[This post was originally on my wordpress.com blog.]
I needed a place to write, someplace more social and interactive than my private blogs or offline journals. Until I can settle on a reasonable webhosting company, this is going to be it. Don’t expect frequent or consistent posts, don’t expect a common theme. This could cover everything from just pop culture to parenting, and could be as short as just a link to something interesting or as long as an essay about feminism or politics.
For now, let’s start with what’s going on in my life. As we begin the second month of the new year, I can honestly say that it’s off to a good start. My daughter and I deserve that after the way 2015 ended. I got into and then out of an abusive (verbally and emotionally) relationship that ruined a lifelong friendship and then we lost my daughter’s father to lung cancer just days before the year ended. Those two events combined have reshaped some of my ideas about what I want in my life.
Getting involved in that relationship made me realize that I am still definitely not interested in trying to make room in my life for another person. I have my family, I have very dear friends, and I have romantic connections that fit into my lifestyle. The last thing I want is another adult taking up a large chunk of my time and energy. I never wanted that in the first place, I let someone push past my boundaries to the point where they ignored them completely, it destroyed my mental health for those three months that I was involved in it, and it left me absolutely hating someone I never expected to hate. In the end, I was left with a reminder of how important it is to stand up for yourself and not let someone railroad you into doing something you don’t want to do. It was a total waste of my time and I wish I could erase those three or four months from my life.
Losing my daughter’s father, a man I was once involved with and someone I loved, really put my relationship with our daughter in perspective. Throughout the entire week that we spent back in what’s considered her hometown, I was in awe at her strength and courage. She’s always been a bit behind her peers when it comes to social and emotional maturity–something I attribute to being forced into school too early–so I was concerned about her ability to handle her father’s death. Granted, he’d been sick for over a year so she knew that dying was a possible outcome, but knowing that it is a possibility and coping with it as a reality are two vastly different things. She’s never lost anyone before, other than pets. Losing a parent when you’re a vulnerable 13-year-old girl…well, that’s not something I was prepared to help her with. I’d always told my kids that there wasn’t much they could go through that I hadn’t been through myself, so they could come talk to me about anything and there was a good chance I had some experience in that area. But this wasn’t something I had ever faced. I’ve lost my grandparents and I’d lost my brother, but not a parent. I’m not even sure how I would handle losing my mother now, so it just amazes me how courageous my little girl is. She is grieving appropriately, crying when she needs to, laughing when she needs to, talking to me and to her friends, and letting me know when she just needs some space and silence. I had put her in therapy a couple of months before, knowing what was coming, and she’s received some very helpful books through the Kids Konnected organization and through author Jenny Lawson’s (aka The Bloggess) “Booksgiving” post.
Anyway, aside from helping her cope with her father’s death, we’ve also become closer. We make the most of our time together, we do more together, we talk more. Now that she only has one parent, I feel like she needs me now more than ever and I am going to do everything I can to be there for her, both physically and emotionally. By physically, I mean taking better care of my own physical and mental health so that (hopefully) nothing happens to me and I can still be there for her for many years to come. By emotionally, I mean limiting distractions that could potentially take away from what I could be giving to her.
She needs me and I need her. We have our own little world and it’s quite nice here.