respect for the single mother

I have the utmost respect for single mothers (and the utmost disdain for the respective absent fathers). I had an amazing relationship with a young woman during her pregnancy (and the absence of the father) and thru the birth of her little boy. This experience is probably even more impactful to me because this single mother gave me probably my first heartfelt soul reaching “I love you” (a pretty incredible gift).

Having lived through that experience, and loved the woman who went through it, I am pretty sure most people looking from the outside in (people who haven’t been through it) have no real idea what a single mother goes through.

If there was ever a situation where people should view a person’s actions as “doing the best that they can” when judging them, this is probably it. Their actions may not always look right (or the best) but I saw Bridget deal with thing after thing and issue after issue and in the end she just did the best she could (and it was pretty damn good).

So having this personal experience means I have exponentially increased respect for single mothers. The choice. The choices. The worries. The anger. All the crap they have to deal with.

Bridget was amazing. Her ability to deal with the trials and strength of character was ‘aweing’ (or awe-inspiring?) and I loved her for it. And in a way I guess I love that about all the strong single mothers. Looking back I think our “I love yous” weren’t that romantic passionate ‘I love yous’ (although at the time I knew I wanted it to be the big type and I would guess she hoped it may be also). The situation just created two people who from a distance fell in love.

Her capacity to share her love with me was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It represents one of those really rare special moments when you can remember almost every detail associated with it. And maybe what made it more impactful was it came unexpectedly, and quietly, as I stood at an airport phone in Columbus Ohio on Halloween after months of talking over the phone. But. I will say it again. Bridget was (and probably still is) was one of the strongest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and caring for. Her capacity to deal with single mother pregnancy and what that brought to her at that time in her life (mid 20’s) was awe inspiring.

Our relationship was odd at best. We met auspiciously at a bar in Tampa where she was a waitress. But after she became pregnant and the guy decided for whatever reasons he had to step away she moved back home with her parents in New Jersey. I had since moved to Dallas for work.

letterWe wrote letters. Okay. In the beginning I wrote letters. Lots of em. I was working over 55 hours a week every week and traveling 4 days out of every seven. So I used the time to write.

How about how I wished I could help.

Things I thought she may need help thinking about.

Maybe just being a friend.

But I guess mostly I wrote about my life so she could think about other things.

I cherished her letters (which became more frequent). And responded in detail. And we talked on the phone. A lot. Sometimes for hours at a time. It didn’t matter about the letters. We always had something to say. Sometimes I am not sure that it mattered what was said. More that we were just talking.

It was a scary sometimes angry time for her. She was pregnant. Single. The guy was nowhere to be found. But let me say her parents were a rock. Her mother was an example I believe all single mothers mothers should aspire to be <unequivocally supportive>. And my role? Minimal in the scheme of things … but I did the best I could to make it less scary and less angry a time.

I volunteered to fly to be there when her son, Tyler, was born. And I think the father actually made an appearance but then disappeared again. But she dealt with it with her family (and I respected the decision … one of many she had to make at a very difficult time).

I saw her and Tyler that Christmas (getting there from Dallas included a small plane ‘flight from hell’ with the 300 pound drunken Texan in his 50 gallon hat on his way to gamble in Atlantic City for Christmas … but that is a different funny story). In fact one of my favorite pictures of myself to this day is one of me holding Tyler that Christmas.bruce and tyler

In the end she was the smart one … smart enough to let me go when I left. I would have fought on for us but for whatever reason face to face she was the smarter of the two of us and realized what was right for both of us.

Once again. Looking back. The capacity of a single mother to be able to work their way thru decisions like that with everything else heaped upon her shoulders is awe inspiring.

The conclusion: Things changed after that for us (as it should have). I guess I hope that I was there at that time for a reason.

And maybe she was there for me at that time for a reason.

I am not sure if ever told her how much she helped me thru a 2700 work hours, almost million flying mile, year. I do know that I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have the strength to be a single parent. But that doesn’t mean I cannot help when I can.

I do know because of her strength and love and that time in my life that any single mother in the circle of my life has my unequivocal support. Whatever they need I try and do right by them.

And I certainly view single mothers differently <positively I may add>.

Bridget is unmatchable in my life <so far> with regard to not only how she handled her situation but also in how she viewed Life. She didn’t just teach me about being a single parent but she and her family just taught me a lot about character and strength.

I chuckle a little … but unfortunately for women in my life afterwards … a bar had been set by Bridget in my expectations.Expectations of strength and character and depth of heart.

And, you know what? That is okay.

She set a great example.

Not everyone has had my experience and, to be fair, I may not have been a big enough <or good enough> person to have had such a depth of respect for single mothers if I had not had a personal experience. It is always tough to truly understand something from the outside looking in … without a real experience. That is not an excuse … just an explanation.

So. Have respect for single mothers. Don’t judge their actions too harshly. And help whenever you can. Even a little bit of help can go a very long way.

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Written by Bruce