By Kischa Pena
I used to say, “If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” If a person were able to change things they had done in the past, obviously it would affect their outcome. You wouldn’t have the children that you so deeply love; the family you do everything you can to care for. As a single parent, it seems like the right attitude to have. However, when I considered all the tests and trials I have endured, overcome, and sometimes failed, I began to rethink my old philosophy.
If I could go back and make changes, I would keep my legs closed. I would be more careful and conscious of the decisions I made. Looking back, premarital sex has caused me so much heartache and pain. I thought that I was showing love and being loved but, once the act was over, I felt the same. I was still alone. Now that I have a child, he and I are a team. But there are times I still feel alone. His dad is around when his conscience gets the better of him. He wasn’t raised with a loving mother and father in the home. So, it is hard for him to understand the benefits of something he has never had. I thought that I was being mature by having candid conversations with him about the consequences of sex. What if I get pregnant? Do you want children? What would you do if I became pregnant? Of course, the answers were always promising and comforting. He’d say, “I’ll be there.” After 8 years, raising my little boy alone, I’m still waiting for him to “be there”.
In a perfect world, I would be married to the father of my child. I mean, who gets in a relationship, gets emotionally attached, allows themselves to become vulnerable, anticipating it not working? Its especially easy to fail if you aren’t aware of what it takes to make a relationship work to begin with. Who wants to be a statistic and raise their children only able to meet half their needs, or being the burden bearer of every issue, big or small? If my desire was to be a single parent, I would really question my abilities to be a parent at all. Parenting is not the situation for me to boast I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E. What I wouldn’t give for consistency and partnership in raising my child (not to mention the dual income)!
Dating as a single parent is another skill set I haven’t mastered. I am overly cautious about who I bring into contact with my son. I don’t want to be one of those revolving-door women with men coming in and out of his life. So, how does one do it? No… Really, I’m asking. Finding someone who understands and is willing to take on the task of raising a child that is not his own is often discouraging. They all want me but I have yet to find one I want, who is genuinely interested in my child. We’re a package deal! I believe that without the aptness to love him, a man couldn’t possibly begin to love me. I see the longing my little boy has for a consistent male figure in his life. It hurts to see him clinging to every male that walks through our door, be it family member or platonic friend. He yearns for male companionship and very few are able to give it.
So what am I doing in the meantime? I pray. I keep him involved in social activities. He plays soccer. He is a boy scout. We’re in counseling together. But when all of those things end, we go home by ourselves. I am the disciplinarian and the nurturer. I comfort and keep things under control. I dry and create tears. In his eyes, I can be both the good and bad guy. Dad is never the ‘bad guy’ because all he wants is his love. At times it feels like I am a punching bag taking all the hits. I know that even households with both parents have this experience. But after years of doing this by myself, I would love to just be the Mom.
So yes, if I could go back and change the hands of time, I would. He doesn’t deserve the consequences of my poor decisions. He didn’t ask to be the reminder of my lack in judgment. He has suffered from my actions. He has challenges because I wasn’t more responsible with whom I chose to give my body. We suffer because his dad struggles with knowing how to “be there”. Can you see why I feel like I should have done things differently? Not for myself but for my child. I would not, however, change the single largest lesson I have learned, even for a moment! Keep my legs closed and my eyes open. You see, I’ve come to one other conclusion: wishing you had done things differently doesn’t necessarily mean you were a bad person or parent the first time around. It means you’ve grown from your experiences and matured in your decision making processes.
Contributing Writer/Co-Editor, B.L.O.G. Magazine
Kischa has a passion for positive expression through writing and music. She studied Business Management through the University of Phoenix at Axia College. She is an active member of United Voices of Efland, a non-profit organization in her hometown of Efland, North Carolina and a Greensboro TraCS Community Advisory Board Member. Her most important role is being a single mother to her 8 year old son.Although Kischa has been living with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for the past 8 years of her life, she doesn’t let that stop her desire to help others in need. Actually, it has ignited a fire within. She is currently starting an ongoing clothing drive for families in need, as well as beginning her own non-profit to promote reading and writing proficiency amongst teens.