SINGLE PARENTING, IT'S NOT EASY
Life can throw us into unexpected situations and somehow we find the strength to rise above them. For me, it came in 2002 when my sister passed away fairly suddenly, and upon her untimely death I became the guardian of her 4 year old son.
I quickly learned to appreciate what it takes to be a single parent and how to navigate the roller coast of emotions and pressures that comes with raising a child. The feelings of self-doubt and determination to be at your best continually weigh on your mind.
Am I doing all that I can? Will I honour her wishes and memory? How can I rely on my extended family? How will I possibly raise a grieving boy into a resilient, well-adjusted and accomplished young man? What financial priorities have to be set in the short and long term? These were only of the few questions I asked myself over the past 16 years.
Having the resolve to be present every day, to be forward thinking, and feeling fine with accepting help from family and friends made what felt impossible, possible.
The experience of single-parenthood also gave me a unique and profound appreciation for what so many other parents must be going through, particularly those who have far less resources and supports that I have been privileged to have. Unfortunately, the reality of under-resourced children and families is far to common holding many kids back from achieving their full potential.
My sister, a single mother herself, was counted among the many. The fact that 21% of single mothers in Canada raise their children while living in poverty (7% of single fathers raise their children in poverty) has given me both a reason to pause and remember how fortunate I have been compared to the many single mothers out there.
Today, I am proud to say my nephew has grown into a well-grounded, hard working musician, audio producer and manager. He is on his own path, determined to achieve his own success and independence. While I remain a parent, I am adjusting to my new role as a mentor and advisor.
Onward we go and navigate what may lie ahead, while we pay tribute to my sister.