I believe in raising my sons to be men. Raleigh is four-years old; Ryder, just four weeks. They are being raised by me, a single working mom. I believe that it is possible for me to work hard enough (and perhaps, pray hard enough), to be successful in raising them to be strong husbands, fathers, workers, citizens. Raleigh was just a baby when his father died. He left us with no life insurance, no money, no plan, no hope. I couldn’t imagine what in his life had troubled him so much that he would turn to drugs. Did he know when he chose Oxycontin that he would throw everything away, even his life? I have no doubt that he loved both of us, but wonder if things would have been different if we could have loved each other more. I had planned on staying home with the baby until he was old enough to go to school, but with his father dead, that plan was gone. At first, when he died, I was emotionally crippled for months, and then finally, got moving again, though slowly at first. I found a job through a temp agency, went back to college, and moved us into a place I could afford. Eventually, the job turned permanent. I finished my classes and got good grades. It has taken four years, but now I have graduated from college, been promoted, bought a house, and had another child. I know that we can make it, and that the boys will grow up to be men that people respect, despite the fact that there are no men around to show them what that means. I am confident that I will learn how to build campfires in boy scouts, and figure out the rules to every little league sport. I will join the PTA. I will wrestle with them and vote with them and answer every question they have about their fathers and their futures and our family. I will stress to them the importance of learning and getting a formal education. I will joke and laugh and pray and hope and work, so that someday, they might, too. I believe that my sons will be the men of my dreams.
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