Scratching the suface of an unfortunate journey, i wanted to share what life feels like growing up with a single parent. A reminder to those who are like me that we can get through it, we have and we will, and to shed some light to those who were fortunate having a normal childhood.
The only memory i have of my dad before he left when i was just a toddler, is us watching tv. Im not sure how i’ve clinged on to that to be honest, it might be a dream or a cluster of random memories sewn together, but i like to think of it as a memory. To summarise life after he left, it was as if my childhood was set on fire. It was a nightmare that im glad i was too young to fully understand, unlike my older siblings. I remember being put to bed and waking up in a random car. It was my dad trying to take me away with him after he left ( apparently he loved me the most). Waking up in random cars, being pulled between two parents every other night, the screaming, the fights, the chasing him around every weekend, knocking on door after door after door hoping he would come back. It stayed like that for years. Now as an adult i regret all the time we wasted chasing a dead end when instead we should have let go and moved on.
I cant really blame my mom for chasing him. She was taught her duties as a wife and a mother and nothing else. She wasnt given a proper education and she depended entirely on her husband (as everyone else did at that time, it was the norm). So i cant imagine how devastated, lost and confused she must have felt waking up the morning after he left. Having to handle 3 kids and a house that came with a tonne of responsibilities and new things she had to learn. I cant imagine how scared she must have been. Thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. It was devastating.
So that was life for my mom. Learning how to be completely independent. Toughening herself up, thinking like a man to survive in a strange country with her 3 daughters she fought to protect every single day. Sometimes she tells me stories that are too painful to hear… She tells me how she used to move furniture against our bedroom door, she was paranoid thinking we would get robbed. She stayed awake the whole night, scared with one child in one arm and one in the other. Sleeping for just a couple of hours and waking up when it was time for school, and then a full day of chores and responsibilities ahead of her. Deemed unfit for work, she did her best to provide for us. Even if i didnt get that laptop i wanted for my birthday she always made sure i got something. The sacrifices shes made for us are countless, from carrying me on her shoulders in heavy rain to a doctor to waiting outside in the cold to collect me and my siblings from school and mosque every day. She had a choice that night when my dad left. She could have ditched us too and moved back to her country and lived her life. But she didnt. Such is the power of a mothers love. Through the cold and the wind and the snow she raised us and shes applauded for it.
“So what does it feel like?”. I used to get asked that quite a lot. Its living a life but with a deep emptiness. Put simply its a hole in your heart that no one can fill, no hobby can distract you from it, no epic love of your life can take the place of. Its a scar that never fades. I actually do have a scar from a fight i was caught in between my parents. A splinter of glass hit my cheek and it formed a scar. A reminder of my hell. Its the little luxuries in life ive wanted but never had. Having two parents attend parents evening, a shopping trip with my dad, little family holidays, the comfort of knowing i have a protector. Those are the luxuries i would kill to have and luxuries no one should ever take granted. Phrases like “daddy’s little girl” were a mystery to me too. However, me and my sisters had to toughen up and fend for ourselves to survive.
I’ll never forget the sacrifices my mother has made. Even now when my dad has sort of come back and wants to be more involved, his efforts are nothing compared to what he put us through. At first when he made contact, i was furious, i didnt forgive him for years. How could anyone? Eventually i softened up (only because my mom told me to, otherwise im ruthless when it comes to forgiveness). I thought if my mom has the strength and courage to forgive him then i should too. However i dont think he’ll ever know the extent of the damage he caused. Psychological studies have proven children from broken familes, from single parents find it difficult to have healthy long lasting relationships. And its true. We’re paranoid in thinking we’ll get betrayed, having low levels of trust and just the eternal emptiness hovering around us.
Anyway thats enough dullness. We got through it and yes it was hell and i would kill in a heartbeat for the chance to have a normal childhood. But it was meant to be. I’ve seen things no child should see, pain no child should suffer through but as a result, its made us stronger, wiser, faster and appreciative of tiny blessings most people overlook. If one day i grow to be even half the woman my mom is, i would be pretty damn proud. Because even the brightest diamond could never repay and amount to the favours and sacrifices shes made. That any mother has made.
What we can do is be appreciative and let them know that. Let them know that we’re thankful, and we honour and love them before its too late. I hope i’ve shed some light on an unfortunate situation that some people have to face and accept as a part of life.
See you in my next post!
Love from Sahibah x