SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 194: “Thanks Mom, We Heard It… And It Went In.”

It’s around 10:00am, I have just come from teaching my spinning class, and with a client meeting planned for 1:00pm and not wanting to waste time commuting to my home office, I find it prudent to grab a seat at the corner coffee / WiFi house to write while catching up with business emails.

With Vanilla Frappuccino in hand I recline into my private bliss; and as the chill of icy beverage begins to take over my engrossed taste buds, I phase into kicked back typing nirvana.

I sink into cozy armchair heaven. My mind linking to my fingertips with dedicated focus. Yet through my thought blurred peripheral hearing, I notice the echo’s of business conversation.

Sitting directly across from me are several people talking about the business of disposing of hazardous waste, and something about the conversation is perking my attention.

Great, here comes a budding in scene, I can see it now, “Dude! Can you go back to your typing, were a little busy at the moment.”

I take self-inventory and pushing the fear of rejection deep to the back of my mind, I look up from my keypad. “Alright, let’s do it. Mind over matter,” I psych myself.

Meaning, “If they don’t mind my introducing myself, then my fear really doesn’t matter.” We’ll leave it at that… shall we…? No need to talk about the fact that they might hate me for being nosey… is there?

Here is a little more data for you to process before I go on. You have to know that I do my best not to profile the people whom I approach, and all in all, the greatest percentage of the people I have met thus far are the result of an in the moment outreach. Definitely the opposite of a planned target of controlled subject matter, an ethnic group or any researched situation.

Absolutely… some friends open up easily and other are guarded, but every time an interview ends, whomever I have spent time with expresses life stories that are impossible to profile. And, all depart empowered with a common gift, the gift of being heard.

From the comments I receive, it seems that the bulk of my new friends leave with a feeling of importance in being able to contribute to the unity 365 is striving to encourage: A claim that I feel mostly comfortable in hailing, and one that is ninety percent accurate.

Why ninety percent accurate?

To all light there is also darkness, and it would be painting the wrong picture to disregard the hundreds of rejections I have received and the occasional bad timing moments, like the scorning I received that one cold and windy night when Lawrence’s wife, “Stay Alive”, hit us both with, “I want to go home, NOW!”

Even with the occasional dart, I stagger not, and now as I write in yet another sleep deprived state, and with strangers in my midst I must stand strong, willing to be accepted or thrashed. “Yes…!” I can boldly exclaim, “I’m not stopping this crazy one-year journey.”

Off we go… “Excuse me, I promise I am not a stalking freak, but your conversation has grabbed my attention. I’m really not trying to be nosey, but I’m a photographer working on a documentary project in which…”

My words fall upon the ears of three, and in the end one stays to follow through with me, the incredibly inspired rock of successful single motherhood, Jodi.

“Wait…! Wait…! Wait…! Richard, I thought you said they were talking about business and solutions for protecting the environment. How did we get to single motherhood?”

I’m not really sure, but one thought jumps to reason, “Jodi’s personal message is meant to be heard.”

Jodi’s single mother status is due to a disassociated relationship with an x-husband, who choosing to cheat on her is less than involved in the upbringing of her two children, ages eight and twelve.

I won’t delve deeply into a character assassination of his actions, but I will tell you this, from what Jodi expresses, he is not doing his part in helping to nurture his kid the way a mature father would do. Let’s move on to Jodi’s story.

Opening up, Jodi speaks of her childhood and how it has influenced her parenting skills, “My parents wondered if their parenting went in, and now that I am a parent, I’m on the other side of carrying forward their council. I’ve made my share of mistakes, I was a difficult child, and as a parent I realize that their words did go into my head.

I was raised Catholic, and even though at the time I was a little wild, what my parents taught me about respect and the importance of values is the core to who I am today, and is the foundation to the way I teach my children.”

We talk of the role of parent in raising balanced and emotionally healthy children.

Jodi has an ironclad perspective on the responsibility of we parents, and being a single mom, her words have the greatest of impact in calling us to accountability.

“As parents we need to be sure our children feel loved, and we need to teach them morals, to not judge and to do their best to be kind to others. And to do so, we need to be that kind of person.

I’ve sacrificed a lot for my kids, and will always put them first. I don’t buy the both parents have to work bullshit, I’m a single mother and I’m managing to keep my kids safe. Bottom line, if a kid goes the wrong path, it falls on the parents.”

“The world is heading towards chaos,” Jodi predicts. Yet in her dark prediction, there is a great presence of hope. “Even though we see a lack of love in today’s world, no peace, gangs, kids being bullied in schools and abused in homes, there are still a lot of people who show great respect and are working to watch out for where we are heading.”

“I’ve learned that you have to look at what is in front of you. The cards that are dealt to you, and all you can do is keep positive and just deal with it. I’m very open with my children, and I teach them that life isn’t perfect, but that they can learn from life experience. And at the core of it is truth. I teach my kids that telling the truth is sometimes the hardest thing to do, but the right thing to do.”

“Love is the key to parenting. My kids are my life and I trust God to know that I trust him in guiding me.

“And my kids know I love them, I tell them that every night as I put them to bed.”

Jodi, we thank you for your courage in speaking out on parenting, we embrace you for your commitment to love, and we salute you for your raising your kids on your own.

You are the rock of single parenting and an icon of committed motherhood.

I’m certain one day your children will look back and say, “Thanks mom, we heard it… and it went in.”