I apologize for my brief pause in writing flow. Although I write about a variety of subjects, I try not to write unless I feel inspired by the Spirit. For me, when I write under the unction of the anointing of God, it makes what I do easy. I don’t want to do or say ANYTHING without Him. The truth of the matter is that I have no earthly idea who’s reading this blog at any given time but I do know that the human experience is a painful one. I want the words that I speak to give life because they come from the Giver of Life!
Having said that, I’m BACK and I’m excited to write about this subject. Most women in general but particularly single mothers know all about being “the bigger person”. We’ve heard it time and time again. We’ve had to bite our tongues in doctor’s offices, classrooms, jobs and even our own families.
Who isn’t tired of being the bigger person?
Well, I’m here to testify that being the bigger person, when it comes to raising your children does have a reward.
I’ve never been shy about detailing the good, bad and ugly aspects of my relationship with Marc, the father of my two children. Thankfully things are so much better than when we first begun but my relationship with his family has always been a source of tension for us. Although the nature of my relationship with Marc didn’t exactly lend itself to my being in their immediate good graces (after all, I didn’t realize I was “the other woman” at the time) I did my best to make myself known and establish myself as a mature and well raised young woman around his family. I met his mom. I sat down in her home and talked to her. I minded my manners. And she responded in kind. I didn’t realize that while I thought I was giving a “well mannered and respectful” impression to them, some in his camp thought of me more as stuck up, snobbish and uppity. Who, ME?! I know…I can hear y’all gasping. lol! A couple of years ago, I had the same reaction. I didn’t think I came off as stuck up or uppity. I was respectful. I said, “Yes ma’am and no sir” when appropriate. I did and said all the right things.
There was just one problem.
I was fake as hell.
Yep, I said it.
I didn’t do it because I truly loved or respected his side of the family. I did it because I had a point to prove. I wanted to prove to them and to HIM that I was a cut above any woman he’d ever brought home to them. Maybe I was but my attitude SUCKED. But God is the ultimate Attitude Adjuster!
I know fake is a harsh description to use but I used it intentionally so that we could all get a little jolt of reality. When it comes to loving God and loving people, it’s not enough to be polite and well mannered. It’s about more than knowing what to say and what tone to use. Who cares what you say when you don’t even mean it? We underestimate our human ability to detect sincerity.
After a run in with Marc’s sister that resulted in my being cursed out by her and my removing the kids from her care, I pretty much stopped being around Marc’s side of the family. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen or spoken to his sister. However, I still see his parents at least every other month or so. The kids also see their grandparents quite a bit because when they’re with Marc on the weekends, he usually takes them by their house.
That’s another thing.
When I decided to be “the bigger person” when it came to visitation, the walls of resentment started tumbling down. I had to make a decision within myself to stop being so spiteful and coming up with any ol’ excuse to justify the children not spending time with their father apart from me. The truth of the matter was that I was still grieving the loss of my relationship with their father and it pained me that he wanted them and not me. That’s just about as honest as I can make it. But I decided that I wasn’t going to let his love for his children nor his desire for a relationship with them and his apparent rejection of me define my life. I’d give him what he wanted and turn a negative into a positive. Now, I look forward to his weekends with the children. I take it as a much needed break from the constant sensory overload of caring for two young children. Twenty four hours of a quiet home does WONDERS for the nervous system. It gives me time to reflect, organize, deep clean (*smile*) and just RELAX. Before, I thought withholding visitation was a way to somehow get back at him for not helping me financially and for breaking my heart. Maybe it did get at him a little. But it was costing me and our two children an awful lot.
Oh, and not to mention it was costing me my reputation with his family.
“Baby Mama’s” already have a hard road to hold and a reputation stuck to them like glue. I wasn’t helping matters by exercising my reign of bitterness on their father. I had to realize that he deserved criticism for his immaturity, his mistakes and his lack of financial support. But he, as much as I deserved to be their father. I often told myself and others, “He aint my daddy!”. I know that sounds flippant but it’s actually a lot deeper than that. The meaning behind it is that I had no right to judge him as a father. He didn’t belong to me, but to my two children and they both had the right to know, love and enjoy their father on whatever level he was able to give them. It wasn’t my right to deprive them of the father he was willing and able to be. Sure, I wanted him to be MORE but it wasn’t my right to say that because he couldn’t give them more, they couldn’t have any. That’s when I decided to start packing their little overnight bags and sending them to their dad’s house.
Now, the visitation isn’t perfect. Most times he arrives too late or ends up asking me to drop them off myself. Occasionally he complains of not having enough money to feed them or buy gas but we work it out and keep it moving. I don’t scream, yell or fuss about it. I’m no longer acting as if I’m a police officer. If he’s able to take them for the weekend, I let them go. If not, I let him do the explaining to his two children who are old enough to dial his number. I also do my best to cheer them up and prepare them for his next visit. Bottom line is that through the imperfection, we’ve reached perfection. I cover him and now, surprisingly, he covers me when it comes to his family and their opinion of me.
Which brings me back to the reward of being the bigger person.
Today, Matthew enjoyed a Grandparents Day Luncheon at his school with both of his grandparents.
Not my side of the family.
Marc’s side.
I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised and shocked by their willingness to come. But Marc asked them and they did. Why did they do it? It was because I sowed a seed to be a bigger person and to rise above the negativity and to remain consistent in it. At the time, I didn’t feel like it was worth it but when the truck rolled up to my driveway a couple months ago carrying much needed beds for Matt & Cait from their grandparents and when his grandparents eagerly accepted the invitation to attend Grandparents Day at his school, I knew my harvest was coming in.
And to see the smile on Matt’s face and to hear him talk about how he hugged his granddad at school and sang songs with them…
I gottta tell ya..
It was worth it all.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.