Twenty three homes is a lot for any child to adjust to. That is how many my eldest child went through and her siblings experienced many of those moves along the way too. Different schools and teachers, sometimes even two different kindergartens. The hard tasks of having to make new friends after leaving beloved ones behind along with all the other adjustments that go with a child moving to a new area. Moving so often is just one of the many difficulties I wish I could’ve changed for my children. Luckily, my children were bright, personable children that adapted well to the new environments. I tried to make each home welcoming and warm feeling, but it wasn’t always easy or feasible.

Money was always tight around our house. Many activities that other children took for granted were not possible for my children. There was always food on the table to fill a tummy, but it could of been healthier fare. The kids would get their favorite shoes like their friends had, but half of the cost would be their own. They learned to work and save for things they wanted. It was hard to watch families go on vacations far away. Our trips were twenty minutes away camping in an old Army tent. It was quite a sight but we always managed to have so much fun. We all loved to fish and laugh around a campfire late into the night. We found adventure where we could.

My marriage situations were a big stressor for the children. There were many ups and downs in their lives because of this, but fortunately they grew up to be capable, loving adults. I am not saying my children were/are without fault, they are human after all. But I am very proud of them. Through their lives they have been blessed with role models that included family, teachers, friends, and coaches. I believe this made a huge difference in how they grew up. It is hard to watch other youth who struggle finding their way in the world. I wish for a different route for them…one that would include wonderful mentors like my children had.

Adjusting to situations in your life that you have no control over as a child must be very frustrating. Through all my mistakes as a parent, I am proud that I did endeavor to show my children that no matter our life situation we were luckier than many others. Someone always has it tougher than we do. It is up to us to make our situation better. Unfortunately, sometimes life really isn’t fair. What we do with the “cards we are dealt in life” is what forms the kind of adults we become. It wasn’t always easy for me or them to do, but we did make it through some rough times. Most times for the better.

Many times my heart has swelled in pride over something my children have said or done. As a parent it is easy to be hard on ourselves. Those moments we remember situations where we could of handled a situation so much better than we did. In fact, we probably couldn’t of handled our actions any worse than we had. But occasionally we are told something from them that makes us not only proud of them but proud of ourselves, despite the past things we wish we could of done differently. One day my son Michael told me that he had described me as a survivor. He mentioned times when he knew how hard it was for me to take a handout. But he said he had been proud of how I had handled that, and also that as soon as I could I stopped taking the help. My heart was so touched that I had given my son that reason to be proud of me. The most pride though that I feel is that my children are also survivors. We have our scars, some we still carry deep inside, but we know we can go through some dark times and come out in the sunshine again. We are not perfect in any way. A lot of bad choices have been made, but we have done it! I think we all can do it if someone reaches out and takes our hand, believes in us, but most importantly it is up to us to choose not to be a victim… but be a survivor.

Published in Bottom Lines News and Views March 20th, 2019

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