Single parent, Maxine Foster, shares with us the challenges of raising a son with out a father.
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

How Can I As A Single Jamaican Parent Save My Son

I was born in Jamaica in a two parent household and so I figure I too would have a mate with children. I dreamt of being married, have my own home, children and being financially stable. But what I dreamt, fantasize about, somehow things did not turn out the way I desire, need it to be and should. My child father, a Jamaican and I departed from each other due to deception. I was left to raise a son. It was on a Monday evening when my son came home one day feeling hurt and irritable. He spat out words, “why don’t they respect me…I wish I was a baby.” I sat him down on our living room coach to inquire who was allowing him to feel this way; after he was calmed. My son sat in silence for awhile with his hands on his cheek as if the world was on his shoulder. Then my son shared his frustration and disappointment of a few students viewing him as some weak individual. “I don’t like to fight mom, he said.” It seems at ten years old, he was being single out, feeling the heat, tested as an initiation of his male rights of passage. I felt his pain and wished I could save him from the daily teasing, insults, and belittlement he endures. I wish I could protect him from children who are insecure, unloved and in pain projecting behavior as a bully. My Jamaican maternal instinct felt to just go and confront those young boys who try to place fear in my son. But I thought about the repercussions, negative consequences of my action, the children who are involved, their parents, and how my action would affect my son even more. I held my son hands as I see the hurt look in his eyes. My heart ached within; I wanted to cry, wished too he was a baby, he had a strong father figure and a older brother to teach him some of the ropes how to handle these bullies. Truthfully, a few tears was about to seep through my eyes as I become so vex within. I became angry at myself, at politics for not allowing me to confront these bullies and for choosing a mate who is non-existent in his life. I sat still missing yard, the trees, beach, food, stars at night and the fresh scent of flowers and the aromatic air. I held my tears back. I wanted to be brave for my son. I listen carefully then spoke in a firm yet gentle tone letting my son know that in my eyes I see a strong, courageous, intelligent young male. I shared with him that every bully has his day. I continue to encourage my son that I will be there; as long as I am given breath, for him, by him and that I love him unconditionally. Then I gave my gentle soul a kiss on his cheek with a long embrace. I don’t know if what I shared solve his pain but my son face began to relax. Then he smiled and said, “Mom don’t worry bout me…you are the greatest mommy and daddy.” As my son walked away from the living room where we sat, I felt so blessed and proud of him. I sat for a while in deep thoughts and then I pray. I wondered how can I save my son from hurt, danger and pain. Every mom I am sure get this nervous kind of feelings at the pit of their stomach when their child cry, ache, or get hurt. Our motherly instinct kick in, send warning sign that our children are in danger, in need of protection and we want to see our children safe, free from harm. And I am sure every male would say he is a boy, let him romp, learn, stand up and face (de bully)his peers. I am a single mom who loves my children dearly. But I was not prepared to be a single mom nor raise a son by myself. Most of all I am not prepared to see my son being bully, in any scuffle, fights, or any confrontation. Those ill behaviors are unacceptable to me but it seems there is no way out of it, he will be confronted, tested and proably be in a fight. Although my son walked away with a smile, deep down I know is self-esteem has been tackle, mess with, there is an uncertainty within and that he is not alright. Because every day he has to face those same children who are in pain who probably has no structure in their lives, never gotten hugs or unconditional love from their parents as my son and I shares daily. And so as he make his exit, standing erect, I struggle with this thought, even though I reassured my son to face his fears, that he is worthy, how can I as a single Jamaican parent save my son from bully hurting children.

About the author

MaxineFoster