“I want to grow old with you and love you for the rest of my life.” We often whispered these words to one another filling me with expectations… Such a strong, confident, Alpha man who stole my heart. The only time I had ever truly loved a man with my entire soul. 

We met at a car wash on a Friday. While putting money into the machine, he approached me and offered to help me wash my car. He said his Grandmother once told him he should always help a woman in her time of need. Just driving back from South Carolina after her funeral, the memory and wisdom she shared with him were fresh on his mind. We talked, laughed, and exchanged phone numbers. He called me as we drove out of the car wash, and we were inseparable after that. He was (then) the love of my life.


I expected to stay in a relationship with my son’s father until we took our last breaths. We talked so many days and nights about the two of us in our old age sitting on our front porch in rocking chairs while the grandchildren played at our feet. We even had a home picked out for ourselves and our children. It was in a subdivision in Georgia called Wesley Lakes. It’s funny how 12-13 years later, I still remember that name.

A couple of years into our relationship and after the birth of our son (who, by the way, was a planned pregnancy), he left us when my son was only three months old. At the time, we had problems with constantly arguing over his phone and his women friends. He attributed these arguments to my being insecure. 

Yet, he never took accountability for his actions that fueled those insecurities. 

During this time, he was also scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan. He was a military man, a Major in the Army. Rather than ensuring his son and I were provided for and secure (we were living together), he suggested I move back home as he was scheduled to leave soon. I did not want to move back home. I had spent nearly 20 years in Atlanta, so essentially, this was “home” to me.

The time came for him to leave. I still had yet to arrange to move back to my hometown. In disbelief that he was actually leaving us, I watched him pack up our home. He watched me pack up my belongings, knowing I had no destination in sight. I had nowhere to go. I called a women’s shelter, which became my and my son’s home for several months. Eventually, I swallowed my pride and made that call to move back to my hometown.

The Game He Played

He eventually reached out to us while we adjusting to this new yet unexpected life. We attempted to reconcile and even made plans to get married once he returned to the States. I created the wedding invitations and arranged a day with the Justice of the Peace for us to get married. The date was set for December 18, 2009. Unfortunately, life took another unexpected turn, and our soon-to-be marriage was off. He married and had a child with another woman.

He disappeared again for a few years, then reappeared, only to disappear again. Finally, he reappeared just recently (the year 2016). By now, I had completely let go of the hurt, abandonment, and disappointment. This was the first time my son had seen his father since 2009. 

He hasn’t seen him since.

It was interesting to me as I reflected on this particular time of my life; I began to realize that I was stuck for so long because of my expectations. I had been stuck in the memories and life he and I had talked about and started to create nearly 12 years ago, even though I am a forward-thinking and growing type of woman and mother. I was also stuck in the pain and anger of him abandoning us.  

Single mom Victoria Williams shares how letting go of expectations made her a better mom.Freeing Myself From Those Broken Expectations

However, one day, I decided I no longer wanted to remain stuck. Through the years, I have worked tirelessly to find the tools and skills to help me move forward in life, despite the pain, so that I could be the best mother to my son and be his everything in the absence of his father. I think I have done pretty well. I landed a decent job that allowed me to go back to school, pay off some debt and give my son some of the things I believe he deserves while building a new life for myself.

My son is my everything. He is so full of love, compassion, and humor. My son has made me a better person, mother, and human. He has taught me the power of forgiveness. He often asks me, “Mommy, what was your favorite part of today?” I tell him, “Seeing your face, laughing with you, and spending time together doing whatever we want.”

Victoria's son says "My mom is creative."Perspective 

While I have gained the skills to forgive and move on in life, everything would be so much different now had we stayed together, and not necessarily in a good way. My father once told me, “Always expect the unexpected. This way, you’ll never be disappointed.” We don’t know what direction our lives will take us, but we must prepare to adjust and move accordingly. This is why we must carve out the time to learn how to heal, forgive, move on, and start living again–if not for ourselves–for our children. My only expectations now are to continue being whole, happy, and strong for my son as he grows and learns to navigate his own feelings while trying to understand his father’s absence. 

My son looks forward to being a Dad one day. He wants a boy and a girl and an English bulldog. Undoubtedly, he will break his father’s cycle, and be a great father and man!

Read more of the series: Single Mom Personal Essays