Not So Simply Single said it best when she said I should take time to grieve and then just go out and f*** somebody. I took that advice, but not exactly in that order. Now that I’ve F****** somebody, some immature part of me thinks the “score is settled” and now I can allow myself to be sad about the daughter (she was really my step-daughter, but I loved her like she was my own) and husband that I have lost.
Reflectively, I have realized that I loved Minute Man and Girl Child far more than I ever thought. I naively thought that there was one, and only one, man that I would love more than any other. I was wrong about that. I love Minute Man more than I’ve ever loved anyone. I look at both men now and see them as night and day.
One is struggling in life, but maintains an indestructibly positive attitude. The other has succeeded in every area life, but displays a bitterly negative attitude. Honestly, I would rather be with a man who has nothing that is enhanced by a positive attitude, rather than a man who has everything that is diminished by a negative attitude. Because really, no matter what cards life deals you, isn’t attitude the only thing that makes the difference between a good hand and a bad hand?
I suppose all that is neither here nor there though. I didn’t leave Minute Man because of his attitude or his position in life. I left him because he (in my eyes) walked out on our marriage during a time that I felt I was successfully making the hardest sacrifices a wife could ever be asked to make. How does a man walk out on his woman when she’s doing nothing more than standing by his side through the hardest battle of his life when nobody else would?? Bah! But at some point the reflection stops… and the memory of how unhappy I was takes hold and I push forward because somewhere, deep down, I was prepared for him to break my heart.
However that still leaves Girl Child because, deep down, I could never have been prepared for the impact she would leave on my heart. I tried to prepare for the possibility of losing her by setting boundaries. I always thought that there was a limit to how far into my heart I would let her.
I did this because a more realistic part of me knew there was a chance that Minute Man might not last forever, and at that point, I wouldn’t face losing just him. I would lose her too.
I can’t have children of my own, so losing her might mean losing my only chance of knowing the love between mother and child. And let’s get real, who the hell wants to ever risk something of that magnitude? So, I did my best to love her from a distance.
I realize now, if I had succeeded at that, I would not have kept one of her stuffed animals when she left. I realize now, if I had succeeded, her pictures would not still be hanging above the fireplace. I realize now, if I had succeeded, I would not be fighting back tears as I type these words.
However, that too, is neither here not there, and I cannot dwell on what I have lost, but only on what I will do with what is left.
Through it all, what is left is me. In fact, I am a stronger version of me than which existed five years ago. This wiser version will learn from her mistakes and rebuild from ground zero, smarter and better prepared for the next time she is foolish enough to give her heart away to a man - and his child.
I’m willing to bet in five years from now, I might be reflecting again on the loves of my life and realize that neither of these men were right for me because I will have met the one that makes both men pale in comparison. I’m willing to bet this because, reflectively, each time I fall in love, it is deeper and more powerful than the last.
So here’s to phases and reflections! May the information glaring back at us be used in preparation for creating a brighter future.