Journey of Single Parenthood: Why I Moved Back To America

Yep you read that title right.

After over three years abroad, 4 Deep Around the World has relocated from The Middle East back to the United States. Go ahead, gasp and clutch your pearls if you must. I get it if you are shouting, “WHY???????”

Let’s face it, it wasn’t that long ago that I felt the need to hide my black sons on foreign soil to protect them from the frequent disappointment America can often issue to our young sons. Even more recently I submitted my first Huffington Post article titled, “Food Stamps to Passport Stamps,” an article that highlighted the perks of living abroad.

Far too many of us are too familiar with the fact that single parenting is one of the hardest tasks known to humankind. As a mother of three children, I realized the responsibility of rearing my kids to ensure they became productive, happy and healthy citizens rested solely in my hands at one point. If you have followed our journey, you are probably aware of my decision to remain abroad with my children without their father. Until recently it was a simple and stable decision. I was willing to sacrifice holidays with family in America to travel. With much effort, I traded in some moments of American normalcy in an attempt to raise three global, productive, open-minded citizens. In my last Huffington Post article I stated, “I am making an honest effort to raise open minded and kind hearted global citizens who believe they are destined for greatness.”

So why move back home? I didn’t want to end up with true global citizens who are BROKEN people.

Yes, broken!

I’ve recently had to decide between the importance of the fabulous Dubai Friday brunches, tax free salary, yacht rides and frequent family passport stamps and the consequences of raising fatherless sons and a daughter abroad. For three years I’ve wiped the tears of my children because our move abroad severely impacted their relationship with their dad. They went from having a very hands on dad to a father who would eventually change his phone number and go seven months with no contact with them. I felt like I was in a fight daily to compensate if not over-compensate for their loss. It was a fight that, on some days brought me to the brink of mental exhaustion.

While we all talked a lot and prayed even more, it wasn’t until recently that I truly began to see the impact of their separation from their father. Our friends and family would frequently join us on Facebook live as we traveled, talked about life abroad from a single parent perspective and answered questions. The events of the last two live sessions made me re-evaluate our entire 4 Deep Around The World journey.

During both sessions, my only daughter, on the verge of tears, would express her desire to move back to America to be closer to her dad. Each time I would hear her out then rattle off, as usual, the benefits of staying abroad. During my quest to get my twelve year old to understand the purpose and reason of our journey and to view this move as an opportunity of a lifetime, she made a statement that pierced my soul.

We were discussing the fact that although they are in America for two and a half months annually, their father, for some reason, chooses to see them for five days each summer. This has been a pattern for the last two summers. Her straight-faced response was, “Well some children don’t get to see their father at all. At least I get five days with mine.”

It frustrates me to know that from where I stood, my beautiful, black daughter was seemingly minimizing her self-worth in order to justify her father’s lack of presence. That statement spoke volumes and alerted me that this crisis was bigger than I realized.

My stance, while on this journey of single parenthood, has always been to work as hard as I can to give my children the world. Heck, we have literally built a brand around doing just that, living our lives to the fullest. But what good is having the world at your fingertips and stamps in your passport if your soul is in shambles? For that reason – with much prayer and a spirit of discernment, I made the decision to return to a country where inequality, police brutality, race relations, and Donald Trump are at the forefront of discussion. This move to repatriate is a true gamble and the stakes are high, but it’s a risk I am willing to take. I was reminded that stepping out on faith is what this journey is all about. I will start over one million and one times if that is what’s required to ensure my children are happy and essentially whole while on this quest to give them the world.

I realize the time for this chapter of my life has come to an end and it’s time for a new chapter to begin. We don’t know what the future holds for us as a family, but my hope is to allow time for my children to heal and get to know their father again. I want them to grow up knowing they are loved not just by me, but by their father too. I want my sons to know how to treat women and my daughter to know how to be treated by men. I want them to learn these and other lessons from their father as well as myself.

4 Deep Around the World is back in the States.

Email: TanaiBenard(AT)Gmail.com

Facebook: 4 Deep Around The World

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15 thoughts on “Journey of Single Parenthood: Why I Moved Back To America

  1. Wow.Thank you for sharing this. It’s very deep and thought provoking. I’ve always wondered if it’s true what some people say about men not being needed, but what you’ve written sounds like the reality is different from the theory.
    Do you think that by moving back, their dad will step up to the plate?

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  2. Welcome back! Thanks for sharing your story and being vulnerable with us. I appreciate your willingness to step out on faith in both your decisions to travel with your children and to bring everyone back to the States again. Best of luck on this phase of your journey as it unfolds.

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  3. Wow! I totally didn’t think about that as your reason for coming back to the U.S. I’m so glad you shared what was tugging at your heart and spirit as a parent. The dilemmas we face as single parents are real and the battle to have balance is soul wrenching. I truly do hope your children have time to rebuild their relationship with their dad and I hope he will respect and honor your sacrifice. I don’t think I would have done it. I pray that if the experience of being back in the states causes them to suffer that God will allow you guys more opportunities to live abroad and prayerfully a new relationship that is equally sacrificial and exhilarating. You have done an amazing job and I pray that God pours blessings on you and your family. Thanks for sharing. – Jasira Monique

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  4. Tanai For President! Welcome home 4 deep. You are truly an inspiration and I’m so glad to have been granted a seat at the table of your life. The courage to move and return is remarkable.

    What really resonated is your NO MATTER WHAT attitude. If it means “starting over a million times…”

    Oh! Did y’all feel that!? I Did. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you 4 deep for holding space for me and others like me. Thank you for the inspiration to chase our dreams, listen to the spirit and be fearless.

    I believe y’all gone be all right 😊

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  5. I hear everything you are saying as i couldnt take my son away from his dad but it also sounds like dad not wanting to make the effort. I hope it gets better.

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  6. I have many hopes and dreams for my 2 kids (boys) 2&12 AA well as for myself. Your story is truly motivational and inspiring. Life is short and yet so precious. We shouldn’t take anything for granted. I plan to grant my children the world. I want them to know all things are possible. Thank-you for sharing.

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