Ah, how time flies.
Just something like 14 months ago, I was for once, completely on my own. I wasn’t living with my parents, nor Carol, and it was just me, and every other day or so, the boys. It was definitely a struggle. Not so much having to do with the daily life stuff that I once shared with someone else, but more so, just learning how to deal with the silence. I’ll give you an example.
I’m not sure that since the kids were born, that I slept completely soundly throughout the night. I’m a light sleeper as it is, so any sort of noise would wake me up. Any sort of worry about the kids would wake me up. Any rumbling of someone running into my room would wake me up. Today, those little things still wake me up, but just less frequently. Since the kids don’t sleep over every night, the noises from above my apartment wake me up, and I’d be ready to go check on them, but then silently just fall back asleep dejectedly once I remember that I’m not living at the house anymore. In a sense, it saddens me to wake up and be ready to protect, and have no one to protect. But it’s also just something that I have to get used to. I’m still not used to it.
There were also times that I felt so lonely, that all I could do was try to go to sleep. I would anticipate having to drop off the kids and would be irritably sad even before I dropped them off. I had to figure out ways to not be lonely without them. And I just kept myself busy through cleaning up, writing, or reading. I rarely have that feeling now. I still feel lonely at times, but the depression that came with it is gone.
But this post isn’t about what issues I struggled with. It’s more about who I’ve become. I’m very much in a spot in my life, where I think I’ve really grown up, and I’m really content with who I’ve become. When you come from a situation where at 23 years old, you go from living at home, to living with someone you love with a baby on the way, and just 16 months later, another child on the way, you really don’t have a chance to think about anything. You just move. And you move quickly. Now 8 years later, you’re not moving as quickly. There was now a lot of time to reflect on what happened and why it happened. There was even more time to reflect on how I wanted things to be and how I didn’t want our family split up, even though, I had every right to be selfish and hurt. But it was a choice I made to not be that way. In fact, I wanted to be just the opposite. I wanted to give myself more to my family and even though Carol and I were separated, and even though she had already moved on, it was even more important for me to get things right. I was being selfish in the other way. I wouldn’t allow my kids to see anything but their parents as not only friends, but good friends. And in order to do that, I had to check my pride at the door, and accept Jesus as the new man in Carol’s life. It was obvious to me, that in order to do things right, I couldn’t just be fake with him. I had to earn and gain his friendship as well. And in order to do that, I had to completely forget about the past and move on. I have done that. And in a couple weeks, Carol and I will be completely divorced and I can actually say, our friendship is stronger than ever.
When I gauge the most important things I’ve done in my life, other than having kids, repairing my relationship with Carol is tops. We have met each other 50/50 and our family works. The 5 of us can have dinner together. And when Jesus’ kids are there, it’s the 7 of us. My parents are still involved, as is my sister, and just recently, something sort of miraculous happened. After nearly two years of trying to get my parents on the same page with what I was trying to do, it happened. And it kind of happened out of the blue. I remember having a conversation with my mother one day and she was mentioning how odd it was what Carol and I were trying to do. When I told her that everyone outside my family thinks that what we’re doing is special, and that the only people who thought it was weird was my family, the people who truly mattered, she made a comment that she would try to stand behind me. But my dad was still angry. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was angry about. It could’ve been because he thought I was getting the raw end of the deal. It could’ve been because he thought he wasn’t going to see the kids as much anymore. It could’ve been because he thought his family was just going to be different from here on out and was fighting it. But it wasn’t good enough for me. He needed to be on the same page, in order for everything that Carol and I were trying to get right, to actually be right. A couple months ago, he came around, and right now, I can say, life is pretty good. It’s good that Carol and I aren’t married to each other (at least in a couple weeks we won’t be). We’re much better as friends. She’s in a relationship that works much better for her, and I have someone special in my life that is a much better match for me. While the kids still wish we were married, they have done so well in understanding the situation, and they embrace having a future step brother and step sister.
My cousin Nak mentioned to me the other day that it was hard for him to swallow that one day I had a large house and everything that I wanted, and then the next, I was living in an apartment. From the outside looking in, it does seem unfair. But from my perspective, I can’t look backwards. I never measured my own worth with materialistic items. I had many of those things taken away from me, but I never fell down, and stand taller than ever, as far as what I value in my life. I have great friends, great family, a loving relationship, support, a good job, the ability to do things in my spare time that I love doing, and a life that works. Just 14 months ago, I had a goal. And it when my parents accepted what my life had become, that goal was accomplished.
For once, unafraid, I can go where life leads me
And somehow I know I’ll be strong
For once in my life …