Most moms would say that parenting is the best thing that ever happened to them even though it can be exhausting. For single mom, Bethany Linden, double that joy and the amount of work.
After her first son, Andrew, was born, Linden-Gallucci who was working at Citizens Bank took pleasure in shopping for him to purchase cute, little clothes for all of the holidays. She had the time to attend every school or sporting event, lavishing all of her motherly attention on her son. But while she and her husband were good friends, their marriage didn't work out.
Bethany later remarried and her pleasure as a mother was doubled after daughter, Abby, was born. Motherhood was all encompassing and extremely rewarding. She became a stay at home mom.
When she became pregnant with her third child, they kept the sex a secret, preferring to be surprised at the birth. Family and friends told her she was having a boy because she was carrying low. Andrew, of course, prayed for a brother with whom he would be able to play ball and other "rough stuff.” On the day his sibling was born, he learned he had another sister as he got off the school bus. Dramatically, he fell to the ground, pounding his fists, crying "No, no!" Of course he quickly learned to cherish his new sister. Upon adding daughter, Autumn, to the family, Linden thought her family was complete.
Only it wasn't; her world fell apart when her husband left and she became a single mom.
Limited finances immediately became an issue. Not wanting to dilute quality time with her children, she worked two jobs, squeezing in hours as a waitress during the lunch shift at Bistro 22 while the children were at school and bartending the night shift when they were asleep. Looking towards the future, Bethany also enrolled in online courses in the University of Phoenix to get a degree in criminal justice. It was a tight fit, yet catching short amounts of sleep here and there, Bethany continued to strive for a quality life for her children.
The children had participated in a wide variety of activities and sports chosen according to their interests. To maintain normalcy, Bethany vowed to continue their schedules. Andrew plays lacrosse and soccer, Abby enjoys dance and gymnastics, and the youngest one is rocking karate. Andrew and Abby participate in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts respectively, and Autumn is waiting until she is old enough to join. "Because of my schedule, I have come to depend upon and army of family and friends to help with transportation to activities. I am very grateful for their help," Bethany said.
The people who have helped the most are Bethany's parents, Laurie and Fred Linden. They never cease to enjoy time with their grandchildren, and provide all of the little holiday amenities, such as Valentines, Easter baskets and Christmas gifts. Laurie Linden enjoys clothes shopping for them, and takes pride in the fact that her grandchildren have fashionable clothing she was able to buy on sale. They also take the children on many trips and adventures.
"My parents have taken my kids on trips to Story Land, but I missed out on it because I had to work. While I am very glad that the kids were having a good time, I missed witnessing it," Bethany said with a touch of sadness. "My special times with my children consists on snuggling in bed, saying prayers, doing homework, and watching movies. The stuff that doesn't cost money," she continued.
When she has a little bit of extra money, Bethany takes them on special outings to Newport Creamery for ice cream or Rigatoni's for a dinner.
Bethany and her children enjoy the special spring and summer activity of growing a garden. She hopes to start it on Mother's Day because that is her special day as a mom and she wants to spend the day with her children. They plant plenty of vegetables; cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, lettuce and peppers. The children delight in watching the plants grow, and are especially excited as they being to produce the vegetables. Picking the finished products is an exciting endeavor, and, because they grow it themselves, there are no arguments in their household over eating their vegetables.
Bethany's family actively participates in their church, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, where four generations attend every Sunday. To give back to other children what others have done for her, Bethany coordinates the Sunday School Program, which she finds very rewarding. After church, this loving extended family goes out to breakfast together for rousing conversation and expressions of affection.
Bethany also uses breakfast time on weekday mornings to ground herself and her children. It is the one time they can guarantee they will be together to laugh and giggle and talk about the day ahead. "Everything I do, I do for them," Bethany said.
Bethany was recently able to do something special for herself; she graduated from college with a degree in Law Enforcement. Despite working two jobs and keeping care of her children, Bethany graduated with a GPA of 3.7. The commencement ceremony was held at Gillette Stadium and was attended by her whole family, including her three children. For her, it was a surreal experience to see her name in lights displayed around the stadium, and she was sure she could hear the distinct cheers of her children when everyone cheered as she went up to get her diploma. "That was a game changer," she said, "And it confirmed that I had done the right thing by going back to school. Having my kids there was epic, and it was the best experience that ever happened to me."
Bethany looks forward to a future career, and currently works in law enforcement at URI. For the first time, her job comes with benefits, such as vacation and sick leave, and she anticipates being able to actually have the time off work to take her children on vacation. She recently stated, "Being a mom has been the best thing that ever happened to me. Even though it can be exhausting, it is very rewarding, and I wouldn't change a thing."