My father left for the final time when I was 12 years old. He had left us many times before, but this time, I knew it was forever. I had two younger brothers; 9 and 2 years old. We moved into a tiny rent house on the south side of town and life was pretty hard for us four, but we made it. We made it because we had a mother that was strong and had no intentions of giving up. She worked as a desk clerk at a large hotel in town and found two other jobs to go with it to make ends meet. Whenever the local baseball team had an in-town game, she would work the concession stand. Many nights and weekends, I would be sitting in the stands with my two little brothers while waiting for my mom to get off of work. I am not into sports at all, so you can imagine how boring this was for me. She also worked on weekends at the Country Club answering phones and greeting guests. When they would have an event at the club, she would work the coat check desk. Many times she would come home with a bowl full of change from her tips. She would let us count the money and how exciting it was when we would report that she had made $35.00! The money always went to pay bills or the rent. After a couple of years, she did get a job as secretary of our church that took the place of those three jobs. In thinking of those days, I’m always amazed how strong my mother was and to raise three children alone.
In thinking about my mom this Mother’s Day, I came up with 10 things that I learned from her as I watched her life as a young girl.
Ten Lesson’s Learned From A Single Mom
Take what life has handed you and make the best of it. When we moved into that tiny house, I’m sure my mother was scared to death. But, I didn’t know it. She took charge and we fixed it up the best way we could. So very thankful for my Aunt who could sew like a dream. She made bedding and curtains for our tiny house. My mother didn’t look for a way out, she made the best of a very sad and hard situation.
Excellent work ethic. My mother never expected anything from anyone. She worked hard at each job she had and she took it serious. I do not ever remember hearing her complain about having to go to work. I would hear her alarm go off each morning and she would then make sure we were up. She would have my baby brother at day care early each morning. He was usually the first one to arrive. I would get myself and my other brother ready for school and the long walk to the bus stop.
Be wise with money. Rent, bills and food took every penny my mother earned. When we needed clothes, my mother would put things on lay-a-way and pay weekly on them until we could get them. My Aunt would make many of my clothes and I also got to wear the clothes my cousin outgrew. What fun it was when my Aunt would call and say, “We just cleaned Rhonda’s closet out, come see if Beverly wants anything.” It was like a giant shopping spree! From my recollections, our electricity or water was never turned off due to non payment. My mother always met her obligations without complaint.
A Strong Faith! My mom put her faith in Christ about three years after we were on our own. She was 34 and our home changed completely the day she made Christ head of our tiny home. To this very day at the age of 78, she has never wavered in her faith and has stood strong in her beliefs. I would be fearful to know what would have happened to us all if she hadn’t invited Jesus to be the head of our home. Watching how my mom trusted and believed in Christ made me even more stronger in my faith. I saw something real and I saw something that I knew I had to have in my life!
Love people! As we started attending church, my mother began to find ways to serve others. She taught Sunday School to third grade girls. She worked on a bus that picked up children whose parents didn’t attend church. Many times she would even help dress some little ones so they could get on the bus. My mother would leave the house early on Sunday mornings to work the bus route and my bothers and I would get ready for church and the bus would pick us up. My mom always had a child in her lap and another one leaning on her and others standing in front of her talking away because they knew she loved them and listened to every word they said. I was with her recently when a adult man with children stopped and said, “Aren’t you Mrs. Fisher? You took care of me and my sisters on the bus when I was little.” Of course, my mom remembered him and each of his sisters. I can honestly say, my mom loves people and is interested in every detail of their lives. You should see her prayer journal!
Don’t gossip! When I talk to my mother about things from the past, she will tell me stories that I have to drop my jaw in amazement wondering how she carried on with her life knowing what people said to her and how they treated her. When I was young, she never said anything bad about anyone, even those that were unkind to her. I grew up in the church thinking everyone loved me and wanted the best for me, because, that is what she taught me. Needless to say, I loved them as well. When my husband and I were in full-time ministry and found out that there are some that are dishonest and cruel, she taught me to stand strong and that it breaks God’s heart, too. Because of my moms tenacity and steadfastness, I knew that we would make it because I could look back on her life and know that if she could do it alone, I surely could do it. My favorite story is about a lady that my mom sat by in church and when someone would walk by, this lady would tell my mom all kinds of stories about them and say things that weren’t very nice. My mom would just listen and think how awful to say such things until one day this lady said to my mom, “I’m so glad we are friends, we think just alike.” This lady had assumed that my mom agreed because she listened. Well, after that day, my mom never sat with her again.
Family is important! Even though our home was broken, my mom taught me that family was important and it was important to love and honor my husband when I married. She made sure I had teaching on the home, marriage and family. When I did marry, she loved my husband as if he were her own son. I am doubly blessed because my husband feels the same about her. Okay, triple blessed! Both of my brothers love and treat my husband as if he were their own brother, and he the same. The greatest joy that my mom has is when our family gets together for a meal or a holiday. When she has everyone together under one roof, she is the happiest. If one person is out of whack….that is heart wrenching for her. Family is everything to her!
Be content! Everyone has different gifts, likes and dislikes. My mom is on the quiet side unless you get her to talking about her Savior, God’s Word, Her kids and grandkids. When I was growing up, she didn’t do crafts, decorate, read novels, travel or play games. If Pinterest and Facebook would have been around, that wouldn’t even be on the agenda anywhere, any time, any how. She was busy working and taking care of three kids. If someone came around that talked about what all they do in the way of how they spend their time, she would listen all day and ask questions about them. She truly was interested in people and their lives and what they did. Never wishing she were them, never wishing she could have or do what they did. She would get just as excited to hear details of someones amazing trip or the new dress they bought. She was content in who she was and what she had. She never expected anything from anyone.
How you present yourself is important! My mom has always dressed well. Even when she had zero money for anything special. She always looked pretty whatever she was wearing. Her biggest luxury for herself was getting her hair done. Her hair was always perfect and still is. Our clothes were always washed and pressed. I still can hear her telling my brothers to tuck their shirt in when we were going somewhere. Even when I married and in full time ministry, she would make sure my husband had the best shirts and ties possible. How you present yourself is important, from your hair to your shoes. That is something that is ingrained in me for sure! Do I need to mention manners? We may have not known the proper social etiquette for things, but we did have manners!
Love your country! Mom has always stayed on top of the latest happenings in the world. You can ask her any question about our government and she will know the answer. She cares about the direction our country is going. She makes her voice heard with her vote. She reads things for herself to confirm her beliefs in something. She weighs issues with God’s Word. She taught me to love and honor our country.
Those are the 10 things that my loving, hardworking, single mom taught me while growing up. I could easily list 100 more, but, I will save that for another day.
Happy Mother’s Day to a very special mom! I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the single moms out there who work hard at making a home and a living for you and your children.
Do you know a single mom?
Is there something you can do for her to make her life a little bit easier on this Mother’s Day?