A Tribute to My Single Mom
By Caitlin Trebil
When I was almost three, my father died from Leukemia and left my mom to raise two young children. Being so young, I don’t have a specific memory of when I knew my dad was dead. I remember laying in bed with a picture frame and crying that my dad wasn’t around. It was a picture frame with the Disney princesses around it and inside the frame was a picture of me and my dad in the hospital a few months before he passed. It felt like the only thing I had left of him. The only person around to console me was my mother. Ever since then, my mom has done whatever she could to give me a “normal” life.
My mother made an effort to move forward with us after my father’s death. Eight months after he died, my mom moved out of her condo into her first home. Instead of having a husband to share that pivotal moment with, she had two small children. It was a small house surrounded by some schools, but it was perfect for me, my sister, and my mom.
I honestly didn’t see my family as any different than my friends’. My mother did everything she could to make me feel like I belonged. She made sure every birthday party I had was just as lively as my friends’. While I didn’t get some things that I wanted or expensive toys, she taught me to be grateful for what I had. She was there when I cried over my dad and she was the person I held onto for dear life when I had to start kindergarten. I never wanted to leave her. In my mind, I only needed my mother.
My mother worked full time when I was kid and I was fortunate to have my grandparents live so close. While kids in my class were talking about how their moms were picking them up, a part of me was hurt that my mom couldn’t be there. After school, my grandparents would pick me up and I would go to their house, play piano, do homework, and then watch cartoons waiting for my mom to get off of work. I would sit on the bed upstairs and watch my mom show up in her white minivan. I would run down the stairs and sit down on my mom’s lap, her famous Van Cleef & Arpels perfume making me feel at home.
Even with these long days, my mom still managed to be a present figure in my life. She made it to every talent show, soccer game, and piano recital I had. She was that embarrassing mom who clapped extra loud and shouted “Go Red” so loud that it’s engraved into my mind. She somehow was able to take me and my sister to Disney World, which as a kid, made all my dreams come true. She had little time for herself but never made it seem like that.
Her constant support was apparent in my entire childhood. Whether it was making All-stars in soccer, National Honors Society in middle school, or the Varsity field hockey team, she was there for it all. She was even there when I failed geometry and chemistry all within a span of two years. She found me a tutor and told me I’d be able to get through it even if I had to go to summer school.
Her life has been full of endless sacrifices so that I could have the opportunities that she didn’t.
When it came time to apply for colleges in high school, she was determined to give me something she didn’t have: a college degree. At the time, I thought a four-year university was the only route to go. As I started doubting my options, she was the voice of reason when it came to going to a community college. I wasn’t sure what my major was going to be and this way I could explore different courses and save some money. My mother was the driving force behind my education and I haven’t thanked her enough.
Mother’s Day has always been special to me. My family has a tradition of waking up early and going to Ruby’s Diner to celebrate the women who raised me, except, in my opinion, my mom deserves so much more.
I know she would do anything for me. She has proven that time and time again by always being by my side and standing up for me. She’s pointed out when I’m wrong and helped me through my struggles and failures. She has provided me guidance, support, and love and I only hope one day I can do the same.
Although their stories may differ from mine and my mother’s, there’s no doubt about the sacrifices single mothers have made for their children. They deserve credit and praise for everything they do. So, this Mother’s Day, go out, thank your mom and give her a hug.