Nothing New Under the Sun

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A mother’s job in our society today is not an easy one. Please do not misconstrue my words and take this to mean that a father’s job is easier. It’s just that a mother’s job can be challenging regardless of the woman’s marital status. There are married women with children who face the same hardships as single mothers. This is the case when their husbands provide little to no support. Instead of the husbands sharing the parental responsibilities, they sidestep their duties entirely, leaving the wives to raise the children by themselves. Watching married women live unhappily in that condition allowed me to see just how fortunate I was to not have married any of my former boyfriends. Being a single mother was difficult enough, but marriage to one of those boyfriends would have made my job even harder.

Raising five boys has by far been the greatest challenge for me in my topsy-turvy life which seemed very normal at the start. I went from being a bubbly young girl full of dreams and aspirations to a perplexed teenager with five sons. My encounter with a certain married man at the age of twelve changed my life forever. One and half years later, I became pregnant and delivered my first son when I was only fourteen years old. Before reaching nineteen, I had given birth to all five of my sons. To make matters worse, both my mother and grandmother died tragically before my fifth son was born, and I was living on my own in a small two-bedroom apartment in the projects. I was a child forced to grow up with my sons. Furthermore, I had to guard against people trying to take advantage of me.

Amid my turmoil, the one thing that I purposed in my heart from the start, was to protect my boys. Their young hearts were gullible and had not been tainted by society. My boys loved me, and I loved them. I had carried them each for nine months—they meant the world to me. Thoughts of the streets taking their lives, tore through my mind. I got them involved in the local Boys & Girls Club at a very young age. There they played basketball, learned how to swim, and developed teamwork skills. I figured that if they stayed busy with sports, they would not have enough time to run the streets. Because my own mother had allowed my brothers to participate in the local Boys & Girls Club, I figured that my boys could benefit from it as well.

All five of my sons not only accomplished a lot in midget league and high school sports, but they also excelled in academics. Unfortunately, I missed out on most of their sporting events in their early years because I had to work two jobs to make ends meet. When I finally landed one decent paying job, I ended up having to work 2nd and 3rd shifts. This kept me from making their high school games. Despite missing their performances on the court and on the field, I never lose track of their grades during school. The competition between themselves not only drove them to excel in sports, but it also motivated them to achieve high marks in school. My mother had always stressed education, thus I stressed education to my sons. I planted and watered the seed of attending college in their very young minds.

No woman has ever had it as tough as me—or so I thought. I always imagined that my situation was unique, one-of-a-kind. There were no single mothers in this world, facing the same conditions as I had during my life. None of them had to raise five sons on their own. Imagine my surprise when I read online at MSNewsNow the Steve McNair: A mother’s memories article dated September 21, 2016. Steve McNair’s mother, Lucille McNair, was also a single mother who was forced to raise five sons on her own. Reading the article posted by Bob Burks made me both happy and sad. It made me happy because I could see similarities between both my family and hers. On the other hand, it made me sad because I could only imagine how it felt for her to lose one of her five sons.

In the article, Lucille described her five boys as “rambunctious.” She stated that they were always wrestling, tearing down their beds and having to fix them up again. I laughed when I read that part of the article, because it reminded me of the broken-down beds, holes in the walls, smashed light fixtures, and many other unanticipated home repairs that surfaced at the hands of my five boys. My boys were always wrestling, playing games in the living rooms and bedrooms, and laughing and joking with their friends throughout the house. Two boys roughhousing in the same house is hard enough, but imagine five boys roughhousing. I did everything that I could to keep them and their friends from tearing apart my only asset—my house.

Also in the article, she mentioned that all her sons went to college, which under those circumstances was a major feat. Similarly, all five of my sons attended college. The good Lord from heaven must have been looking down, watching over both sets of boys. My sons were not only fortunate enough to attend college, but each son graduated from college with two degrees to his name. I, on the other hand, while currently in my sixties, am still contemplating whether to finish pursuing my first degree. Why I am so hesitant to finish is beyond me, seeing that a college education served as the ticket to a better financial life for my sons and their families. Life has since taught me that not only is it important to get a good education but it is just as important to enact continuous learning.

Lucille’s gesture to buy each son a Bible before he went off to college, really touched my heart. Based on this action, she evidently saw the importance of all her sons taking the good Lord with them in addition to putting Him first. Such was the case, when I finally found a good Bible-teaching church. It was a short time after this discovery that I recognized the significance of all five of my sons hearing and learning the same words. My decision to make my five boys attend church with me was met with opposition from outsiders. Even so, I figured that it was essential for us all to learn truth together. True deliverance from my past came when I applied what I was being taught. The same word of truth from the Bible that delivered me could also keep my sons as they journeyed through life.

All things considered, I find it amazing that you can have two single mothers in separate parts of the country, each one giving all she had to raise five sons on her own. Lucille, like I, worked hard to create a home environment full of love despite the lack of money. Henceforth, I did my best to protect my boys and the loving atmosphere that existed between our four walls. Looking back, I can see just how much of myself I sacrificed in the name of love. As a single mother, I gave of my time, energy, finances, and heart to all my sons. Their successes became my successes. I truly believe the same thing applied in Lucille’s situation. Our two very similar families simply reinforce what the Bible says about there being nothing new under the sun.

 

Photo by Phinishing Touches LLC

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