Rhonda L. Thompson; M.A. Psychology, Crisis Intervention
Greetings from America Young Mums!!!!!
First off let me say, I am so grateful and happy to be a part of this incredible organization.
I was a young, single mother for the majority of my five children’s lives. I was married at age 23, already had a daughter who was four at the time, and I proceeded to have four more children with my now ex-husband. We were married for almost eight years, but I divorced him (MUCH longer story about THAT later).
When I got divorced my children were 2,4,6,8 and 13; and I was alone, newly divorced and scared to death.
I had a part time job and now had to find a REAL job to support my children.
The social services really did not help me much, but I was able to get into a public housing program and have a four-bedroom house that was $27 a month rent, which at the time, I struggled often to pay.
Among many things that were stressing me out, finances of course were huge. Then the Holiday’s came. I can remember feeling so worried about what would I be able to get my kids for Christmas, would I be able to make that Christmas meal like we always did, how was it going to be with no Daddy in the picture, would I be able to do this, will my kids be mad at me or think Mommy is mean and just won’t let Daddy around anymore, and many other thoughts and insecurities ran ramped through my mind on an hourly basis.
I felt guilty, afraid, unsure about my decision to leave, inadequate, stupid, selfish, sad, embarrassed, and had no idea what I was doing or how I was going to pull it off. Then I remembered my mother and asked her what to do; my mother did not get everything right raising me and my sister but one thing she always taught us was to go out of your way to create memories that matter. My mother told me to focus on creating memories, not giving presents. So that is what I decided to do. Create memories that matter.
We had many Christmas times in that project house but the favorite one still to date by my adult children is the one where we had nothing to give, so we decided to share and bless another family instead.
I told my kids I did not have money for presents that year and to my surprise, they came up with an idea to bless another woman and her three children from church and use the money I was going to spend on my kids and instead get presents for these kids who were their friends. My kids were so happy selecting presents for their friends and even more excited to give them to them.
After getting a few presents for the other family, I took my kids to the dollar store and we all bought Christmas tins and colored paper. At home I had the kids write letters and notes to every sibling telling how much they loved them and what they thought was special about each other and give it to them for Christmas. On Christmas Day we read the notes and letters to each other and we were happy. That year I could not buy food for a meal either and the school just happened to choose my family to bless and suddenly, a bunch of people came to the house delivering food and presents for all of my children!
What a true Christmas Miracle it was, and to date is still the favorite Christmas of all times, not because of the presents, but because of sharing something priceless with each other, love; and being present in each other’s presence.
In doing so, we created memories that mattered, just like my mother had taught me growing up. I learned a very important set of lessons that year, and the main one is this: