Four years into my single parent journey, an email landed in my inbox asking me to take part in Gingerbread’s centenary celebrations and I knew we had to get involved.
I found Gingerbread in the toughest moments of those early days. The days when all I could do was focus on getting through the next hour, trying to maintain some semblance of normality for my little girl. Though I had a relatively uncomplicated road into single parent life, the loneliness and feelings of failure were always there.
Single parent, complete family
There’s a stigma attached to being a single parent, a sense that something is broken. It’s difficult not to feel like your family is lacking something, waiting for the other half of what makes you a whole family. Gingerbread was the first place I found people who looked at our two-sided family unit as something complete. To say thank you for the support and reassurance Gingerbread offered us, I wanted our #Raise100 challenge to be a celebration of all the things we’d overcome, and show the world that we can do anything, just me and her.
New skills, new places, new challenges
I chose to walk 100km across Yorkshire, from the city where I found out I was pregnant, to the place we both grew up. We spotted birds and flowers, climbed hills, crossed rivers, battled the elements and took numerous detours from the route we planned. We walked, ran, jumped, danced and sang our way through the long miles, alongside the people who had been there for us since the day she was born.
For me, taking on this challenge was a significant milestone. I proved to myself that I could cope with whatever curveballs came my way, but more than that, I saw that I am providing everything my daughter needs, raising a strong, curious girl who has empathy and kindness for everyone she encounters.
For my fierce 4 year old, it was an adventure, a chance to discover new places, revel in nature and learn to read a map:
”When I heard I could control the map I went crazy! I learned how to find where to go. I want to do a walk again because I want to help people”
Run the Boundary
It was therefore no surprise to me that she jumped at the chance to take on another fundraising challenge with me. Now old enough to understand what makes our family special, she’s excited to be taking part in Run The Boundary this February, proud to be helping single parents like her Mum. All while holding the map of course.