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A gift for me

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Single mamas don’t get a lot of gifts. Don’t get me wrong, my kids have done their best to give me birthday and Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. And I cherish those. But there is no one to round up the kids and supplement their money to take them shopping. There is no one to take the family out for a nice meal or to bring me flowers. And so on.

For a lot of years, this was really, really hard. Those holidays were hard, especially when the kids were young and truly didn’t do anything unless I guided them through it. And even now, it feels terrible to take myself out on those holidays and occasions.

Any other single moms here that can relate?

It’s Different Now

Five years ago, soon after we moved to Georgia, I decided to tip toe back into the dating world. I was lonely. The kids were getting older, more independent. But boy, online dating…terrible. I didn’t last long on any of the apps I tried – Bumble, Tinder and then Plenty of Fish. (I think that’s all of them.)

But I met him, the one. The one who last December asked me to become his wife. We met online 5 years ago this December. Met in person a year and a half after that. And hopefully, this fall, he will move to Georgia and we will set a date. We continue to see each other about once a month. Either he comes here, or I go there. (He’s currently living in Philadelphia.) This summer has been hard because his mom’s health has really gone down hill and he had to skip coming here for a couple of the planned months.

But last week, he surprised me. He called me up and he said he was sending me some money to go do something nice for myself. And I traipsed right out and did that – I got eyelashes and eyebrows. It’s crazy how the little things make such a difference to one’s self confidence.


Now he’s always been good to me. And done lots to show me how much he loves me. But we have kept our money completely separate. (We have a shared credit card that we use for the travel expenses, but he pays it off every other week or as needed.) This was the first time that he just sent me money. And to be honest, I just got off the phone and cried.

It wasn’t a large amount. But it was the thought. That someone did something just for me. No holiday, no occasion, he did it because he thought I needed it. And I did.

I am so blessed to be engaged to a man who wants more than anything to take good care of me, makes good financial decisions (he’s completely debt free), and loves me despite my flaws and failures.

 

A look back…7 years ago this month

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I recently wrote about how different life is these days. And then this popped up in my Facebook memories. What a perfect example of how different my life is now.

Phew, that look back just wears me out. How did I do all that?

The move to Georgia, 6 years ago this December put a stop to all of that. Our homeschool community disappeared. History Buff decided to remain in Virginia. And while we tried to keep up with Gymnast’ sport, it faded after our first full year here. It wss just too hard with the commute and the expense. Some of the changes are really hard to look back and see.

However…

The move to Georgia also has led to a lot of benefits that most likely would not have happened had we stayed in Virginia. First, we are close to family again. In fact, we stayed with my grandmother for our first 3 months back. For me, a child who had never lived near family, this was such a blessing. And something I always wanted for my own children.

The cost of living is less than a 1/3 for what I was paying in Virginia. For our 900 square foot apartment, I was paying $1,400 per month (before that almost $1,200 a month for the house my dad owned.) Here, I paid $600 per month in rent for our home and now $658 for our mortgage. (So grateful to finally have stable housing that is MINE. That has definitely been the biggest challenge since I became a single mom over 15 years ago now.)

Jobs…many BAD readers will remember when my work fell apart just a few short months after my dad asked us to leave the home we had rented from him for over 4 years. Almost 2 years of struggle and no real opportunities. And yet, on the day we were driving our last load from Virginia to Georgia, I received a full time job offer in a town over from my Grandmother with a $70,000 salary.

Georgia has been good to us.

The here and now

We (and I guess it’s just I now really) are in better financial shape then I ever have been since separating from my husband all those years ago. Stable income, stable housing and no crazy ups and downs. *knocks on wood

All this from a Facebook memory. There is a point though, if you are just starting on this debt free journey, and moreso, if you are a single mom who just can’t seem to get her legs under her, I’m here to tell you that you can and you will. And whether you know it or not, every dip and every high that comes your way is leading to something better for you and your kids. There is hope, just hold on.