For eight years, single mother Manndi dealt with feelings of guilt over her divorce. One day her young son leaves a note on the kitchen counter, teaching her not all is as she imagined.
Early one evening, I was preparing dinner (really more cleaning out the fridge and concocting my world-famous specialty, Left-overs Extraordinaire). I happened to look over to see my youngest son’s schoolwork spread out all over the kitchen counter. As I started to tell him to move his things, something caught my eye. It was a light blue post-it note, showcasing my 9-year-old’s very distinct handwriting. The message read: ‘My mom got married.’
Intrigued, I asked, “Waylan, what is this note for?”
My sweet boy excitedly explained, “Well, after coming back from winter break, Mrs. Gray told everyone in class to write one special memory from their vacation on a post-it note, so she could read them.”
During winter break, my sons visited their Grandparent’s farm in Iowa, where they enjoyed abounding snow, watching a major football game with their out-of-state cousins, riding the gator, watching movies, making cookies, and creating precious boyhood memories. Upon returning to Missouri, they stayed with my parents, which is always entertaining, complete with days full of reading, crafts, movies, Grammy’s home-cooked lunches, and Pops’ random adventurous outings. Not to mention, well…Christmas.
Of all the events my son could have highlighted to his teacher, he chose to share that his mother got married. I was touched…and amazed.
The little blue post-it note will forever be a priceless treasure to me. There was a time I dealt with deep embarrassment that my sons had to live with the stigma of having divorced parents.
Attending pre-school holiday parties solo or having to explain to the school office staff that our boys have two different households, asking that parent-teacher conference paperwork be duplicated, providing one copy for mom, and the other for dad.
Not to mention, other children not understanding why my sons made two Christmas presents for each parent’s home, while they only made one because their parents lived together. I could go on and on about the situations over the years that most likely affected me more than my children.
Tonight, as I talked to Waylan about how meaningful his note was, he matter-of-factly said,
“Well, Mom. Not many kids my age get to see their parents get married. It’s special.”
And just like that, in mere seconds, my youngest child, my baby boy, unwittingly wiped clean a slate of guilt, worry, and apprehension I have felt for the past eight years, identifying as a divorced single mother.
My son is simply happy to see his mom…both of his parents…happy and no longer searching this earth for a partner with whom to share the rocky and resilient roads of life. My joy was his joy.
As a Christian, I was taught from a young age that Jesus desired a relationship with children and often beckoned them to his side during his vast teaching ministry. Their innocence, generosity, and pure, altruistic desire for others’ well-being is something many of us lose as we mature. I am not sure what I did to deserve two boys with hearts so pure and full of selfless love, but I could not be more proud, grateful, and honored to be their momma.
If you find yourself feeling the guilt of life situations and worrying about how it affects your children, I urge you to talk to your kids about this. It could just be that the guilt you feel is completely absent in the heart of your children. After all, the greatest gift we can give to our sons and daughters is to love them, despite all of life’s difficulties, and provide a happy, healthy, and safe home in which they can seek refuge from the world beyond their front door.
About the Author - Manndi Wilkins
Manndi Maphies Wilkins works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy and as a freelance writer in her spare time. Her greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two sons, William (11) and Waylan (9). Her sons never fail to provide daily entertainment, inspiring many of her writings.
She also loves to write about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one, and starting over. Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor.
“Live a life worthy of writing about.”
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Thank you Manndi for your story. You’re a strong woman and I was inspired how you handled your challenges in life. Make your kids understand and love you more.