Single Mom: Family of Choice
I got some tough news last week, which combined with taxes and a lost voice sent me a little bit over the edge.
(We’re all healthy and fine, thanks for asking, and, yes, I know it’s all relative, but it was, well, tough for me).
“I’m fragile right now,” I told my friend. And I was. One little push, heck, nudge even, and I felt like I might break into a bunch of pieces.
I am a worrier by nature, thinking through every possible outcome to most situations, jumping to the worst first, then slowly pedaling backwards. I act first, then think later, which can be as awesome as it is maddening.
To make matters worse, I tackle things alone out of habit, my ability to navigate what I can ask for of my friends (who I consider my family) skewed by a belief that strength comes from independence.
When you’ve never really felt like you’ve had a village, it’s hard to call upon one when you actually do.
But when you do, well, it’s clear why that saying is a saying after all.
I am fortunate, dare I even say blessed, to have people in my life, most of whom I work with on a daily basis, who get me out of my head, who snatch me out of the sky like a balloon floating up to space, and hold onto me when I can’t hold onto myself.
They’re the ones who think everything through before they act, which in some cases, like this, is more awesome than maddening.
They can tell you cliche’ things like “Maybe this is the universe guiding you in a different direction,” and you will listen to them. Mostly. At least after you say “Did you really just say that to me?”
They remind you, by texting “Everything okay?” at just the right time, by taking your kids when you need a little break from the high-pitched “MOMMY LOOK AT THIS!,” by telling you in an eery yet reassuring Godfather style that they will not let anything happen to you, that everything will be alright.
And you believe them. Your village. My village.
So much of what my life is right now is not at all how I imagined it. I coped with my sadness by creating a fantasy world, where alcoholic fathers apologized for what they had done to you before they died, and detached mothers suddenly scooped you up and saved you like you always wished they had.
Where husbands… well, you get the idea.
And so, instead of embracing my reality, my village, I just did it all on my own.
The truth is that my dad is dead. My mom is too busy saving herself to worry about saving me. And I’m not married anymore for a reason.
But I have an amazing family with whom I am not related to by blood. We’re related to each other by love and acceptance. By the ability to say what you feel and know you’re not going to get your head bitten off. To ask for help when you need it and know that they will do whatever they can to make it happen.
I understand now that these people are more than my friends.
They are my family. They are my family. They are my family.
And I will say it over and over and over again until it sets in.