If Anyone Has Earned The Pleasure Of Retirement, It’s This Single Mother

We drove it to Utah to attend my mother’s retirement party. My father left when I was 9, and luckily my mother started her job at the power company a year earlier.

She was a single mother. When I was a child, she worked two jobs: one collecting power payments and one cleaning houses. She had three children. Sometimes she came home late in the evening in sweatpants and an old t-shirt, a plastic cleaning bucket in her right hand filled with chemicals and yellow cleaning gloves, her hands wrinkled from scrubbing sinks. She’d set the bucket down, walk out to the family Blazer, and return with the dress she wore to her day job slung over her shoulder.

She worked long hours as a single mother to support her children. She once taught me how to make pancakes over the he phone while she was at work. She taught me a few things that way. Sometimes she stayed up late, after her long workday to make me do my homework, only to get up early the next morning and do it again.

Her job provided us with the necessities: housing, clothing, insurance, and food. I can’t say she loved the job, but we needed it. No doubt about it. So she got up each morning and did what she had too.

She did what all single mothers do.

She worked for the power company for 27 years. She worked there through my elementary, high school, and college years. She used the money she made to pay for my school clothing, and later to help pay for my wedding. When I was a young father attending classes, she helped pay for my children’s school clothing.

Watching my single mother showed me what it means to work really hard in this life. Watching her go to work each day showed me what it means to really care for your children. It was the embodiment of dedication, and although I often longed to have my mother there more, looking back, I learned what it looks like when one person is forced to do the work of two.

I am incredibly grateful for everything my mother did for our family, and if anyone has earned the pleasure of retirement, it’s this hard working former single mother.

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