Friday, March 19, 2010

A new front door

Last week, I moved out of my little single mama world. I have so many memories of that place, even though I was there only a year. I remember moving her bunk bed up the stairs, all by myself. My body ached and I could barely breathe, but I didn’t care because I did it myself, just to prove that I could. I remember going to pick out a new couch, and I felt absolutely bewildered because I knew I could get whatever one I wanted, and I didn’t know what to do. I had never picked out furniture all by myself before. I remember feeling so proud of myself and feeling so strong an independent, yet feeling so glad when my best friend arrived to hold my hand, hug me, and help me talk trash about my ex-husband. Lastly, I remember how it felt to lock the front door for the first time on the first place that was ever just MINE.

During my time there, I also learned a lot of lessons. I learned that I am a kick-ass mom, but I still have the right to enjoy a good margarita from time to time if I want to. I learned that it is possible to work, go to school, and raise a child alone because a woman can do amazing things when she puts her mind to it. I learned that I am still sexy and desirable, no matter how insignificant someone else tries to make me feel. I learned that not depending on someone else can be terrifying, yet incredibly liberating.

Although I learned a lot in the past year, I am not sad to leave that life behind. My path has made another turn, and I am so excited about the next part of my journey. Right now, I’m looking at a photograph of a man that I love so deeply. He drives me crazy sometimes, but he has changed my life in so many incredible ways. He’s introduced me to new people and new experiences, and he’s taught me to appreciate things that I never thought I would. On one of our first dates, he talked a lot about hunting and fishing. Apparently, I announced that I would “never have dead animals hanging in my house.” Yet, in the new home that I share with him, there are two in my living room. They are hanging near his camouflage recliner. Those things are part of who he is, and they are part of the things he has taught me to appreciate. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t know what it felt like to wear hunter orange in the middle of a quiet forest on a cold autumn morning.

There are still moments that snap me back to reality… When we have an argument, there has been a time or two when I felt like that startled animal in the woods that I wrote about a few months ago. I get quiet, and I proceed with extreme caution because I am afraid…I’m not so afraid of being left alone. I know I can handle that. I am afraid of being broken again, because I know that if it happens again, I don’t think I will ever be able to trust another man with my heart. (After all, it took me 6 months to give it to him!) Even more than that, though, I know I couldn’t handle seeing my daughter be heartbroken again.

I sat with her in the therapist’s office yesterday, and she was showing off the journal she was writing about. The therapist noted that she wrote a lot about her daddy, but she wrote a lot about her “dad” too, and she took note that Jayna calls this man in my life “dad.” I said yes, and I smiled…then Jayna said “I wrote about him because this way, if he leaves, I have something to remember him by.” It made me acutely aware that although I knew that she was hurt and confused and sad, I don’t think I realized that she has a degree of fear, just like I do, that she’ll be left by the man in her life again. I wish I knew a way to make her feel safe and to reassure her that she doesn’t have to worry every day about that, but how can I teach her something that I am still learning to accept myself? The point is that I am learning it…I have learned to trust, and I have learned to feel secure. All I can do is stay close to her and hope that a little of that rubs off on her precious little heart.

My life is a work in progress, and I love it (and the people in it) so very, very much. Yesterday, I hung a purple heart made of lavender on the front door of my new home. It’s a place of love, it’s a place of hope, and it’s a place where my dreams come true every single day when I walk through that door and come home to a man that loves me because he chooses to, not because he feels obligated to. I can’t wait to marry him…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Independence Day (Yes, in January)

Today is my Independence Day. Jeremy left on January 26, 2009. I remember because it was Jayna’s due date- a date that was permanently etched in my mind because, 5 years before, I had repeated it hundreds of times. “When are you due?” someone would ask. “January 26,” I would say with a smile. He left on her due date. 13 days after her 5th birthday, and 13 days before what would have been our 6th wedding anniversary.

One year ago today, I remember coming to work. Shaking, wide eyed, and terrified about how in the hell I was going to do this by myself. I remember looking at the numbers through my tears, trying to figure out how I was going to survive and raise a child alone on my state employee salary. I remember trying to decide if I was going to continue my education, or if I was going to take a break because I was unsure of whether or not I could handle the stress of life as a single mom, full-time employee, and full-time student. My fears of how to handle my life alone were cut short because I couldn’t afford to be afraid. There was an ice storm coming, and I didn’t have any back-up heat. My firewood was in a pile in the yard, getting rained on. There was nobody to depend on but myself. There was no time for self-pity. There was only time to grow my backbone, stand up, and be the kind of woman I want my daughter to be. Strong. Confident. Independent. And now, here I am, standing on my own. I survived the first year, and it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. It was better!

I found out a lot about myself. I grew as a person, and I became a woman I can be proud of. I also found someone who DOES want to come home to me every night. He’s made all the difference in the world, whether or not he knows it. He gives me a reason to smile every day, and he reminds me every day that I don’t have to be afraid. He’s here, and he’s not going anywhere.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm a monumental failure, but have a big glass of shutthehellup because here are the details

So yeah, I promised to update my blog and I’ve been a monumental failure at it, because I have THE. BIGGEST. NEWS. EVER. I have had for 6 days, and I haven’t even written about it yet! Yes, I know some of you have been bitching for details. Gimme a break. I'm trying. So, in a last-ditch effort to share my little slice of HELL YES MY LIFE ROCKS, here goes.

So New Years Eve…me and Mr. P headed out to a little get-together at a friend’s house. It was a full moon (a BLUE moon, mind you) and we were both excited to have some kid-free time to enjoy each other. We had some questionable burgers (love ya dude, but really. Burgers first, Jager second) and had a great time laughing at said friend for his fraidy-cat antics. (don’t ask. It’s too stupid to even bother explaining.)

After all the silliness of the night, we gathered in the living room. We watched the ball drop, my wonderful man kissed me, and then immediately became noticeably nervous. He kicked 2009 to the curb, and then announced “well, now that that’s over, I want to start 2010 off the right way.” He dropped to one knee, pulled out a beautiful diamond solitaire, and asked me to marry him. Yes, fo’ serious. Of course I said yes, or else it would be totally retarded for me to proclaim this as BIGGEST. NEWS. EVER. I mean, who would do that. (Shaun says I still would because I’m a female, and female=mean, but I disagree.) Anyway, yes. The Southern Single Mama isn’t really so much single anymore. The woman who vowed to not make vows is shopping for wedding bands, beach wedding packages, and other “forever paraphernalia.” Hmm. Go figure… Told ya, strange things happen under full moons!