I came from a single parent home when single parent homes were frowned upon; the days before they became the norm. In the spring of 1980 I went up to my teacher and, in a very matter-of-fact way, I told her, My daddy doesn’t live at home anymore.
We were poor. By today’s standards we lived below the poverty line. But we had food to fill our bellies, a roof to shelter us from the English rain and clothes to protect our modesty.
And we were happy. We were loved. We were instilled with a passion for learning and a pride for being well-behaved and respectful. I may not have had as many toys as Rachel from the next street, but I did have an imagination and it was my imagination which held her in contempt. I remember that, although I didn’t have a word for the feelings I had back then.
I am a success because of (not despite) my childhood and family circumstances. I am not a success because I have a degree, a job, a mortgage, a loving husband, a longing to continue learning and a nice car. I’m a success because I can find reasons to smile on a rainy day. I’m a success because I can scrunch all the misery and pain into a little paper ball and file it away in the deepest, darkest corner of my mind. I’m a success because I know how to keep my house clean and my bedroom dirty. I’m a success because I have personal morals to adhere to and a desire to help people less fortunate than me.
But mostly I’m a success because I saw my Mumsy struggle to survive for my benefit. I saw her express all the emotions one woman can (sometimes all in the same day) and I watched her cope. I watched her live. I was there with her when she came out the other side and realised she had raised four fabulous – successful – children with very little help (either physically or financially) from their father.
I genuinely believe that if The Father had shown more than just an occasional passing interest in my up-bringing, I wouldn’t be the success I am today. Or, perhaps because of his occasional passing interest I am the success I am today. Who knows?
I do know that I am not an exception. There are thousands of successful adults/children in the world who were raised in one-parent families, and they all have their own stories. And if we lose everything tomorrow (which could happen; we live in interesting times, my friend) then I will still be a success, regardless of damp walls and Tesco Value foodstuffs.
But then, perhaps my idea of success is skewed?
please God bless Mumsy for helping me be a success xxx Elsabeth