Success and the Single-Parent Family (a featured question)

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

this was a Featured Question; you can answer it to apparently.

Retirement is the ugliest word in the language.

My Mumsy celebrated her sixty-fifth birthday yesterday.  It’s odd to think that she can now retire [she’s retiring from full-time work at the end of the month, but hoping to work two days a week still] and spend her days lounging around doing what she wants, when she wants.  Oh, how blissful. 

So, happy birthday for yesterday Mumsy … let’s celebrate with some pictures.


This is her, as a nipper.  All together now … awwww …


A matter of months older than I am now, with me.  Again, all together now … awwww …

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At my wedding with my littlest nephew.

Also, The Father turned sixty-five as well, a day earlier.  I forgot to send him a card.  Oh well. 

In honour of Mumsy’s birthday we bought me a new desk chair.  It swivels, so I’m happy.  The most simple things can keep me amused for hours and hours.  As an aside, this obviously makes me a cheap date, and this has its benefits.  Spring popped in to help celebrate sixty-five years upon this earth, which resulted in both myself and Tabatha-Cat finding something to do in the back garden this morning [me weeding and planting new flowers in old pots, Tabatha sunning herself on the decking].  It’s almost barbecue weather … huzzah.

please God bless Mumsy as she begins to enjoy her retirement xxx Elsabeth