Being a divorced, single parent is just the weirdest thing.
There are a lot of weird things in life. Some things only have felt weird to me for a season–like becoming a parent. The whole first six months of that, I was like, “Holy crap, you mean they just don’t stop crying? And they don’t sleep? And my LIFE HAS ESSENTIALLY BEEN TAKEN OVER BY THIS TINY BEING?”
But, I got over the weirdness of that. It took me about six months, as I mentioned, and my brain adjusted to the fact that I was a real mom. I was responsible for this tiny, remarkable being, and by golly, I was determined to get it right.
But this divorced, single parent thing? Meh. Not so much.
I wrote about my journey towards accepting my divorce here. I think I did a pretty fabulous job at grieving the loss of my marriage. I also think I have done a pretty fabulous job at being okay with where I’m at in life; I’m definitely okay with telling others that I’m divorced. I’m definitely okay with talking about the mistakes I made in my marriage and accepting responsibility for them. I did all that hard work through therapy, reading, and intense reflection.
But watching my daughter walk out the door and get into my ex-husband’s car every other weekend?
I’m not good at that.
I cry. I don’t cry in front of her, but I call out, “I love you,” close the door, watch her skip to his car, sit down in my rocking chair and cry.
I feel so alone in that moment. And it’s not about being physically alone. It’s about this feeling that no one understands my suffering in that moment. You may be thinking, geesh, Emily–“suffering” is a strong choice of word there. But THAT, my friends, is my suffering.
The experience of watching my child walk out the door of my home and prepare herself mentally to transition over to another home for a brief amount of time, while knowing that the rules and the way the households are run are totally different–THAT is my suffering.
This is why I sometimes ball up on Sunday mornings when I’m child free in my bed and hit the snooze button until noon. Not because I need that much sleep; but, because I am sad for my child. I grieve that she doesn’t have the normalcy of a childhood that I did. I grieve that I am not with her. I grieve that I don’t know what she’s doing in her other home. I grieve that she has to transition all the time between two homes which is just heartbreaking to me.
So it’s in these moments, like I had this a.m., that I literally put my hands on my heart, and say to myself, “This is hard. It hurts. Give yourself this moment to cry. And then, go and do the next thing.”
Whatever that thing may be–now go and do that, Emily. You must do that next thing. And then the next, and the next, and so on.
So now I’m going to the laundromat. Because that is my next thing.
And as a sidenote, when you feel sad, google “suffering quotes.” I know… You’re probably thinking– won’t this make me feel more down? No, it won’t, because you will be reminded that suffering is part of the human existence. Here are just a few I found this morning:
“To hurt is as human as to breathe.” -J.K. Rowling
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seated with scars.”-Kahlil Gibran
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill
“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.” -Marianne Williamson
“I thought faith would say, I’ll take away the pain and discomfort, but what it ended up saying was, I’ll sit with you in it.” -Brene Brown
So, my faith is with me here in this laundromat. And I know that when I feel that overwhelming sadness, I will once again, put my hand over my heart, recognize that the moment sucks, and then do the next thing.
And the next thing.
And then the next.
And then, you’re okay again. I’m okay again. 😎