Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Last 5 Yearx

And so it's been.

While I appreciate everyone's supportive comments, I have to shake my head a little at being called "strong" or "inspiring" or some of the other lavish compliments you've bestowed me. I think of Karen MEG and her strength to have her two children. I think of Kori and her four children and her devotion so strong that she's attending parenting classes to be the best mom she can be. I think of Tara and the amazing children she's raised into beautiful and strong young adults. I think of Taylor's family, counting the days she's been in and out of the hospital this past year. I think of OhMommy, baking with her youngest and always finding creative, thoughtful and loving answers to her children's many questions. I think of all of you - all of us - and how we all get up every day and do what we can to bring ourselves and our families that much closer to being the best that all of us can be.

I wonder all the time how Sylvia and Riley will turn out. Quite honestly, sometimes their behavior truly shocks me and I realize that I have no idea what I'm doing. And then I see them holding hands and interested in each other's lives and I know I'm doing just fine.

This year, as Sylvia filled out her teachers' questionnaires and forms, she deliberately X'd out any questions pertaining to her father. When I asked her how she felt about that, she told me (in that "duh" voice), "bad." And it is bad. But I have to admit, I feel like it's good progress. While she still wants to share her news with her dad, and I encourage that, it tells me that she knows that I'm the one that handles all the parental duties of actually raising her.

One time, she asked me if it was okay with me that she still loved her daddy. I told her, of course it is. I want her to love him.

I just fear that he will let her down as much as he's let me down. And he has. And as much as my heart breaks for her, I try to find some sort of sense out of it.

She's learning to accept someone, and even love him, for who he is. And I tell you, she's handled her disappointments in him way better than I ever did.

Riley is most likely growing up faster than she should. She worries about me more than she should. She knows I'm it, and it sometimes scares her. But again, I have to find the positives in it. Her empathy is strong, and her heart is good. She's harder on herself than she should be, but we're working on that. When she does something wrong, I have to remind her that we all mess up sometimes. And sometimes, we just have to put the past behind us.

I know we're making the best that we can out of the situation. And this reflection has been amazing for me to see how far we've come.

Neither of them ever threaten to go "live with Daddy" anymore. Sylvia tells me when she misses her dad, like she did the other day. She heard some music in her music class that made her think of him, and she cried some. And while that hurts, I'm also encouraged by the fact that she told me that of her own volition. And then we moved on.

While I do find it necessary to always be mindful of whatever the next bad thing can be, I am also mindful of how good we have it.

And I have to admit, I look forward to seeing what the next 5 years will bring us.


Mozi Esme said...

I'm so glad you are making it through. Life sometimes deals a rotten hand, I must admit, and it's worst when the babies suffer.

Tara R. said...

April, you're raising two wonderful little girls into fabulous young ladies. If it breaks my heart what they are having to deal with having an absentee father, I can't imagine what you're going through.

While not on the same scale, in some ways it's like when my own father basically 'abandoned' us when my parents got divorced. There would weeks, sometimes months when I wouldn't hear from him. At that time I still loved him, felt guilty because I did, but at the same time I didn't like him too much.

Their devotion to you is so much in conflict with their love for their father, or their ideal of a father. Sounds like Sylvia is pulling back the veil and finally realizing her fantasy of a dad is nothing like the reality of hers. It's incredibly sad that she has to do that, but it will be better than her trying to make him more than he is and continuing to be disappointed. Riley will come to that place soon enough.

IHMO, you ARE doing a fabulous job raising your daughters.

FreedomFirst said...

April, you really ARE amazing. You and Kori and the other people you mentioned each have their own strengths. To me, one of yours is being understanding of your daughters' loss and helping them to work through it, even though it hurts you. Most parents don't and won't do that. Even my in-laws didn't. For a few years after the divorce, the boys couldn't talk to one parent about anything having to do with the other, without either icy stone silence from their Dad or a several-hours-long rant from their Mom. It was pretty depressing. So kudos to you for putting them first.

Loth said...

You're a star and I bet in about 20 years' time, your daughters will tell you so.

Kori said...

I am over here doing the Tu-Pak chest thumping thing-you know it. You know I love you.

Shiona said...

Again, thank you for sharing your story. There are so many reasons things could have been bad. You and your girls are so strong you guys have found a way to deal with it. I find myself remembering that quote "Life is not in the cards you hold, it's what you do with the ones you are dealt."

This applies to everyone you mentioned in your post. Keep it up all of you strong mamas!

Anonymous said...

I think youre inspiring because I've only been a single mom for 2 years now, and I can't even imagine what my life will be like in the next 5 years. Reading your blog makes me feel like if I can get as far as you've gone and be as strong and confident as you are, then maybe I can handle being a single mom.
That goes double for all you single moms who have made it even further.

Jen said...

They sound like normal, basically happy kids who are doing fine and will continue to be fine.

Every family has *something*. Kids are extremely resilient.

And pooh on you - you ARE a great mom and yeah, you make mistakes like all the rest of us. That just makes us all more interesting, right?

Zoeyjane said...

I think this was an excellent wrap up of the whole tale that I've lurked. And yes, spot on about those women, but don't negate your own genius, kay?

Anonymous said...

Trust me when I tell you that you will look back on these times and be amazed at yourself. You will ask, how the hell you did it. You will give thanks for the strength you showed and the right kind of modeling you have done for the girls. You will congratulate yourslef for a JOB WELL DONE, and you will mean it!

Do you remember the song "Closing Time"? It is one of my favorites becasue I love the line about every ending is a new is so true...each DAY ends, and you have a brand new beginning tomorrow....stay mindful of the very idea that you can start new every single day...and you are amazing!