I became a single parent in 2007. The picture above was representative of a significant life change in mine and my children's lives. My heart was filled with pain and anguish as my world had come tumbling down because of divorce and we were now on a single income. I remember dressing them in their best outfits, about to head to church, and as I took this picture, I was crying inside and holding back my tears. I had to remain strong for them. It was the first Christmas where I had to scrounge up money to purchase them each one gift. They were only 8, 7 and 2. Even at that point, I really had no idea how our lives were about to change. It doesn't matter how you become a single parent, the journey is a difficult one. It has been one that I've had the privilege of sharing with many. I was also raised by a single father so I had to endure those hardships in my youth and swore that I would never be a single parent. Well, then, life happened.
Becoming a single parent, will forever change you. Your heart, mind and soul are captivated in raising your child(ren) to the best of your ability. However, everything becomes stretched and limited, your time, your resources and even your emotions. You simply learn to do your best with the hand you are dealt.
As a single, working mom, I was unable to qualify for many types of assistance because I was employed and couldn't make appointments or interviews without taking time from work. I was unable to miss work; I needed to save my paid time off for my kids. For several years, my finances were limited to their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Beans and rice became our household meal of choice and our motto became "Beans, rice and Jesus Christ." My kids still love a bowl of fresh beans to this day!
At this point, attending any type of outing, camp, event, zoo or traveling was completely out of the question. Our fun was going to close by parks, watching a movie at home, playing board games or reading. I wouldn't even travel across town because I needed to save my gas for work.
While being able to provide my kids with their basic needs and having quality time with them was a great thing, and I will forever be thankful for the lessons it taught us, their lives were not provided with the enriching experiences other families and their friends were sharing. Simple things, such as a visiting a museum or zoo, going to an amusement park or going out to a movie and to eat at a restaurant. These were extravagant things for our family and I wasn't about to use our money for necessities on extravagant things such as these. Unfortunately, it came to a point where my kids just understood. They didn't complain, whine, moan or groan; they just understood. It was our life.
As life got better and more stable financially, we were able to go different places, travel and enjoy new experiences. I got remarried to a wonderful man and had another son. Life was full and balanced but it was time to give back.
My heart's desire was and is to be able to provide single parent families similar experiences. I want them to enjoy time together, renew their spirit and strengthen their family bond. That is why Be a Blessing Non-Profit was founded.
My dream is big! I want single parent families to forget their worries for a moment of time. I want single parent families to have memorable experiences at musuems, fairs, camps, ball games, movies but also, provide them with places to travel and give their children exposure to the world that exists outside of their norm. It opens their eyes to new opportunities and provides them the ability to dream and know that there is a much bigger world out there.
A lttle background on the name....
When my kids would leave for school or to visit a friend, I would always tell them " Be a Blessing". They were and still are a blessing to so many. I still tell them this and so this became such a fitting name for our non-profit.
What a blessing it is that we can now Be a Blessing to single parent families!!