Today I tried to reach out to somebody in need. “I’ve never been in your exact situation, but I know what it’s like to have your life not go as planned.”
I’m trying to treat people with that approach. I know from personal experience that just because I’m smiling, it doesn’t mean I’m having a good day. It means I’m good at faking it and I’m trying really hard to actively seek happiness. I believe this is something we create for ourselves and can’t be tied to people, events, or things.
I’ve had some pity party moments this week. It’s not the taking-care-of-kids-alone thing. They are fine. I think we’ve figured that out. In fact, I think that is actually the easiest part of this entire situation. I always wanted lots of kids and I have a lot of kid experience. I would have had more kids even.
It’s all the other stuff. Like…what to do with myself today at the end of the quarter when I have a tradition of going out to lunch with Kenneth. Or who to talk to at home about politics or my random theories. It’s the absence of the person who you confide in, complain to, brainstorm with, etc. I often think that if I do this again, I want to try really hard to focus on those good parts of companionship. We often get caught up in the worst stuff. How the person drives you crazy. Disagreements over stupid things that mean nothing in the grand scheme of life. We do this with colleagues and family and friends too. But there is so much more. It’s a shift in thinking that I’m still working on. Focusing on the positive and learning to be patient with others.
The other thing always on my mind is stressing out about how I look because I’m convinced the only thing worse than being a single mother is to be an unattractive single mother (thanks, Society). I also realized how lazy we get with ourselves in relationships. (Sorry, Kenneth. But to be fair you always wore those horrible t-shirts I hated.)
I haven’t given up on being positive, either. I’m trying to do things for myself. I’m trying to focus on my goals. I’m trying to spend too much money traveling (I’m good at that). I’m trying to not to get caught up being sad that the kids don’t have their father and instead enjoy their childhoods: Petey’s neck rolls, the way Ellie travels anywhere with a pile of toys and her toddler Cinderella high heels, or even Ethan dumping applesauce all over his carseat yesterday and telling me it was a science experiment (with a serious face). I don’t take impermanence for granted.