I was barely into the second trimester of my pregnancy when I first told my then-husband that I was separating from him. I had not held a full-time job in 7 years. Our rent history, credit history, and low income had kept us out of large, amenities-laden apartment complexes and forced us to utilize dishonest landlords who took advantage of their tenants. Our then-landlord was a source of enormous stress to me and I wanted no more of it.

My dreams were simple:

  • A job with good benefits. Any job, just so long as it had good benefits.
  • A two-bedroom apartment in a nice complex for me and my children. I would share the master bedroom with the baby, and my daughter would have the second bedroom.
  • I would paint the walls of my room deep forest green because I found it soothing, and the baby would have a nice, sturdy crib that could be changed into a toddler bed when s/he got older. [1]
  • No more borrowing money from friends, no more “please send money” pleas to family.

It may sound pathetic, but at the time it was all I wanted—a decent roof over my children’s heads free from the stress of bad landlords, a way to provide for my family, and personal space that was entirely mine. But it didn’t matter how simple it was. Pregnant and unemployed, it was entirely out of my reach; any apartment complex I applied to me would have denied me based on lack of income alone.

Still I dreamed of it. I visualized it. I visited an apartment complex that I knew I couldn’t afford and asked to see their models. Those green walls with that crib in the corner, my children happy and taken care of… I wanted it. I prayed for it.

It’s been two years, and today I realized with a start that the dreams of that desperate pregnant woman came true. Every one of them. I share a master bedroom with my handsome son, who turns two at the end of September. He has a nice, sturdy crib/changer combo in the corner of my room; we just recently switched it from a crib to a toddler bed because the little troll finally learned how to vault the bars of the crib. The walls of the room are painted dark green, and I have artwork on it that makes it mine, like this lovely tribute to my son Constantine that my friend Mina Estévez did:

 photo constantine_zps3e51a6ed.jpg
Original artwork by Mina Estévez
 photo Constantine_Sofa_Table_zpsgxmotveu.jpg
Constantine playing in our room with the green walls.

My daughter occupies the bedroom down the hall, but the apartment is three bedroom instead of two bedroom because my brother lives with me. Yup; I was able to afford an even bigger apartment than the one I was dreaming of, and was offered it with the lowest possible security deposit for good credit. I have a baby emergency fund in savings to cushion me financially, and around $5k in empty credit cards that can be used in case of emergency.

So gradually have all of these things come to pass that I hardly noticed as they were happening. I’ve moved on to new dreams [2]:

  • Finish my MA degree (finally!) — [UPDATE: Completed in May of 2016]
  • Complete an HR certificate — [UPDATE: Finished in July of 2016]
  • Pass the PHR certification exam
  • Obtain a position that will give me more focus in HR
  • Save up for a down payment on a house
  • Start a Roth IRA for myself
  • Start ESAs for the children

Today I went to the local community college and picked up both my student ID and my textbook for my first HR certificate class, then I went to the TEDS Dean’s office and dropped off my revised thesis proposal.

Harper_TextbookIn chasing after my new goals, I’ve nearly forgotten how badly I once wanted the old ones. I wish I could travel back to two years ago, give myself a hug, and tell myself: “It’s all going to be okay. God has it under control and you will have the righteous desires of your heart.” [3]

Instead, I’m telling you. If you are a single parent who is struggling with the necessities of life, don’t lose hope. Dream, set goals for yourself, pray, and go forward. Dreams can come true.

—————————–

[1] I chose not to learn my baby’s sex in utero and did not know at the time whether it would be a boy or a girl. 
[2]
 I would like to get remarried, but I can’t say this is a “goal.” It’s something that will only happen if I meet someone who has similar goals and values and is going to support me in obtaining my dreams, not something that I want to make happen for the sake of happening.
[3] I’m not implying that God is some kind of genie who grants wishes, or that I’m a particularly righteous person. But I think wanting a way to provide for one’s family and earn a living is generally a godly desire, like saying, “God, please make me a Proverbs 31 woman.”

6 comments on “A Single Parent’s Dreams”

  1. It is tentatively titled, As God is, Woman May Become?: Women and the Mormon Doctrine of Exaltation. Originally it was a broader exaltation thesis, but I needed to narrow the topic.

  2. Good luck on your thesis, I hope that you can complete it soon and get your MA.

    And, congratulations/excellent work on getting yourself into a good place with your job, finances, and living arrangements.

    • Thanks David!

      The truth is, I will probably get the MA in May 2016 one way or another. If I’m not showing consistent progress towards the thesis in the next few months (10 pages per month), I have made myself a promise that I will switch from the thesis-track “MA in History of Christianity in America” to the non-thesis track “MA in Theological Studies.” I’ve decided not to pursue a PhD, and future employers are never going to care that my resume says HCA over Theological Studies. They will just see “religious master’s degree” for either one.

      I want to do the thesis for me though, so I will keep going and evaluate my progress by the end of September.

      I have a blog where I talk about my thesis progress week-by-week, btw. But it’s pretty boring: http://thesis3.wordpress.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *