One year ago this very hour I sat in a quiet courtroom watching as a higher power gave permission for marriages to end. It was the room with the EASY button hidden somewhere because each case had already been decided by partners and lawyers and the judge was only there for the formalities. Visitation schedules and child support payments were really the only discussion …. the truth of broken committment was never questioned. I questioned it. I held back sobs that had already bruised my lungs in the parking garage before coming in. And the whole time I berated myself for being emotional at all. This WAS my choice. I was the one standing there and asking permission to break a promise. And the very core of my soul still knows it is not the choice I agree with making. Marriage=Forever. I still believe that. And yet …. twice I have made that promise and twice I have failed at keeping it. I remember the judge asking if we had exhaused all possibilities of staying together and I remember that my answer was spoken with strength and purity. Yes. I did all I could.
Why a sad day today then? Why an anniversary at all? Because it is one year different. A year different than any I’ve ever lived – as they all are – but more a year different than any I ever wanted to choose to live. A friend said this morning … one year stronger. I am not stronger. I am weak. I was stronger when I had to pretend that everything was okay. I was stronger when I was in survival mode, barely able to get out of bed from the waves of depression drowning me. I was stronger when I was choosing to love him, choosing to serve him, choosing to keep a committment. Now I am just me doing life. I am a mother. It is my responsibility and my pleasure to provide and love and find a balance between those 2 things. A job does not make me strong. Having 6 children in my care does not make me strong. I don’t even feel the need to be strong. And THAT is the difference.
The song You Raise Me Up comes to mind.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.
Praise God that He carries me on His shoulders and that He is is my joy and my strength.
Things I have learned in a year:
*My teenage daughters are way stronger, more mature, more beautiful and more of a blessing than I ever imagined children could be. Brittney and Sarah I would not be surviving without you.
*Jumper cables are really not that hard to use every.single.time I have to mow the grass.
*Emergency brakes work in emergencies (like when the brakes go out). And there are people who are willing to help a stranded lady at midnight. Thanks a million Russell and Nick Grahmn.
*Plumbers are very expensive!! As are HVAC contractors and roofers.
*Sometimes a sick child has to go to school.
*Working mothers don’t love their children less … they just make the most of quality time.
*I am horrible at reading/signing papers.
*I need a secretary to file important documents. Car titles and birth certificates should NOT be found under the printer that hasn’t worked in years.
*Co-sleeping is an alternative to crying myself to sleep at night.
*I think I was lonlier when I was married … but the depth of lonliness I sometimes feel is a black hole.
*Garbage pick up is worth whatever it cost.
*The weedeater is taller than me. And again … worth paying someone to use.
*Water dripping from electrical outlets means there is a roof leak.
*Christmas morning is the saddest time in the world to be all alone.
*Poor in the eyes of the government requires lying … and I refuse. I don’t need your childcare help! Thanks 2 million to Amy Dobbins for being the other mom. The better mom.
*15 minutes of silence driving home from work is necessary. Just trust me.
*Kids can eat cereal for dinner.
*Why fast food restaurants are doing so well.
*My small group loves me.
*Jesus loves me.
*I will never be alone.
And the list goes on and on.
I am one year different. I am one year closer to forever.