My Little Sister Is A Single Mom — And A Big Inspiration

by Tia Hawkins
Courtesy of Tia Hawkins

Sometimes the observation of a moment can take your breath away. You know it’s coming and no matter how much you try and prepare for it, the actual moment itself just takes your emotions to a level you could have never imagined. That’s what I felt recently watching my baby sister, the youngest girl of four sisters and six siblings.

She’s the one you want in your corner for both a bar fight and birthing a baby. She has a big mouth but a bigger heart. She is unapologetically transparent in every situation and will stand toe to toe with anyone for those she loves. When you see a meme on social media with a group of females that says “there’s always one” — you guessed it, she’s the one!

Nobody has a perfect life, and ours was no different. We both became single moms before we could barely crawl out of our teens. I remember the struggle with one child, and have witnessed hers with two. While my single parent circumstances may have changed after my firstborn, my memory of that time in my life has never faded. It’s beyond hard and extremely challenging. I don’t know a single person whose lived it that could tell you differently. This isn’t a story of pity, though; it’s a story of resilience.

I married into the military over a decade ago, which moved me 500 miles away from “home”. About five years ago, my baby sister braved her way — but by herself — to do the same.

Courtesy of Tia Hawkins

Her reasons were different than mine, however; I moved for love, she moved for life. She left everything she knew, everyone she had ever known, and everything she had except for her sons. She was now closer to me but it was to start a new life for them! She knew her boys were getting older, the clock of their futures ticking like a time bomb. Realizing now or never, she made the move. A move that would require her to close her eyes and jump, because where she was going, she was also unsure. What she was certain of, though, is that where she was currently could never give them the opportunities they deserved.

My sister weathered the storm, y’all: fire and flames, statistics and broken systems. She did things scared and afraid with pain in her body and tears in her eyes at times. Like many other single moms, she has support in her corner, but is solo on the stage. This woman has raised two amazing boys on her own. Sacrifice after sacrifice, she has put their needs first and then their dreams second.

But on this day, she got to say she did something first instead of last. She sent her firstborn off to college — not just for his amazing grade point average (which he has, and that absolutely matters) but also for his dream, to play division 1 football. That hug she gave him hit different. I don’t know everything she said to him, or what was running through her mind, but I know in that moment I was so damn proud of her. I could see her tears of pride of course, as most moms have at this emotional and monumental time. I could also see what many moms don’t have, and that is … tears of relief. Being single mom of Black sons in the world as we know it is no easy feat … period.

Watching my baby sister kiss her baby — then witnessing her tears of relief because they DID IT, arriving into adulthood safely and successfully — this was one of the most magical moments I’ve experienced in my entire life.

Thank you, sister for letting me take this ride with you. You did the damn thing! You are an example for so many of what strength and perseverance looks like. Your message by example says to keep going even when you don’t think you can because it will all be worth it, (no not in the end) when it begins!

His future is bright — and you, my baby sister, are the sun.