I have put off writing a New Year's post for several reasons. One is that I so don't do the whole resolution thing, and another is that I really haven't had much to SAY. Or maybe the quietness I have been feeling inside has translated to a distinctly quiet voice, or perhaps I have been taking a much-needed break from the whole online world lately, or hell, maybe I have just been feeling lazy. Whatever the case may be, I am back with a vengeance today, ready to get back into the blog as well as this next chapter of my life. I don't believe in fresh starts, but I DO believe in new beginnings, using lessons learned, and basically doing better today than I did yesterday-or last year, as the case may be.
So to recap the last year, for myself if not for you, I will sit back and remember how much things have changed in the last year with regards to Steve. On New Year's Day last year, he broke up with me, and then there was a period of time where I experienced a lot of heartbreak and pain and absolute fury. This year, on the same day, we were driving home from Boise with all of the kids after having spent the evening going to a wedding as a family. There are still issues in this "relationship," obviously, but for my own part I am coming to accept that even though it makes no sense to anyone else, even though it certainly doesn't follow what "tradition" says it should look like, it still has validity. Yes, I am still a single mom. Yes, I am in love with a man who drinks alcoholically. Yes, he does things that cause me pain and anger. Do those things negate the progress that has been made? No, I don't think so. Am I missing out on Something Wonderful by continuing to maintain what we have at the moment? I don't think so. So yes, this is a good thing. And it has to do with me making different decisions about my life and where I want it to go; it has to do with me taking back my own power and making conscious decisions-DAILY-about what is or isn't good for me. And I reserve the right to change my mind at any given time about those same things.
There has been a lessening of the bitterness in general, a softening in my heart somewhere. You see, I am a single mom because I choose to be. I could convince Steve to marry me if I really set my mind and my heart to it, I suppose-but that would mean taking on an active alcoholic embroiled in current legal issues, financial issues, emotional issues, and that is not a choice I am willing to make. I am also not willing to lose myself and my identity in order to get and keep any man, much less Steve. I could easily find someone and make myself over into the kind of person I think he wants me to be, but I have been there and found that the price is too high. So today I can look at my life and instead of feeling as if I am a victim of circumstance, instead of feeling like I am single because of thing done to me, I can be aware that I am making choices every single say to provide a better life for myself, for my kids, and right now, the better choice is to stay where I am and just be grateful. That isn't such a bad place to be.
Also in the last year, we have had the Crazy Stalker Guy, problems with Eli, and the ongoing situation with CF (court in 7 days!); I have also had to deal with crippling financial setbacks, and yet here I am in January breathing a sigh of relief. This is what I have learned: that we are stronger a family than I gave us credit for, and that I am FAR stronger a woman than I previously even imagined I could be. We have gone through the mill in more ways than one, and have been battered around a little bit more by life, but you know what? We are all still standing, maybe even a little bit straighter. I did not do this on my own, I know, and I won't claim to. But I will claim to have been kicked in the metaphorical balls and have gotten up, still wheezing and holding onto those vulnerable parts, still breathing. Again, not such a bad place to be.
I have learned how to cry unashamedly in the last year, as well as laugh like hell when it hurt too badly to cry one more tear. I have learned to heal old wounds in myself while mothering a vulnerable, shattered daughter, I have learned how to be the man of the house when confronted with an angry, looming teenaged boy. I have learned better how to follow through on consequences, and have learned when to praise instead of pick apart. I have become willing to let my life unfold as it will, and I have learned to live it and be as happy as I can, because this is the only one I have.
I face this new year with courage; courage to take off the shelf these dusty, unused dreams and put them to good use. Courage to dream again, to let die the ingrained belief that I simply do not deserve the world. I face the year now with the courage to love whom I love with no explanations or justifications, to buy pillows without needing permission, to simply be who I am. And the courage to rest at night know that it is enough.
Happy, happy new year to all of you. Thanks for coming along for the ride!