I believe in love and happily ever after. At least I did some 30 years ago as I stood at the altar in my white wedding dress waiting for my Romeo to confess his undying love for me in front our closest friends and family. It was the day every little girl dreams of, and I was no exception. To love and nurture, it was an innate calling.
Little did I know, that marriage and a wedding ceremony are two very different experiences.
I soon found out that love was going to take sacrifice. At times, blood, sweat, and many, many tears. I think we all go into marriage thinking about what we want out of it, not what we will have to put into it.
I was ill prepared for the marriage pilgrimage I was on.
My parents were married until the day they died. They were just powering through. Like being on a long, dry and dusty road in the desert, knowing that you just have to keep going in hopes of finding water.
No wonder I found myself doing the exact same thing in my marriage until, one day, my husband lovingly gave me the “I’m unhappy” talk. I thought, “yeah, me too, so what?” I was going to keep powering through, just like my parents.
It took him a few weeks and his bags were packed and he was onto his new life.
My life however was shattered. My happily ever after was now in a million tiny pieces that somehow had to be put back together.
Have you ever heard of the expression “Every cloud has a silver lining?” Well, I grew up hearing it and in this case I applied it to the dissolution of my marriage. An event that was unwanted and again I was unprepared for, but if you lean into your circumstance, instead of denying or defying it you will allow yourself to grow.
I am almost unrecognizable today from the girl that stood at the altar in that white wedding dress. Not just because I went from being a brunette to being a blond, and yes, blonds do have more fun, but more importantly because I have allowed my singleness to be a time to learn.
You see, I got a do over. No longer was I somebody’s wife, partner or spouse, now I was just me. Who was I?
I was captain of my own ship. I got to decide the direction I would go and where I would lead my family. What were the values that I wanted to instill in my children? Because I was essentially parenting alone, these were questions I now had to consider on my own. At times I was very overwhelmed, but it was like building muscle at the gym, the more I did it the easier it got.
This was not the time to be a loner. I enlisted the help of dear friends, coaches and mentors to help with my kids. Trying to juggle work, kids and watching my daughter participate in sports was a challenge.
Any single mom reading this knows the struggle, it’s real.
Taking time to stay physically fit killed two birds with one stone. Sure I burned some calories, but the chemicals it released in my brain to keep me stable was the real payoff. That meant I had to be at the gym at 5:00 am so I could workout, get home, shower, get ready for my day, then wake up my sleeping princess. Make breakfast and lunches, drive to school, then go to my real job.
Everyday I kept putting one foot in front of the other.
When there are overwhelming times, you have to remember to keep it simple. Keep to the task at hand, don’t let your mind get ahead of you. Have you heard it said “today has enough trouble of it’s own?” It’s true. Stay in today.
Today, I am done parenting, and every hurdle I have had to jump over alone has made me into the strong, confident, determined woman I am today and I still believe in love!