For the past 5 years I have been saying the same thing every holiday season. I will not cry. Yet, every damn holiday season starts to close in on me, and I do the same old thing....Lose my shit, and cry my heart out. What usually does this to me??? My amazing, incredible grown girls. I am beyond blessed with two of the most incredible spirited children. Though I call them children, they are now 25 and 21. Yes, grown but always my little girls.
Eight years ago, I changed everyone's life forever. I asked their dad for a divorce. I would have to say it was the single hardest choice I have ever had to make in my life. Never have I been so torn, between trying longer and harder or finally making the decision to move on with my life alone. The choice was made, and though we didn't take the traditional path to our divorce, we made it through it, and in the end have managed to be able to work through more things now, than when we were married and raising our children. Not really funny how it works that way, far too often. But it does. Simple fact.
I don't regret my 20 year marriage, nor do I regret the 5 years I spent trying to make it work before I finally chose to end it. I still feel that each choice we make leads us on a path we must take to get to where we are going. It simply is part of the journey. I gained and I lost. Many times I lost control, and sadly at one point in our divorce I completely lost myself, and that was part of the reason I asked for the divorce. Was to figure out me!!! And there I was a complete, crying, going off the deep end, basket case unable to see any light at the end of my tunnel. Good news...I crawled my way out of the dark, and kept crawling until I saw light. Amazing what we can accomplish, when we have no choice!
There was never an option of whether to keep going or not, because despite how old my children were they still needed mom and dad. It always seems to amaze me that children are such anchors and guiding lights in rough waters. Whenever I have felt like I was sinking, I would look at their beautiful faces, sparkling eyes, and feel their gentle hugs and I was pulled along to safer shores. It's always been that way with my gals. I won't say that there were never bad moments, imperfect times, or battles that needed to be fought, just that in the end we always pulled through for one another.
So tonight my quiet, introverted Victoria called to chat. We talked about work, life, bills, friends, winter blues, all the things you talk to your grown daughters about. Including her very recent break-up with her girlfriend of 4 years. I'm proud of her for thinking her choice through, and following through on something so painful, yet important for her own growth, and yet sad that she is experiencing one of life's hardest moments. Breaking up, moving on, challenging herself to move out of her comfort zone, and facing it alone for a while. Though I know she will be alright, and she will find her way, I am always quick to let her know that I am here if she needs me, always. Which I am sure she will call, because that's just the kind of relationship I am fortunate enough to have with both of my girls. I finally can say, I am not just your parent, but your friend. There were days when I didn't think I would get there, you know the "I know it all" teenage years, where as a parent we can do no right! Guess what, there is hope. We made it!
As the end of our conversation drew near, I knew inevitably I would have to have the holiday conversation with her. Where are you going? What would you like to do? How can I make this as easy on you as possible? I know their adults, but again we are super close and we love spending time together. Last year my oldest daughter Courtney spent far too much time stressed out, and crying because she couldn't be every where for everyone. Victoria was on the other end of the spectrum where she is not as social as Courtney she would have stayed home and simply ignored the holidays all together rather than deal with the fact that things were no longer simple. Either way it made for a really sad mom. I've cried so many holidays over the last 8 years, and watching your children feel torn between mom's new life away from the home town, or dad's old life still in familiar surroundings has once again tortured me again this year. I had the best intentions of not breaking down....I friggen failed miserably. We didn't come to a conclusion other than I will accommodate any choice she and her sister make, because the bottom line to me is hugging my children every chance I get.
I'm sure I will shed a few more tears before the holidays end, such a small price for such incredible love.
Happy Thanksgiving To All