MatchBack Monday: August 21

The sun isn’t up yet. Her alarm won’t go off for another 15 minutes, and although her eyelids want nothing more than to squeeze those last few ounces of sleep out, her mind is showered, dressed, and out the door. The day, as usual, promises to be a long-distance run. Not a 10k. Not a 25k. A full-on, 26.2 mile can-barely-breathe-I-never-knew-butt-sweat-was-a-thing marathon.  It will be a marathon that is planned out with the deft precision of a surgeon, because, well, necessity dictates it to be. Oh, and there is another marathon that must be scheduled for tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. In fact, if my math is correct, it will be a marathon for the next twelve years. When you are the single-mother to two young children, life does not take a vacation. Or a night off, for that matter. It usually can’t even sleep in on the weekends either.

She grew up in a two-parent household. Had a rather affluent upbringing. A second thought was never given to a new pair of shoes, and she wasn’t at all surprised when a car materialized for her sweet 16. She was spoiled, basically. After five years of dating, she married her high school sweetheart, ready to write the pages of her own happily ever after story.

And then it happened.

Seven years into her marriage, divorce somehow made its unhappy appearance.

Life. Suddenly. Became. Real.

Treading water might be the best way to explain the feeling. And the water’s not even calm. It’s choppy. Unfamiliar. And uncomfortably cold.

In many ways, she had to relearn how to live her own life. Find a healthy balance between work and home life. Adjust financially. Reimagine a budget. Never had the words “time is money” rang truer.

She is a MatchBack-er for all of the other single parents out there. Sure, it’s an added expense on an already limited budget, but she is willing to make those small sacrifices every week—a few less lattes or a pass on a pedicure—for the opportunity to help out another household just trying to keep their head above water. Because, as she knows all too well, life doesn’t always go as planned. Sure, she’s running a marathon, but that doesn’t mean she’s running it alone, and her anonymous gift means that someone else knows that they’re not running it alone either.