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The way we saw it, the women we grew up with were accidental role models.
Some, like my mother, found themselves trapped in marriages collapsing under the indignities of abuse and disrespect and decided their children deserved better.
And "hard" seems to be a word we now avoid, disparage, and devalue in our insta-everything culture.
In other words, the very values that Senator Santorum and so many others say these solo moms undermine are just the values I learned from mine -- and the community of women like her I grew up with outside Washington, D. What did we learn from these women who worked one or more miserably paid jobs while battling domestic turbulence, hunting for child support, hustling to pay rent, and forcing us to do our homework all on their own? Perseverance, perspective, determination, the need to clean up your own messes and confront your own problems, no matter how difficult. And the importance of realizing how much you have, even when "much" feels like nothing.
Others simply watched their husbands walk out when they decided they'd had enough and that fatherhood was too much responsibility.
In either case, the moms put back together the shards of our little lives. They simply offered us their quiet example of doing anything necessary for those you love, of facing adversity with grace, of finding humor and community even while swimming in challenge.
My godmother and my aunt, who survived years of marital beatings before deciding she had to build a better life for her children, joined us for the whole stench-filled swamp ride through spinal taps, chemo afternoons, and radiation zaps.to get me ready and out the door before working a thankless day handling unhappy customers' calls at the telephone company.I vented in a childish stream of frustration about how hard our lives were compared to the handful of friends I knew who belonged to the shiny club of two-parent families.One evening when I was eight years old, my mother and I drove the four miles home from my babysitter's house in darkness, a pouty silence on my side.I felt tired of getting up early, getting home late, and staying with babysitters for hours on end.