I am the older of two daughters of a single mother. Looking back on my childhood I realize that I had many disadvantages, though I didn’t see them at the time. I have been through four marriages and divorces, lived in numerous foster homes and seen my fair share of less than legal situations. These experiences could have been used as an excuse to become a drain on society, but I believe we should learn from the mistakes of others and use them to better ourselves.
I did not come from what society views as a “typical family”. Without any extended family close by my sister and I were placed into foster care when my mother had hard times. Sometimes we were placed together and sometimes we were separated. Being in and out of foster homes taught me the importance of stability. I did not know what it was like to have a place that was mine. Somewhere I could feel safe and no one could tell me I had to leave. Having my own space was so important that I bought my home ten years ago when I was twenty.
My mother used alcohol as an escape from reality. There were many nights that we would have to leave our home late at night to stay in a hotel because of an alcohol induced fight between mom and step-dad. These fights had no schedule and happened more than once when I had a friend over. These actions affected my social life. I didn’t have friends come to my house because I never knew when my parents would have a drunken fight. Because of these mistakes on my mother’s part, I do not drink.
I don’t ever remember my mother asking about homework. I did well in school despite the issues at home. However, that changed in high school. Soon after marriage number three, I quit caring about my education. My goal was to work enough so that I could afford to remove myself from the situation. I am and involved parent. I volunteer at my son’s school and make sure that he sees the importance of education by attending college myself.
I believe that having had an economically challenged childhood taught me perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness, and hard work. Many use a rough childhood as an excuse to continue in that lifestyle, I chose to learn from the mistakes and make my family better. While it is easy to find reasons not to thank my mother, I can honestly say that I learned a lot from her.