Three years ago, I made the decision to be a single mom. I left the babydaddy. I moved back in with my parents. And I raised my daughter without a father. Looking back, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but looking at my daughter today, I know that it was the right one.
Three years ago, my mother sat me down for the only heart-to-heart talk we have ever had in the 25 years of my existence and she practically begged me to reconsider. Henry is a good guy, she said. Syrena deserves to grow up in a family that isn't broken, she said.
A family that isn't broken, but that isn't full of love, either? No, thanks.
See, what I never told my mother is that I had witnessed Henry strike my 2-year-old like she was a fly that needed to die. What I never told my mother is that I once locked myself in the bathroom after he hit me and I spent a good hour texting my friends, trying to get them to "rescue" me. (No one did.)
What I never told my mother is that I was starving myself, living off of Skyflakes and boiled water (yes… not even real water… faucet water that I boiled and then stuck in the fridge), so that I could pay for the bills because Henry was no longer helping me pay for them.
What I never told my mother is that I had to leave the apartment whenever Henry texted because his new girlfriend was coming over and then, when they left, I would go into our bedroom and sleep on sheets that stank of sex and cigarettes as the new girlfriend left her makeup brushes on my dresser and on my washing machine and posted things on Facebook like her travel plans with my daughter's father.
A man who has money to travel with his girlfriend, but doesn't have money to feed his child? Yes, it was time to stop fighting it and just pack up and go.
Now, three years later and still living with my dad, you could say that I took a few steps backward, but I didn't. I moved out of the house as a teenager and lived alone for a good chunk of my younger years and I have been working various jobs since I was 15; so, if anything, I'm just making up for lost time.
And as for my daughter? Well, she was able to grow up with my dad as her dad and everyone knows my dad is the bestest. :p
Aside from that, I got to raise her the way I have always wanted to raise my children: in a non-spoiled, utterly independent way that her father always disapproved of.
And the best part? While her dad may have opted out of our lives because he was not ready to have her at the time when we did, Syrena now has the freedom to choose her own dad.
pink boots from SM Department Store
Until then, however, I am enjoying my time with her. The two of us against the world. As Stitch put it, "It's little, and broken, but still good." And I wouldn't have it any other way.