Winter smacked me in the face as I bore on against the wind toward my children’s school. Everyday it was the same, a mad dash from my driveway to the schoolyard to collect two bright-eyed whirling dervishes with questions and stories and hungry bellies. I would swallow my exhaustion with a smile, sometimes forced, and keep my answers short and my nods curt. This was their time. I was merely a landing place for their exuberance.
Today was no different. Frigid, as it had been for weeks now, we huddled together heading home. Every now and then my son darted off, as he does, for a snow bank or a pile of slush to kick. In my mind I sorted through all that needed to be done as soon as we walked in the door: homework, snacks, laundry, dishes, dinner and work with job #2.
We had a rhythm now, the three of us. We were a team. And it hit me. I was here. I was living the moment for which I had longed. I had dreamed of this since the end of my marriage: Stability, order (kinda), understanding, independence. We were here.
I stood in my kitchen as my daughter helped my son with his French homework and put the back of my hand to my forehead with a sigh. I was living, not merely facing, my worst fear before the separation: being a single mother. I had so resisted getting to this point…fought it tooth and nail. I didn’t trust myself and my strength. I doubted my capacity to lead, to love and I most certainly questioned my patience.
It seemed all the crap I thought about myself was just that. And so it made me wonder….what else have I been wrong about?
“Mommy!” called my daughter. “He won’t stop kicking me!”
“I am not!” shrieked my son. “I’m just moving my legs!”
There it was. Normalcy. It showed up the moment you began thinking ‘Hey, this ain’t so bad’.
Because don’t get me wrong…there has been chaos too. And there have been tears and times I’ve caught myself saying the most ridiculous, unreasonable things. Things that even had my kids cocking their heads in confusion.
But in that moment, something like a quiet perfection washed over me despite the noise.
I smiled to myself before I looked at them, grateful to be exactly where I was without regret…accepting the present moment as it was. There was peace and power here. I didn’t quite understand it, but gosh, it felt good.
“Legs to yourself, baby,” I said.