I have contemplated writing this post a few times in the last several months. Aside from my own misunderstood identification that I have as a single mom and the fact that actually writing and clicking on publish would reveal to the world what really is going on my life, I am so unclear as to why I have hesitated. I have pondered, I have questioned, I have written and deleted more times than I can recall. I have been struggling with the thought who am I?
If I am not single a mom that responsibilities rest squarely on my shoulders, then who am I? If I am not in this completely alone, then what do I identify with? If I am no longer in need of watching every penny spent, then what can I hang onto?
The truth as to what is going on in my life is this: a man. Not just any man, but a human being that sees me and respects me. How cliché to say that, yet I don’t know how to describe what has transpired in my life over the last year. Now rest assured, I have done my work. I have walked into and out of the fire of self discovery and ownership of
mistakes previously made. I say mistakes because I believe that even the challenges and pain were incredible opportunities to learn. With that said, I know that this man is uniquely different from any predecesors in my life.
It all began one year ago. A coffee shop and a long discussion on current programming for students with ASD in my school district. A connection of two like-minded people trying to make sense of Autism. Him a speech and language pathologist at an elementary school and me an Autism Tutor and mother of my special girl. It was within just a day or two that the daily conversations began. Daily meaning daily. Sometimes multiple times per day and by August it was more than multiple.
The fall season came with the usual fury of back to school. Each of our lives continued to move parallel in their respective places. I was clear from the beginning that I had my work to do on myself to better understand my choices in my marriage and to know that I can access happiness within myself. I was sure to learn to love myself before I could ever again look to another person to love me.
A dinner here and a dinner there but always the conversation. What I didn’t realize at that time, the foundation for what I know today was carefully being crafted with mortar of respect and bricks of acceptance. The hours talking and looking deep into the heart of what it means to experience life. Each of us bringing to one another perspectives and insights.
Looking back, he was always a few steps ahead of me in the interest of deepening our ‘friendship’ to a place of romance. And yet, I was sure that the Universe was offering me a chance to speak my truth and to demonstrate integrity. I was somehow, this time around, clearly able to express my needs and my desires to keep our friendship a friendship. During this time, I had a brief stint dating someone who while he was a nice enough guy, he was clearly in my life to test my will power to respect self and speak my truth. That ended and I was able to call on my ‘friend’ in a time of short-lived sorrow.
My desire to visit my father (the-circle) was a decision I knew was made as I was making my way out of the labyrinth. This was truly a moment in my life that I was deeply taking care of myself. It was during this weekend that I was more closely connected with myself than I ever recall being before. During my weekend, I was still in close daily contact with this man. (thank you inventor of text messaging). What I didn’t know was it was at this time, his selfless commitment to stand by me was made. The commitment that no matter what the outcome, he was there to slay the dragon alongside me. Whatever the dragon may be.
When I returned from my weekend with my Dad (and-now-i-can-give), the world for my oldest was shaken by a terrible choice. My heart was broken and my world of dreams for my son was temporarily shattered into tiny bits of gigantic worry. I once again felt alone and riddled with guilt. Had I not done enough to prevent this? What was going to happen? My mind was racing and I was emotionally broken. I had just courageously stepped into the history of childhood to come home to my son creating a very challenging future for himself. And there sat my dragon slayer. The snow outside was large and fluffy. The chai latte was spicy and warm. My eyes were filled with tears while this man sat across the table and allowed me to just be broken. He lovingly looked at me while I cried. He offered support. He listened. I was not alone. It was at this moment, unbeknown to me, that I was falling deeply in love.
Thanksgiving approached during which I was determined to create a ritual for my children that I hoped would offer a blessing of sorts for our new home and our new way of being a family. It was my newly found strong voice that spoke my truth to the rest of family that I needed to do this for my kids, alone. One evening prior to Thanksgiving, the doorbell rang and this man handed me a gift card for groceries. He knew the importance of this dinner and he also new the budget that I was on. He valued my commitment to creating a meal that would symbolize gratitude for my family.
Still our relationship was deeply rooted by friendship and by respect. We laughed. We cried. We shared. We were spending more time together in the evenings and the kids were soon starting to see who this man was. I was very clear that I did not want to shove this man into my kids life, but instead I wanted whatever our relationship was defined as, to be unfolded like a beautiful tapestry. I did not want to toss my ideas and opinions onto my kids. I needed them, and honored them, in making their own conclusion about who he is. Unfolding slowly and carefully.
What has transpired between then and now can be simply described as if the threads of our lives were carefully woven into that beautiful tapestry that continues to unfold. Each day offering another opportunity to experience life in partnership. Partnership that includes and requires communication where the topics are not always easy. Partnership that includes respect and love. Partnership that includes support and encouragement.
Most of all this partnership includes faith. Faith over fear. Faith in the knowing that I am worthy. Faith in the knowing that my life was lived for this moment, this opportunity, this love. Faith in the knowing that my kids will experience respect for who they are.
Faith in the knowing that this is love.