answer to every problem, but for some reason, this struggle hurts and is hard to write about. So forgive me if this is less structured than usual, I am honestly just talking out loud what my heart feels…..
This is my 3rd summer as a single-mom and for some reason, it is one of the harder ones that I have faced. Each summer brings its own set of struggles. Our summers as a family before my husband left were laid back and usually consisted of a few day trips here and there and then maybe an overnight to my in-laws a few states away or another quick trip. The summer before he left we had just purchased kayaks and were excited to start new adventures using them. Then our family fell apart and everything changed.
The first summer, we were still recovering from the shock of all that had happened, but we managed even though I felt very bad by the end because we didn’t really do anything.
Last summer was more of the same, we didn’t really have the money to do any trips or anything so we mostly just hung out at home. I always tell the kids that it is no big deal because we are more winter people and most our money is set aside for season passes for snowboarding, but once they get to school and hear about all the trips their friends took, it usually ends up seeming like our summer was pretty lame. It doesn’t help that we live in a fairly wealthy school district and you are always going to deal with those friends who go to Disney every year or take cruises or travel over seas, all of the things that we couldn’t afford to do and that honestly, I am not ready to do with 3 kids on my own, esepcially when one of them struggles with being in the car for more than an hr and has sleep issues at home let alone somewhere else.
As winter came to an end and spring was here, I was starting to be excited about this summer. This summer, was going to be different. I had been working since February and had set money aside and was excited to be able to plan something big. Then, my van kept breaking down and most the money I saved went to fixing it and then getting a new vehicle became a priority. Here we are in August and we have done nothing. My kids have spent most days at work with me. Which, isn’t as bad as you might think. I work at my church so most days they spend either playing on the indoor or outdoor playground, playing basketball, or playing video games which is basically what they would be doing at home. Often some of their friends are there as well. But as a family, the most we have been able to do is take a trip up to the beach and maybe some mini-golf. This past weekend as I realized that we are into August, this truth really hit me. I felt sad and depressed. I began thinking about school starting and how the kids would go back and yet again, have nothing to talk about. As I write this, it strikes me, why does this really bother me? The truth I think is more because I am worried about how they will feel compared to all their friends. For myself, I don’t care about traveling really. I have always been the type of person that was happy just to sit outside, read, bike ride, hike, and swim, do the simple things, I have tried to raise my kids that way too, and for the most part, they are, but then there is always that guilt that sneaks in, telling me how everyone else did something amazing and all we did was sit home. So then, I not only feel guilty about that, I feel guilty that I feel that way, because there are so many single-moms who are so worse off and don’t have the luxury of living in the country and having a huge yard and a pool.
How do I deal with this? I can cry out to God and yes, he can help me to see things differently and he can heal the hurt in my heart but that won’t always change my kids’ hearts. I can’t make them see that I am doing my best and we are more blessed than we know regardless of if we take any trips or not. And even though I know deep down they know that, it doesn’t make it any easier when they get to school this fall and are asked “What did you do this summer?” It doesn’t make it any easier when they ask me what we are doing this weekend and it ends up being more of the same. It doesn’t change the fact that they know their dad is off traveling and going on amazing trips that they have no part of. So I guess the bottom line is that is why I didn’t want to write this post. I didn’t want to write something when I didn’t feel like I had a solution. I guess the truth is the only solution, is the only one we really ever need and that is to trust God. When we can’t see an answer, when we don’t know how to make something better, when we don’t know the way forward, we trust Him.