First, let me start by saying that if you’re not adults, stop reading. This letter is for future-you, because now-you should be outside playing or drawing a picture or something innocent and child-like and awesome.
Over 16? Good. You can keep reading.
This past year has been the craziest one of our lives. I thought that title belonged to the first year I became a mother. But instead it belongs to this, the year that the word mother, for me, was joined by a qualifier – Single.
I’ve watched enough TV to know what single mothers are supposed to be about.
Single moms are supposed to be plucky and struggle financially and tend toward the trashy and never let a man in, and say dammit a lot.
Kids, the problem is, all of that described me a year ago. Before I broke up with your dad.
This year has been brutally hard. There were moments I was pretty sure would end me. When we were all still living in the same house, even after the declaration had been made, and I would look at you, and I would look at your dad, and the tears would stream down my face as I would ask him “How can we really be doing this?”
When you came to me, son, in the early days, seeing your parents’ tear-streaked faces, and your dad waking up on the couch, and you said “Tell me what’s going on here, and don’t lie.” And I told you. And you told me you didn’t want to live with either one of us and that were both jerks. (Which made me kind of happy because I thought that was just about the healthiest damn thing you could have possibly said, and maybe, maybe, you’d make it out of this OK.)
When you, my baby girl, cried silently, waving at your dad as he left to go back to his house, and your little voice whispered “I just miss him so much.” And when you told me, without a hint of manipulation, that you just love him more, right now, that you still love me, you just love him more, and I had to smile and say that was alright, and that you can love who you want, as much as you want, and my stomach threatened to heave with the disappointment of it all.
When I fooled myself into thinking that this divorce was about your dad & I, that we were covering all the bases, and you, Boy Child, were hesitant to invite friends over to your mom’s new place, because, in your words, “My friends don’t all know that I’m divorced.”
When I wasn’t even-tempered, and I wasn’t mad at you, and you got yelled at, and didn’t get the attention you deserved, and needed even more. And you just took it, and didn’t fight back or tell me I wasn’t being fair. Which made me feel unbelievably worse.
Yeah. There were some pretty ugly moments this year.
Oh babies, there was some awesomeness.
Raising you, enjoying you, being with you, without the spectre of a really bad relationship hovering over the whole thing, poisoning it all.
Watching a community not just talk the talk, but truly walk the walk, as nearly everyone we knew stepped up, and buttressed us, and made this year possible. You have some beyond amazing people in your life, kids. Neighbors, a school, a community, friends, that shone all over us when things were wicked dark.
And your dad & I. Hitting our own personal rock-bottoms. And now, almost exactly a year later, being able to surface, look around, and realize we’re both on the way to Happy. And being the parents we wanted to be for you.
I adore you. Thank you just for being.