I remember when my Uncle Sunny passed away. It was the year I graduated (ages ago). My dad would go over to his only brother’s house and take care of him, bring him food and take care of business for him. I would sit in the living room on those firsts few trips until Uncle Sunny would tell me to come in and see him. Sometimes my daddy would tell me and then I just started to go on in on my own.
Uncle Sunny was this strong Veteran. My dad is too and has a Purple Heart. But, when my Uncle Sunny was young and up until he died, he had these big muscles and always wore a white tee and jeans. Well, at least that is what I remember. I also remember his house was like a museum filled with odds and ends. For my graduation he gave me a $100 bill. The most money I’d ever had. My dad thought it was too much but, Uncle Sunny didn’t!
I remember them (the family) cleaning out his place and I saw the jean jacket and I saw this silver object that said LOVE. I asked if I could have those and they said sure. I lost the jacket at a game and I cried for weeks about that jacket but, I never lost my LOVE. It has been everywhere I’ve moved and I always find a place for LOVE. It’s a keepsake of the uncle I never really got to know but will always remain a symbol of strength…and LOVE.
The Holidays can bring about depression and anxiety for single parents. I could say well, it’s not about the gifts but, what I should point out is it goes beyond the gifts as to why a single parent may experience some anxiety and depression.
A single parent may have struggled the entire year and the very thought of purchasing anything outside of the budget (or means) brings about a feeling of insufficiency. It may bring about thoughts of “If only there were two parents” and truth be told I have seen everything from a single parent sacrificing to get things (for Holidays and Birthdays) and then find themselves behind on bills, in a viscous cycle of debt to becoming extremely moody and bitter and the children begin to associate this time of the year with lack, shortage and insufficiency in the material sense. And as adults they let you know this is how they feel about the holidays and birthdays. Holidays and birthdays stunk as children therefore, they stink as adults.
When you are spending money to fill a void of not feeling like “the parent” it’s not about the children. It’s about YOU not feeling like you are enough as a parent. It may be competition with the other parent to show you can do as much as they can without them. And the truth is, I have seen single fathers on child support struggle financially and whether they admit it or not, they also become depressed or bitter during this time of the year because they too have to find extra money to buy things for their child/children. They too go into further debt during the holidays or birthdays. So there are many sides to a story.
Listen, single parents (fathers and mothers), you need to know your parenthood success is not built on gifts of the material things but are built on the gifts of love and time. It is built on the gifts of pouring into your children principals, values, morals that will last a lifetime while those toys and clothes will be a thing of the past in a week.
If you are not in the mood for the Holidays or Birthdays because of what you can’t buy then you are missing the entire point of these days. Re-evaluate the reason for the season and what it means to be thankful your child saw another birthday.
Keeping gifts and celebrations within reason creates children that are grateful when you provide extra and grateful when there is little or none because they know you love them and care for them and that is ALL that matters.