I See You: Open Letter To The Single Parent
Dear Single Parent,
You must resent this title. This title that seems to make light of all your parenting, just because you do it alone. Somehow, people forget that on your shoulders alone, sits the work that's meant for two. But I don't. I remember, because the memories of my life and childhood are tattooed forever in the deepest crevices of my heart.
It's 2019, and the world no longer cares too much for titles. But the world has not quite fully caught on how much awesomeness resides in a single parent. A person who many times gives up on dreams and aspirations; puts their life on hold; and then goes on to raise a child all by themselves. For a couple, parenting is extremely challenging. For one person, it is double the challenges, double the sacrifice.
It's 2019, and baby mamas are a thing, a celebrity thing. For many beautiful girls, it is their claim to fame. They make it all seem glamorous, but parenting is a thousand percent grit, and not so much glamour. Before the advent of millenials and social media, single parenting was a stain on society. Hurt birthed single parenting. Hurt like rape, death of a loved one, and the disappointment of having loved and lost. And so, people saw single parenting as an anomaly.
If only they saw the time that mama sold her fridge so I could write the Common Entrance Examinations. How I wish they knew that time when she didn't have a job. How my nine year old self drank Ijebu garri and fried meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If only they knew how mama bought us the best for boarding school, my siblings and I. But she scrimped and starved while we were at school.
Dear single parent, the world may not see you. But I do. I see you.
For all the times you have had to go without just so your children can have the best. Scraping to get by in silence. For all the times you had to kill your social life, leave relationships. All because you were protecting your kids from sexual abuse. All the lonely days and tortuous nights. For every time that a landlord refused to rent you his apartment because single mums are erroneously tagged promiscuous. Landlords prefer the stability that a two parent family enjoys. For every time a lady turned down your advances because single dads are erroneously tagged as unnecessary baggage. I see you. Your children and family see you. We all do. For all the things you have had to do, bend over backwards just to fly this parenting kite really high. Thank you.
We see the secret tears, the scoffing glances that mask admiration. The pain of it all, when it threatens to become too much for you. We see the heroes that you are. We see it all.
About five years ago, the debate began about which children a turn out better. Whether it is children raised by single parents, or children raised by both parents. The jury is still out on that one. In 2017, Vanguard Newpaper published an article about how single parents successfully raise well-behaved children. Some professionals also believe that single parents raise psychologically challenged children.
What gladdens my heart though, is that in recent times, the world agrees that there are as many well behaved children with single parents as there are well behaved children with two parents. This makes me really glad, because finally it's safe to say the world sees you.
Beyond the advent of millenials and the glorification of the baby mama era, the world sees what a fine job you do. They see you now.
Dear single parent, raise your head high. Puff up your chest. Bask in the glory of your achievements, your sacrifice and the upstanding citizens you have raised.
Dear single parent, thank you.