My mom and I are best friends. When I was in grade school, we would always joke that she would have to follow me to college so we could continue as roommates. Well, I stayed fairly close to home, and while she did not go with me, the relationship we have is one that will endure forever. On the other hand, my father’s perspective of being a “dad” had flaws from the beginning due to his own childhood. He worked to provide for us financially but did not understand that all of the necessary traveling of a business man would obstruct his ability to fulfill other familial obligations. He thought he was taking care of me while he was away, expecting to save money for a first car and a college education; however, things did not go as planned, and my mother became the primary financial provider, quickly learning to care for herself and to raise me alone.
My father didn’t realize the true consequences of becoming a workaholic. As a man, he thought he was doing his part, but as a young and naïve child, I had a completely different view of the situation. I let him slide for years, but then came to think that he didn’t care enough or miss me enough to get away from work for a dance recital or a birthday party. It truly is a matter of perspective. As the years went on, I grew wiser, but no more forgiving. By the time he was ready to make changes, I had moved on—I had mended my broken heart.
Many may look at this situation, perhaps with too much familiarity, and see how it must have been so difficult for my mom to provide for and care for me alone. Some may feel that I was cheated as a child. Although my family has never fit the stereotypical American family, whether that is the perfect family with two loving parents and a puppy or the dysfunctional family I find everyone complaining about, I must admit that God truly blessed me. I never lacked anything that a child with two great parents had, and I formed a wonderful relationship with my mom, a friendship that most would envy if they only knew their true misfortune. Perhaps some families need two parents to fulfill all of the necessary nurturing, protecting, and providing. I only need one parent, and I can only pray to be as caring of a mother and as good of a friend to my children as she has been to me. My mother has influenced the way I think about life situations and the way I view the world, and our relationship has inspired the beliefs I hold as a young adult.
Because of my mother and the relationship we share, I believe every story has multiple perspectives; I believe in optimism; I believe in the ability to turn any situation into an opportunity for growth; I believe in open-mindedness; and ultimately, I believe in making the best of the one, precious life we are given.