Divorce. A new life for me...
When I heard of ‘A New Dawn’, my initial reaction was one of happiness for all the people who could be helped. I have lost loved ones and I’ve seen others lose spouses or parents etc. I know that these grieving people need hope and the support and resources to enter the new version of their life knowing that they can be happy again. Then I was told that there would be a place for people dealing with all kinds of loss, including those of us beginning again; post-divorce. We need hope and support and resources too! Starting over, in any case, is hard. It’s a daunting task to embark on such a journey. But, in the midst and wake of incredible life change, there is the opportunity for ‘A New Dawn’ of your own. It’s a new dawn, a new day. It’s a new life… Things have changed.
Change is a tricky thing, and it’s something we can’t escape. Change can bring you to your knees; make you cry tears of joy or anything in between. As an adult, I’ve come to a place of acceptance and happiness in my life. I’m separated, a single mom. Finances are an issue, adjusting to kindergarten and freshman year all at once is rather tiring, and the drama surrounding the custody disagreement I’m in growing legal debt over, takes it’s complicated toll. But, I’m extremely blessed to have a wonderful man to share my life with, I have a beautiful web of friends and family and I own the roof that’s over our heads. I’ve worked hard to be where I am and although I know I have a long way to go, I’m on the path I’m meant to be on and I’m ok with that; I trust the journey. It’s been no simple task to get here, emotionally, financially, or physically, it’s truly a continuing daily struggle.
Have you ever taken a look at your life and marveled at how you got there? A mixture of the experiences and emotions of your lifetime all came together to land you exactly where you are right now. All the changes, all the gains, all the losses and all the choices you’ve made are a part of who you are.
I realized, prior to my separation, prior to any talk of divorce, that I had been neglecting myself. In doing so, I was unhappy, irritable and depressed. I was not the mother that my children deserve. In the months it took for things to really fall apart and for me to make the decision to leave, I saw that I had to start with me. I had to tear down my walls and make peace with myself if I was going to take that road. I had to dedicate my life to the wellness of my family, which includes me. I want the best life for us. I want to be happy and for my kids to feel secure, loved and capable. The confusing reality is: as a parent, the best things you can do for your kids are to try your hardest to get it right, accept and learn from it when you get it wrong and to be kind to yourself.
My kids were three and thirteen when my husband and I separated, launching the three of us o to a very scary, very exciting, very emotional journey. Throughout the last two years I have seen my kids go from confused and struggling, to stable and thriving. They’ve settled into our new life and although we have the usual upsets one might expect in a family with a five year old and a 14 year old, we’ve grown closer and almost daily there is validation that the decision to leave my marriage was the right one.
I’ve been very present for my children. I see every day and every interaction as a chance to teach them or to support and appreciate their journey. I express my gratitude daily and I accept that it can’t always be perfect… Except when I don’t. Very often I don’t take advantage of the chance before me. Sometimes I react rather than respond, or I’ll just do the chore myself rather than instill motivation or pride in accomplishment or time management. I’ve raised my voice, I’ve plopped the kids in front of a movie so that I can have some quiet. There are days when I cannot believe how far we’ve come and how blessed we are to be where we are and I’m impressed by how well I’m doing at keeping us sane. Then there are days when I feel ready to throw in the towel. I’m human. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. #I’mDoingTheBestICan and #ThatsOK
I’ve asked myself; what would success look like? Is it about perfection? No. It’s about teaching my children to enjoy the ride and how to take these experiences one by one. It’s about giving my kids the tools to face their feelings and not allowing overwhelm to set in. It’s helping them accept and navigate the changes before them. It’s about leading by example. To me; success is getting through the day with gratitude and knowing that life will always be a work in progress. #WIP
My daughter put it best. In the midst of a fairly major upset for my family, the drama level was intense and we were all feeling it. I was upset and she heard me talking with my mother. She calmly came in the room, put her arms around me and said, “it’s like a tsunami.” I asked her to clarify and her answer filled me with pride and hope. I will leave you with her words:
“It’s like if you’re in a Tsunami; it’s a deadly storm, everything is crazy and the only way you can hope to survive is to head for higher ground. Well, when your life is a mess and you’re struggling to survive, your best chance is to reach for higher thoughts and feelings. You’ve got to stay positive and not let yourself get lost in the storm.” Wow #LikeATsunami