I really believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Being a single parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
I can be very resourceful.
I love being the girl who knows how to fix stuff.
Sometimes I forget to pay a bill on time.
Sometimes I remember about the bill, but it’s late anyway because I don’t have enough in my bank account to cover it.
I freak out when I can’t find a sitter to watch my kids so that I can go to work.
I’ve had to take at least one kid with me to work and have him hang out in the back room with the ipad.
I am so grateful for my awesome neighbor, Stephanie, who sometimes watches my kids and then she makes it seem like I pay her back when I watch her daughter for 10 minutes.
Sometimes when I’m stressed I yell at my kids.
I immediately feel guilty when I yell at my kids.
Sometimes I let my kids eat popcorn and ice cream for dinner because I just don’t have the energy to prepare anything.
I am always tired.
I stay up way too late, even though I’m always tired.
It’s possible to feel lonely in a house full of noisy children.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have sucked it up and stayed in an unhappy marriage, just so I wouldn’t be so lonely.
I miss my kids when they go to their dad’s.
Sometimes I get can’t wait to give the kids back to their dad, so I can have a break.
Even though I chose this life, sometimes the loneliness is almost unbearable. I mean, I’m talking sit in the car in the garage to avoid going into an empty house lonely. Like, wrap up in a blanket and fall asleep on the couch with the TV on to avoid going upstairs to an empty bed lonely.
Last night I did both of those. This morning I woke up with an overwhelming, oppressive sadness. I had a hard time kicking it. It took a 15 mile bike ride and a 6 mile run before I finally figured out what my problem was. As I stood in the kitchen, leaning against the counter, eating my lunch which consisted of last night’s leftovers warmed up in a take-out box (are you envisioning Diane Lane at this point?), it finally struck me. Today would be my 13th wedding anniversary.
13 years ago today, I woke up surrounded by people I love. I was lying next to Amy. And Britta was in the bed next to us. My best friends in the world. We were at my parent’s house in Michigan. I remember my mom coming in to the room for something, maybe just to see if I was awake yet on my wedding day. I’m pretty sure my dad was in the kitchen making French toast. My sister was likely tending to my niece, MacKenzie, and my brother was there somewhere. I woke up to a house full of people I love.
Today, I woke up to an empty house. No one. Other than the sound of my ceiling fan, complete silence. It took almost every ounce of energy that I had to drag myself out of bed. The loneliness was almost physically painful.
I had a fantastic weekend while the kids were away. I went to Art Hill at Forest Park to drink wine and watch Casablanca with girlfriends on Friday night. Saturday night after working all day and church, I was a 5th wheel when I met friends in the loop for a round of Bags at Market House Pub, followed by bowling at Pin-Up Bowl. And after work Sunday, I had dinner with Nicole and Farrell. So, how is it possible to have such a full schedule and still feel lonely? I don’t know. It just is.
For someone who actually craves alone time, it doesn’t really seem like it makes any sense. But it is what it is. Tonight after work I get to pick up the kids and drive to Michigan for a few days. There is nothing better to heal the heart than a few days in New Buffalo. We’re going to visit my mom, and play at the pool, and go to the beach, and get Shakes at Nancy’s. And for a few days, my heart will be full to overflowing because of my kiddos. And on Sunday, they’ll go back to their dad’s. For a brief moment, I will breathe a sigh of relief. And I’ll go for a run and enjoy being alone. And then by Sunday night, I’ll probably feel lonely again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I know they would do anything for me, just like I would for them. But sometimes there are things you just have to do on your own.
As I was finishing up my run today, Britney Spears came on my ipod. Yeah, that’s right, I said Britney Spears. Ya wanna make something of it?! Don’t judge me. Anyway, I listened to the words “My loneliness ain’t killing me no more, I’m stronger than yesterday”. So, yeah, I’m leaving the loneliness behind me one mile at a time. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the loneliness that comes along with my kids going back to their dad’s, but I do know that I’m stronger today than I was yesterday.