When I first thought about posting a year end review of 2009, the title in my head was "2009-KISS MY ASS" or "Good Riddance" or something of the sort. There is no doubt that this was a very tumultuous year for me. But I can't write 2009 off like that, because as much BS and heartache that this year brought for me, it also brought all the lessons and enlightenment that come along with all that crap, and many other blessings that I could now never see myself without.
They say that whatever you are doing at midnight on New Year's sets the precedence for how the rest of your year is going to go. Last New Year's Eve, the ex and I decided to share the kids for the evening and spend it all together one last time. It was awkward, miserable, and I spent half the night crying on the phone with my Dad wishing I was with him instead. Yes, I would say that pretty much set the tone for this past year.
Last January, the person closest to me in the entire world, my Dad, would call me and say he had a bit of news. He was hesitant to tell me, so I finally blurted out the last thing I thought it could possibly be: "What, Dad, do you have like a brain tumor or something?" Thinking of it is like a knife in my chest now. He comforted me over the phone as much as he could, as I was absolutely hysterical. But I knew that God would not take so much away from me at once...my marriage, my family, and now within just months of my separation, my father too? The man in my life, my rock, the only reason I was getting through??? No way. God wouldn't let that happen.
Just last week, I sat next to my father at what I think is his 12th hospital. He lay there staring at me. Completely unresponsive, twitching, 130 pounds of bones and skin, almost unrecognizable if not for his signature salt and pepper hair and brown eyes. 10 months of nothing but torture and agony, never seeming to get better. Hell on earth.
So, in 2009, I stopped believing in God. At least, the "God" that I always thought I knew, the God I grew up believing in.
There are no lessons from what has happened to my father, and there will never be one that is worth it to me to have lost him. I would give almost anything in my life up to have him back in some capacity.
That being said, I can't deny that this year brought about great change for me in many ways. I liberated myself, found myself, learned what true happiness is. I found out that I have the strength to get through anything, even when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and die. I didn't.
I began this year apprehensive and depressed about moving on from a marriage that was no good for me or my children, to a man that did not respect or care for anyone but himself. I spent the first several months grieving the death of that dream, realizing that my ex would never be who I thought he was for 12 years, and letting go of the role of wife after it was all I knew for so long.
Slowly I began to emerge from my depression and realize that life may not only be ok again, but better than I had ever imagined. I started to love and relish my freedom. I gladly waved goodbye to the resentment and anger that resided in my home for way too long. I found out that the best kind of happiness comes from the kind you create for yourself, because you are incapable of disappointing yourself.
Maybe most importantly, I discovered the power and importance of friendship. I discovered that there are people out there who care, who will show up to my house with food when I just can't do it, who will paint my hallway after my 2 year old goes on a Sharpie rampage, who will watch my children for me while I visit the hospital, who will hold my hand when I have difficult medical tests to get through myself.
I learned how healing laughter is, how great it feels to go out to eat and to a movie alone, how to feed my soul with all the things and people that I love. To someone who spent her entire adult life "doing" for a husband and 3 children, this was huge.
I learned a ton about being a single mom. I learned that to have a happy mother is to have happy children. That laundry doesn't always have to be put in drawers. That my money is best spent on hiring help for things that take time away from my family. That true friends don't care if my house is a disaster anyways. That I can ask for help and not be thought of as a burden. That my kids don't need much more in life than a mom who reads them bedtime stories, is affectionate and caring, and does her best. That they may not appreciate it now, but will someday. That friendships with other single moms are invaluable. That my single motherhood is a badge of honor, not a scarlett letter.
I also can't leave out that I'm wading my way, although maybe not quite so gracefully, through trying a serious relationship again. Learning how to hold onto everything I've learned, recognizing when I'm losing myself, sifting through what is my past baggage coming up versus what is possibly an actual problem. Learning how to be a whole person and not 1/2 of a couple is not easy, but also not swinging to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and keeping someone at arm's length. But all lessons that must be learned at some point, and with a man I am absolutely willing to try with.
I titled this blog "Desperately Seeking Me" almost exactly a year ago because I had no idea who I was without my marriage and the role I had played for so long. I felt lost and scared and alone. I can honestly say that I know exactly who I am now, and that I love who I have become. But I won't change the title because that search will never be over, there is a lifetime to discover new things about myself, and that I will always be changing and evolving and learning.
So this year at midnight, I will be surrounded by my 5 closest friends and their spouses, the man I love, good food, good drink, lots of laughter and happiness, and wishing for a miracle for my father. (feel free to join me on that one)
Here's to the endless possibilities for 2010, and I wish the best to all of you and yours.