Single Parent

Carl - Northfield, Minnesota
Entered on December 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the life lessons taught by a single parent.

My mother is the strongest person I know. I was six years old when my father passed away due to cancer. My mother had no time to grieve, she had to take on the responsibilities of the family. I was six and my brother was five on that muggy and humid July night, only days before my seventh birthday. My brother and I were still too young to understand the magnitude of what happened. It wouldn’t be until twelve years later that I would appreciate the lessons taught by my mother.

After the passing of my father we moved to Florida so we could be closer to family. My mother was a nurse at a hospital in Indiana but when we moved to Florida she did not want to work those grueling and unpredictable hours at a hospital. My mother did not want to depend on anybody to cater to our family situation. She took a big salary cut and took a job at my elementary school as the school nurse so she could pick us up from school and have the same days off. I’m so thankful she took that job because I was able to see her everyday and never needed to depend on anybody for a ride home.

When I was growing up I really didn’t comprehend the amount my mother worked to give my brother and I a great life. My mother worked as our elementary school’s nurse in the day and at night she was a nurse at a nursing home. I remember on Friday afternoon, it was in late fall that my mother had to pull a double shift at her two jobs. She had been working from 9 till 5, then she would have to work 7 – 3 in the morning. She sat done on the couch in our living room for a little to take a quick nap. I asked my mother,” You don’t need to be working two jobs”, she replied,” that one day I would understand the sacrifices that needed to be made in order to give your children a great life.” It was not until high school that I remembered that moment and it finally made sense. With two parents I feel that I would not have gotten this teaching with such a powerful example as my mother.

I believe that seeing my mother work extremely hard taught me lessons you can’t learn in the classroom or learn by having two parents. Being a single mother is one of the hardest things to do, especially with two young boys. I know after seeing my mother tackle the pressures of life or the overwhelming bill that I have learned the foundation of what it takes not just to be a great parent but a great person. My mother is the strongest person I have ever met. I could not thank her enough for all the sacrifices she has made for my brother and I.