“It all seems ultra-important at the moment—but later we realize much was done at the extent of cultivating deeper and more meaningful relationships with those we love most. Being held hostage by the tyranny of the urgent is not how we were meant to live.” Charles R. Swindoll.
I sure am.
The years I struggled as a single mom I was under an insurmountable amount of stress. It wasn’t just child support or family support that I lacked, I was also stuck with huge amounts of debt I didn’t create. I tried to make the best of things, but I was often overwhelmed, exhausted, and grumpy.
Unwittingly, I placed more importance on finding a home for my family than the treasured place my kids held in my heart. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them.
It was for them that I sacrificed!
I was a woman on mission and my goals were to keep my kids fed and safe, to keep our family together, and to provide for them. But I had my parental priorities in the wrong slot.
With three teenagers and the family dog, it was nearly impossible to find an affordable place for rent close to the kids’ school. The rents were as large as mortgages. They had already been through so much I didn’t want to move them from their school.
Severely under-qualified to purchase a home, I kept hoping for a miracle and looked for a mortgage loan that would work. I finally found a loan officer—single mom herself—that made my dream come true. She assured me a loan. I rested on her every word. She filled out the forms and with the flick of her pen, my stats were fixed to fit the lending criteria. Voila! I became a homeowner! Starry-eyed over the prospect of feeling secure in one area of life, I signed the form, and nearly my soul, away. Interest rates were no object.
I began to house hunt and found a home in a safe neighborhood, close to the school. The only problem was that the home had been severely abused and neglected, and was in desperate need of TLC. Good thing I have always enjoyed a challenge. Any little time I had between and after my jobs, I was at the house working. Cleaning, painting, removing garbage. I replaced broken light fixtures with clearance items from Kmart.
One particular day, I went to work on the house as usual. I couldn’t afford a cell phone and there was no phone installed yet so it was hard to keep in touch with the kids. I nearly shed tears of joy when my daughter Hannah surprised me and brought over half a dozen blueberry muffins she baked. I hadn’t had any dinner and it was already late in the evening. I inhaled those muffins. After six weeks of gruesome work the house was ready for us to move in.
I thought I was doing well then just to provide a warm, safe home to keep our family together. My efforts were beyond noteworthy as I worked two, three, sometimes four jobs; but I was physically absent and terribly stressed from all the work. I was also emotionally absent at a time my teenage kids needed me as much as when they were small.
The house eventually looked great. But my relationship with my kids suffered. The kids and I were practically strangers after a few years.
In retrospect, I wish my priority would have been wrapped in keeping my relationship with my kids strong. I saw our situation then as one massive hurricane blowing through our lives, but figured once the hurricane blew through and we picked up the pieces, things would go back to the way they used to be.
Had I to do it again, I would be less worried about our home. I would rent a much smaller house than the one that took all my energy, strength and time just to pay the mortgage.
There is nothing more important than family. I found that out the hard way. My daughters are now adults with a life of their own. My son now lives in Heaven. My relationship with them didn’t recover the way I hoped. It took years for that hurricane to clear and for the pieces to be picked up. I would trade away just about anything to redo those years, but the years cannot be reversed. One can never get them back.
Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. I must add, hindsight is also sometimes much too heart-wrenching.
Please, don’t make the mistake I did. If you have kids at home, make them your priority, next to your relationship with God and your spouse. The years fly by and before you know it, they are gone and living their own lives.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.