Growing up with a single mom
Divorce – a word heavy with implications, stigmas, and media coverage. Many children don't encounter it before their teenage years, many may not have a relationship as intimate as I do with it. My parents separated three days after my fourth birthday, which honestly makes the sacred date much easier to remember. Yet, even at that tender age, I knew my mother had made the right choice. Infidelity and negligence aren't things anybody should ever have to deal with.
So just like that, I was the child of a single mom. A tragic case, according to many, except I never saw it as one. Blessed as I was, I never faced any backlash, never had to hear the term "broken family" be used to offend me. I don't know what would have happened if I was bullied for my situation, but thanks to my mother, I never found out. Suffice to say, before I had reached the meagre age of ten, anybody who knew me was well-informed of my past by my big mouth and the headstrong attitude my mother had instilled in me.
Obviously, life without a paternal parental figure had its drawbacks. Questions about where my father was were more infuriating than anything. Whenever I said I did not have one, they would look concerned and ask what happened to him. How tempted I would be to reply, "Other than being a terrible human, he was perfectly fine." After all, how do I defend a man who has not bothered to see me in a literal decade? No matter how open-minded people like to perceive themselves to be, they fail to hide their scrutiny as soon as I utter the words, "They're separated." Relatives, teachers, even strangers do not hesitate to judge us.
Another thing I've noticed is that, at my age, most kids struggle to have an honest relationship with either of their parents. I fail to empathise, however much they rant to me. Contrary to all social assumptions, trust is rarely an issue when it comes to the dynamic between me and my mother. I grew up in a secure but not possessive environment, maybe one I would not have received if my mother had deliberated in making the ultimate decision.
Despite all that, my family was whole in every aspect that actually mattered. Confidence, attention and love – there was no shortage of any in our house. My mom held a job all throughout my childhood, yet she always found time to listen to my nonsensical musings and made sure I never lacked anything. Raising a child by oneself is not easy. The endless diligence and patience required are not qualities a vast majority of humans possess.
I won't deny that my parents' separation affected my life enormously. I remember the months filled with anguish that followed, my mother's caring arms cradling me to sleep, and best of all, the smile that lit her face when she won custody of me years later. Our story may not be one the people on the other side enjoy, but it is certainly one we rejoiced in.
Rubama Amreen spends her time bawling over fictional characters. Send help at [email protected]