Green letters on old wooden blocks (support, system)

Single Mom Slice of Life:
Who Is Your Role Model?

There is a woman, who knew me as a child, and thanks to the powers of Facebook, found me again after 16 years of silence. She is the woman who continues to call me on my bullshit, praises me on my kids, supports me when I’m down and considers me, and my kids, as her family. Her kids are my cousins, her husband is my uncle, and my kids are her family.

Aunt Sue was my mom’s friend – and even though she and my mom parted ways many years ago, her love for me and my kids has forged a bond that has lasted two generations.

I worried that because my immediate biological family is not the closest, who would be there for my kids, the way my Aunt Sue is there for me? I realized last night, my sons will have no shortage of people to turn to for love, support, and guidance in their lives.

Related: Our Story Begins: Who is Your Hero?

Two of my closest friends met while working at a university several years ago. A mutual hatred for that workplace caused us to leave our positions throughout the years. After we left, we stayed in contact with one another. We are – without a doubt – the worst friends ever. We don’t ask for help, we talk/text all the time, but though we live within a mile of one another, only see each other face to face about once every six months or so. When we do get together, no time has passed at all.

There are no judgments, no criticisms, no hurt or offended feelings. We readily admit our faults, support our extracurricular ambitions, and love, lecture, and build relationships with each other’s children. One of us is nearing the end of school to become a psychologist; another is building their own retail business; and one is a published author. Two of us are single moms, the third – a military wife – more often than not, acts as a single mom for obvious reasons.

Looking in from the outside, we couldn’t be more different. Our backgrounds, our histories, our upbringings were vastly different. Our economic status’ are leaps and bounds from one another. Our personalities, lifestyles, and looks just don’t match on paper.

In life though, it is those differences, those distinct contrasts, that bind us together. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since we’ve physically seen each other, it doesn’t matter that our only form of communication some weeks is a single text message. We are there for one another, and we are there for our kids.

Read more: 10 FROM GEM: 10 Ways to Practice Random Acts of Kindness

We were together this past weekend, and between the wine, laughter and tears, no one – mom or child – was safe from the spotlight. Lectures included not asking for help when a son has been hospitalized, not putting full effort into schoolwork, having a bad attitude in general, not taking time to experience life instead of just living it, remembering it’s ok to mourn a loss… and so on and so forth for hours.

There were no hurt feelings. Embarrassment maybe at times, uncomfortable acceptance to be sure, but in the end, there is the knowledge that we push because it comes from love, support, and a need to keep our family – our odd, different, and clearly adopted family – together.

Read more: Tales from a Twin Mom: Text Messaging After Having Kids

On the drive home, my fear that my kids would not have their very own Aunt Sue was laid to rest. They not only have the original Aunt Sue, they also have their very own Aunt Shawna, Aunt Jen, and a whole set of cousins that have a bond of their very own.

What about you? Do your kids have a support system you know will always be there for them? Do your kids realize what they have?