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'I am a rich man'

April 18, 2018

Every girl wants her “white picket fence.”

 

You know, the fairy-tale life that’s portrayed in movies, the one where the guy falls in love with all the girl’s awkward quirks, and they live happily ever after with their two perfect kids and beautiful ranch home with the white picket fence.

           

Maybe I just described what I was taught to believe I should have.

           

Maybe it is what I want, but I’m tired of people telling me that it’s “bound to come along soon enough.”

           

Because what if it doesn’t? Does it make me a bad person because I had a child out of wedlock and am continuing to raise him as a single mom?

           

You see, I was born and raised in the Catholic church, where it’s considered a sin to have sex before marriage and a sin to have a child out of wedlock.

           

Oops.

           

Obviously, it’s not like I planned it. I met my son’s dad here at UT in 2013, and two years later, I became a mom.

           

The day my son, Vinny, was born was the best day of my life. Vinny’s dad and I didn’t work out, so Vinny and I were forced to move in with my mom.

           

It was weird at first. Being a single mom was never something I wanted or something I saw for myself. I was taught I was going to hell if I wanted to be a single mom, so I wanted my white picket fence.

           

I soon became resentful of the comments. Everyone seemed to have so much sympathy for me.

           

“It has to be hard being a single mom living with your own mom,” some would say.

           

“Oh, Sam, I’m so sorry you guys broke up,” others would say.

           

The best comment was from my brother: “It just looks kind of sad that he left, and you had to move back in with mom with your kid, you know?”

           

No, I don’t know. Why does it look kind of sad? Why aren’t my friends and family happy that I’m a single mom, free to raise Vinny however I want? What if I want to be a single mom now?

           

I wonder if it’s because it’s not the norm that I grew up with.

           

I don’t believe it should be something that I should be made to feel abnormal for, though.

           

I love being dependent on myself, and moving back in with my mom has some awesome advantages.

           

As a devoted grandmother, she’s willing to watch my son whenever she’s available.

           

That alone has allowed me to get back to school, work and even have occasional time with my friends.

 

My mother is a very strong woman as well. We lost my dad 10 years ago, but instead of turning toward new love, she accepted being a widow and relied on her faith in God to bring her through the turmoil.

 

Now, she helps other widows and those suffering from grief, setting a good example for me, as watching her affirms that I can, in fact, be a mom and a dad to Vinny.

 

I’ve learned that I don’t need a man in my life to be happy. My son is a vibrant, happy, healthy two-year old, and I’m a year away from graduating. Living with my mom allows me to save money, too, so I’ll be better prepared when we finally do get back out on our feet.

 

Most importantly, I’ve learned to trust myself.

 

I’m doing everything my own way, at my own pace, for both Vinny and I, and I’m proud of that. I could have crumbled. I could have sunk without my mom’s help, but I didn’t. I fought back, and I continued to climb.

 

So, for the next person that tells me I need to find a rich man to marry, I’m just going to quote singer Cher when she said in a 1996 interview that her mother told her the same thing.

           

 

“Mom, I am a rich man,” Cher said.

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