six months later: the check-up

Six whole months have gone by since my world imploded. Today.

This could have gone one of two ways:

One: I could very easily have crawled in a hole and died. This shit has been hard.I could have found that warm gooey center of self-pity and nuzzled in it. I could have decided that three children is too much for any one girl to handle alone and shipped them off to their auntie's or their friends and moved myself into the bottom of a bottle of Jameson. I could have found some stupid twenty-something boy and seriously altered his existence. I could have done a lot of things.

The other: I could suck it up and deal with it. And that, dear readers, is exactly what I have done.

I will preface this by saying that these past six months have been the hardest six months in my 31 short years of life. None of it has been easy.

But you know what? None of it has been impossible, or even oh so very hard for that matter. My kids are going through all the expected phases; the really mad at mom but don't quite understand why phase, the sad phase, the missing having a guy around phase. They have little spurts of trouble at school, they are sick more than they used to be, they have a bit more trouble sleeping sometimes. They do, however, seem to have moved out of the peeing the bed phase, which lasted WAY to long for my liking. They are finding their flow. They have a wonderful godfather who has filled the cub-scouts and poop-jokes gap. They have a family that comes to their concerts at school and gives them enough kisses to help ease the transition. They are going to be just fine.

And me? Well, I am doing so much better than I thought I would be that I even surprise myself sometimes. Yes, I miss being married, and yes I am sick to death of being in charge of taking the trash out and getting the oil changed, but I have learned something about myself. I look back on the past 31 years and I see two large loops in my life. I can see how I have followed a big, bad pattern through two key relationships. The difference between the two is that when it happened with my mother, it completely destroyed me. I couldn't eat or sleep or think or function in any small way for a really long time. Not so much this time. I feel like it should have destroyed at least a small piece of me, but I stand here quite intact. I am truly, for reals, very ok. I am almost relieved at times. It's totally empowering to do the thing you are most afraid of doing, and for me that is being alone with these kids. I have always doubted myself and my ability to raise my kids the way they deserve. I have questioned my ability to stand up and live my life, without a crutch, on my own. But I can do it and for the first time, I am doing it.

I have had to learn humility. At least, I have had to learn that it is ok to ask for help when I need it. I am constantly in the process of asking someone for a favour for something or the other, and I have to accept that these people in my life really don't mind helping me and that I should be reaching out to them when I have to.

I have had to learn to cut myself some damn slack already, that I am not god or Superwoman and that I will indeed screw something up along the way and that I totally deserve to get out every now and again. I don't own a cross and really, we already had one messiah. There is no need for me to go nailing myself to a tree. It doesn't do anyone any good and it just makes me boring.

I have learned that it is possible for J and I to find and sustain some sort of relationship through this, one that doesn't have a "we're getting back together" subtext. I have put my guilt aside, and his, and I don't worry about whether or not he may think I am leading him on. We spent 10 years together, and we have 16 1/2 more to go until L goes off to college or stripper school and if we can't be friends, this will never work. We are finding balance in our relationship, and I can only do that by finding it first within myself. I am discovering my boundaries and drawing lines in the sand of my life. I know, I KNOW, that I will never go back. We will divorce and perhaps we will find new someones. I don't feel like I have to go back anymore. I don't owe him that. I owe myself sanity and happiness and that is right here. I do owe him kindness and respect and I will always give that to him; and perhaps I owe him my friendship, and I hope he will always allow me to give that. But if he doesn't? Well, that's ok, too. I have stopped trying to make everyone around me constantly happy and, for the first time in my life, am trying to keep ME happy.

I struggle with a huge amount of guilt over the decisions that I have made up to this point. I feel like I have been very selfish in my thinking and my actions. I worry that the only person this is benefiting is me and I ask myself 'does that justify my doing it'. And then I remember that the only person who's happiness I can really do anything about is my own, and OF COURSE I need to take care of that. I remember that if I am not happy, my children will never find it for themselves. I remember that I am the role-model here, and by treating myself well they will learn to do the same for themselves.

Every day I find a new reason to be completely filled with joy. The world? It's a beautiful place. My life? It's great. Maybe I get a little tired, but I can take a nap every now & again. Maybe I get a little lonely, but that's what I'm paying out the ass for cable for. But I have managed to surround myself with the most amazing, wonderful sorts of people whom I love love love and who have risen to help me with this at a level that even I cannot believe. I am the most blessed woman on Earth. I am finding my strength, and I am learning how strong those around me really are. I am learning that going it alone really means going it with the people who make you strong. And that is a hard thing to learn.

And hell. I finally lost the baby weight. That fact alone almost makes it all worth it. I couldn't be happier. I am going to be just fine.