Today I “celebrated” my 50th birthday. I was greeted at work with my favorite drink, a grande latte with two splenda’s and no foam and a blueberry scone (the danger of those carbs!!) along with a very thoughtful birthday card signed by everyone in our clinic. And as the day went on, I had sweet text messages and my Facebook family made their wishes known. One of our directors bought me lunch and another made it point to call even though he wasn’t near by for the day. As the day went on, I opened the mail to find beautiful cards from my dad and my aunt then ended my day at my favorite place to eat, The Woodshed, in Fort Worth near TCU with an amazing young couple that I’m helping coordinate their wedding in May. Over dinner, Jenny asked me what my proudest moment had been in the last ten years and I had to stop and think for a few minutes about all the events that have taken place during that time.
Once I had collected my thoughts, I began to explain. I was newly divorced when I had just turned 40, ten years ago. In the past ten years I’ve had to “survive” with three teenage boys and make sure they didn’t end up messed up because of what I had to go through with their dad. I also had to rediscover myself even though I didn’t have a clue who I was other than Max, CJ and John David’s mother because I had been a stay at home mom for 17 years. It took a lot of sacrifice on many different levels and all I could think about was my boys and how a divorce would affect them spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. Myself, a product of divorce, all too well knows how it affects your self esteem and how you view relationships and the thought of marriage.
Going back to that question of my proudest moment…I answered that there were three moments; when each of the boys graduated college. Growing up we had instilled in the boys that a college degree was not an option. One day they each of them would be husbands and fathers and in order for them to provide for their families, they needed to have a degree to do that. You see, I couldn’t pay for their college because if I paid for one to go to college, then I would have to pay for all three. I simply couldn’t do it. I was struggling to pay the electric bill every month. So what it boiled down to was that each of them would have to pay for their own college, even if it meant working and getting loans and those loans are easier to pay back with a degree than without one. Another thing I had in the back of my mind was if they were going to mess around and waste time, then it would be their own money they waste and not mine. Call a hard lesson, but yes, a life lesson. John David received his degree in 2015 from Oklahoma State in Marketing and Business Administration. CJ received his degree in Spanish and a certificate in Business from University of Texas in 2014. Max graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, summa cum laude, in Biology and Chemistry and is now about to begin his third year of dental school at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.
As I explained to Zach and Jenny tonight at dinner, a few months ago, my middle son CJ gave me one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received. He encouraged me to blog (even thoughI can barely write a sentence) about raising three teenage boys and the struggles that this single mother has had to overcome. He said the way I parent is an inspiration to him and that it will be to others as well. CJ went on to explain that I have three boys that all are grounded in Christ, have college degrees, never been in real trouble with the law, all have good jobs and beautiful young ladies that fully support them and all of this is something I need to be encouraging others that it can be done.
So as I say good-bye to the first 50 years of my life, I’m so sweetly reminded that those years were not in vain but that really hard times and really hard lessons produced some really good kids. If you know me, you know that these three boys are the world to me and I couldn’t be prouder of who they are…especially on the inside. I appreciate my family and friends for the encouragement over the past ten years. Each of you are a special part of my life that has brought each of my boys to where they are today. I’m forever grateful.