Submitted by: Big Little Wolf
I’m on the other side of the shore, long past my separation and divorce. In fact, that period in my life is a bit of a blur. And just as well. Those were stormy times, and they’re behind me; there have been plenty of incredible, unexpected adventures since. And I see my present with great clarity, with its rich store of experiences that make me smile. Presumably, more pleasurable days lie ahead.
If you’re going through divorce right now, or you’re newly divorced, I’ll come right out and say it. THIS IS A PEP TALK. Oh, not one of those everything-will-be-perfect-when-it’s-over kind of talks. That’s just not the case. Everything will be different when it’s over, and then you figure it out from there.
If you’re fortunate, you have friends and family to support you. Lean on them if you can. Disassembling a marriage is painful, and there’s no way around that. But it will get better. I know what you’re thinking – when will it get better? There’s no easy answer on that one. Everyone’s timetable is different – some depends on you, and some is beyond your control. You know – “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
For myself, I have found that joy wins out – even with personal losses, job losses, and financial losses – and I’ve experienced them all. My sons and I have been rebuilding for awhile, and what we have may not be perfect, but it’s strong, solid, and we’ve been doing it together. Which brings me to my next point, if you have children.
Many will tell you “put yourself first,” using the oxygen-mask-in-the-airplane analogy. Bad analogy. Try this instead. NEWS FLASH: “Child knocked unconscious on the soccer field, after collision with team mate.”
Isn’t that really more like it, when parents announce divorce to kids? So I say: put your children first, and I know many single moms and dads who agree. Pick your kids up off the ground, and help them heal. Ideally, two parents will do so, but it isn’t always the case. All the more reason that someone has to parent with focus and commitment, and that someone may very well be you.
Don’t think I have everything figured out. I don’t. It’s been trial and error, taking cues from my kids, great days and crappy days. But overall, I’ve known tremendous joy as I’ve parented, guided, and learned from my children. One is now in college, and the other in high school. I’m beginning to imagine wilder futures for myself. But putting their interests first these past 8 years was definitely the right choice, for us. Seeing them happy, grounded, and taking ownership of their own lives is as good as it gets.
Was I giving up myself through all this? I believe I was giving of myself where I was most needed. And life hasn’t left me unstirred; I’ve known my share of sparkling moments – romantically, sexually, and professionally.
I didn’t choose single parenthood. And I wouldn’t have. I wanted what we all want – to be loved, to love in return, to build and share a family. But it didn’t happen that way. In retaking ownership of myself as a single woman – which has been a process – I have been able to continue to learn, explore, and still raise my children well. Parts of the past may be a blur, but the clarity of the present is all about life, and the future is unknown – as it always is. But I look forward to it with curiosity, an open mind, and my scales tipping towards joy.
These days, Big Little Wolf (”Ms. Big”) reflects on life and her Daily Plate of Crazy, where she writes essays on everything – sometimes serious, sometimes fun – whatever strikes her on a given day as interesting, unusual, entertaining, or of concern.
Making a Child’s Dream Come True, Against The Odds