By Heather Spaulding
Contributor to the journal
For Corinne Morrell, single parenthood has been filled with daunting challenges outweighed by incredible rewards.
“The good part about being a single parent is that it was all mine. The first steps, first day of kindergarten, first dance school. I got to see and watch everything [Ashlynn] turn into a beautiful young lady, ”Morrell said. “And I helped do it.”
Her daughter Ashlynn is now 15 years old. The most difficult part of those 15 years, Morrell said, is that as a single parent, she has had to deal with all the situations that arose on her own.
“It’s tough trying to do everything, to respect that work-life balance while making sure that she has her needs met and that our basic needs are met,” Morrell said.
Currently, Morrell has two jobs to ensure they have sufficient income.
“It definitely took its toll,” Ashlynn said while praising her mother for being a hard worker. “She takes good care of us.
While the mother-daughter couple have gone through difficult times, including the pandemic, they have also had good times. A few years ago, they were able to help build and buy their own home through Homes for Islanders. Owning their own home has had a huge impact on their lives.
“It’s nice to have our own space,” Morrell said.
An exciting part of the process for them was that mother and daughter could choose the colors for their own bedrooms.
“We have the freedom to express ourselves in our own living space,” Morrell said.
In the last two years they’ve moved into their home, Morrell has taken in a few displaced teenagers. The experiences strengthened her respect for foster families who work hard to make a difference in the lives of children.
With no animal restrictions on their residence, the mother-daughter duo expanded their family to include a cat and a dog, which provided comfort and companionship throughout the pandemic.
COVID has provided its unique struggles. Adjusting to distance education, Morrell said it was tough on both of them. The longer the pandemic continued and the more social activities were put on hold, the more worried she became about Ashlynn’s emotional needs.
“Fortunately, she has a few friends whose mothers are very similar to me when it comes to safety and precaution, so we were able to regroup with them,” Morrell said, adding that without those few friends, without their pets. company. to keep Ashlynn company, she can’t imagine how difficult the past year would have been.
“I can’t imagine her being alone all the time during this crisis, and you know there are kids who have been,” Morrell said.
Friends like these, Morrell said, are part of what makes the Island community special.
“I have a very cool group of women who support me, support me and stepped up when I needed it,” Morrell said. “They’ve been keeping an eye on Ashlynn, so she’s got a good group of Island Moms.”
This group of women would be sure to tell her if Ashlynn was in any trouble either, Morrell said.
“Not if I don’t get caught,” Ashlynn added in the background.
“That’s just it, in this community you’re going to get caught,” Morrell said with a laugh.
Besides a mothers’ village, Ashlynn has received many opportunities in Friday Harbor that she may not have had elsewhere, Morrell explained. She has received various scholarships and participated in a number of parks and recreation activities, to name a few.
No matter where they are, the couple are content to relax and spend time together. Some of their favorite things to do, according to Morrell, include simple things like going by car or having breakfast. If they’re feeling more adventurous, go sailing. The duo love to play the “I love you more” game, although it is often difficult to tell who wins.
“Being a parent has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done,” Morrell said. “I think a lot of it is down to who Ashlynn is. She is a good child.
To which Ashlynn replied, “She’s an amazing mom. I wouldn’t trade her for anything.