The beginning is both now and almost 10 years ago. Now because it has taken this long to sit down, reflect, and write about my experiences as well as a decade ago when this journey started. I have a few goals in mind by starting this project:
(1) I hope by sharing my stories, ideas, opinions, and experiences I can help others who are at crossroads in their life and show them they indeed have the strength to get through this part of their story; a “light” at the end of the tunnel
(2) I can share some tips and strategies that I have used to help create a safe, warm, and loving environment to raise children.
(3) To be able to entertain, educate, and enlighten my readership with the fun anecdotes, stories, and thoughts I have to share.
Everything I will share is authentic to me and my experience. I will not over share details as to protect my family. I do this from a place of love and respect. With that said, some details may be raw and/or personal.
So here I am at the beginning of this story which starts in late 2012. A 6 year old, a 3 year old, and me, a then 35 year old, in the middle of a major transition in our lives. To be honest, it felt like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool not knowing how to swim (I still don’t know how to swim :(, I know, I know, very bad!). In the beginning nothing was normal. Seeing the kids according to a new “visitation” schedule was not normal. Not waking up and seeing their faces every morning at the breakfast table was not normal. Yet here I was, having to adapt. Those early days were filled with feelings of sadness, guilt, and at times outright despair. It was taught and reinforced to me by family, culture, and media/social media that separation and co-parenting was a terrible mistake to make and to be avoided at ALL costs. That you were less than if you arrived in the place I was in.
These first few months I did not live in my own home like I had for the previous 10 years. I went back to the bed I had last laid in the summers when I was at home from university. Now I was in this same bed, under the same roof as my mom and dad, now with my two children who were not too much older than babies. They would now see me according to a schedule that was agreed upon with their mother and me. The nights together in those early days, we would sleep together, 3 peas in a pod. They were in some ways delightfully oblivious to the tumult around all of us. We were surrounded by the love of my parents, and their grandparents. This was a big reason when I had moved in; the emotional support was what we all needed at this time. It took me a few months to gather my thoughts and ideas about where our new home would be and what neighborhood to live in. To any of you at the beginning, I know your story well. It is full of doubt and anxiety. Will the kids be okay? Will I be okay? What will everyone think of me? What does the future hold? I can’t answer these questions for you but I can tell you that in the famous words of the Roman philosopher Seneca, “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage”. And however you find that courage, be it through family, friends, or faith, you start to become a little stronger every day. The beginning was so difficult. Filled with grief and ashes. From it all though, was the beginning of the beautiful life that we live today.