Well, yesterday, my daughter turned three. People keep telling me it seems impossible, where has the time gone? But I can tell you that I remember every single moment of it, and it has definitely been three years. But maybe I'm being unfair to my daughter. You see, in the three years since she was born, the following has happened:
- I moved from St. Louis to Fort Worth with a two week old (I should note that I had amazing help from my mom and dad during this).
- I started looking for jobs the minute I had moved, and I started a job as a paralegal less than a month later when she was six weeks and three days old.
- I got hired in the position I am now, then as a law clerk, now as an attorney, doing exactly what I knew I wanted to do.
- I studied for and took the bar exam.
- I passed the bar exam.
- My then-husband (note the "then") was out of work for almost six months after our move.
- He lost that job six months later, although he was fortunate enough to find something else soon afterwards.
- We started the process to build a house, and then had to stop because of the job loss.
- We decided to try and build a house again, and it was completed in March 2013.
- The great furlough of 2013 occurred, and I was unemployed and useless for almost three weeks of my life. (Don't even get me started on this, because that is a separate "Things I Hate" post for another time.)
And all during this time, marital discord ran rampant. So, it came as no surprise when my husband and I separated in February 2014, and our divorce will be finalized in July.
So, in three years, I went from a happily married mother to a single mother, and I feel every single moment of those three years. I feel every heartache, heartbreak, tear, and sigh. I feel every smile, laugh, and joyful squeal. I feel it all, and it feels like a lot - like three years worth of roller coaster emotions.
But regardless of the roller coaster, when I look at the amazing little person that fills my day with kisses, smiles, and sunshine (also demands, boogers, and tears), I'd ride the roller coaster all over again. People say that you'd walk through fire for your children, that you'd do anything, it's just that kind of love. And I always wondered what that actually meant. I mean, in theory, okay, it seems fine and dandy, because you are told you are supposed to love your child that way. But what does that kind of love feel like? How do you know you have it? I never was sure, until maybe this last month.
As I sat alone, grieving for what is happening right now, for what has already happened, and feeling lonely, I thought about the fact that regardless of what happened between her father and I, I had my daughter. Not only did I have her, but I knew that I would do it all over again to have her again. Every single tear, angry word, heartache, and broken heart would be worth it. After three years, I finally felt like I had a love that was worthy of my daughter. And that was a little balm to my bruised heart, exactly what I needed.
I still have my moments when I wonder if I'm doing it right. I still wonder if she's ever going to learn that panties are not for pooping in, potties are. I always hope that she won't resent the fact that I didn't stay home with her, that I have a job that I love. I pray that she'll always know that no matter what happened between us, her father and I love her more than anything in this world, and that we are now and always will be partners in raising her. But at least I know now in my heart of hearts that I love her the way she deserves to be loved.