Monday, March 22, 2010

Trying to accept life as it is

I never expected that my life would turn out the way it has. I had dreams, I had a plan, and I did all that I could to make it happen. Then I realized that I can only control so much, the rest is how I react to what happens to me.

Through no fault of my own I had a difficult childhood. Not super hard, but not super easy. A cake walk compared to some, but treacherous compared to others. I think I handled it mostly in stride, but I honestly thought that the hard part of my life was behind me. I was sure that because I had a tough go of things when I was young, God would grant me good things from then on. I was sure my life had nowhere to go but up.

Achievement and success have followed me in my professional life due primarily to hard work, but also because, in certain instances, I have been in the right place at the right time. I am very blessed and very thankful.

My personal life is a different story. I am constantly striving for achievement and success in my personal life. Personally I never feel good enough and I am always striving for acceptance.

I so wanted the perfect family. I know this has always been important to me because my family was so far from perfect. I wanted a husband who would take care of me in a way that my father never could. I wanted affection that my mother could never give me. I wanted to have children of my own to care for and love in a way that I wish I had been cared for and loved.

I married a man that I thought could be these things for me. I found out that, through no fault of his own, he has a difficult time taking care of himself, much less a family. I do love him and care very much for him, but a traditional family we can never be.

I am grieving this loss of my idea of the perfect family and trying to come to terms with my new title. My role hasn’t changed, only my title. New title—single mother.

Being a single mother seems to put you in a different class. You can see the pity in people’s faces when they find out. You can feel people emotionally back away from you. It is like you have a disease they may catch and they don’t want to be around you because of it.

It makes me hesitant to tell people.

Am I embarrassed about being a single mother? I don’t know the answer to that question.

Am I sad about being a single mother? Yes, because I so wanted to have the perfect family.

Would it have been worth it to stay in an unhealthy marriage, so that I could pretend that I had that happy family? No. It wouldn’t have been the right thing for me or my son. It was an extremely unhealthy situation and did not want my son to grow up in that type of environment.

Are things perfect now? Not by any means. I am figuring it out day by day. I know I can’t be all things and all people to my son and I have no intention of being. It does take a village to raise a child and I thankfully live in a wonderful village.

And thankfully my son’s dad and I get along great. We still care very much about one another. We do things as a family and he is a big part of my son’s life, as well as mine. It is just that our family isn’t traditional.

A dear friend of mine asked me today how my husband was doing. She has been by my side through it all and knows we are divorced, but she also knows that in so many ways we are still married. Does this make it easier or more difficult? I don’t know.

What I do know is that I want to be the best person that I can be in all areas of my life. More specifically, I want to be the best mother I can be. I don’t want to give my son the best life, but I want to prepare him to live the best life he can live.

I am just at the beginning of this journey called real life. It may not always be perfect. It may not always be pretty. But it is real and it is mine. As my mother always said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Right now I have more questions than answers. What is the ratio of lemons to sugar? How many quarts of water will I need? I probably always will always have more questions than answers, but with God guiding me, I know the lemonade will turn out just fine.

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