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[For you, for me, for we. My hope in sharing this way in which I unpacked one of many challenging days as a single parent is that you will find yourself too. In these words, the range of feelings, I hope you will feel less alone. Next time you find yourself not wanting to be awake and unable to fall asleep try writing yourself a love letter. It helped me.]

Even if you didn’t ask for this, especially if you didn’t expect this—you are here now.

And, yes the universe loves you. You are here to grow and become…

But, back to this moment. It’s Christmas and your children have just left with their Dad for a week.

You knew it was coming. It’s written in the parenting plan of course. You asked for the first week of break, the week before Christmas, again. The kids asked you to ask because it’s the week that holds the memories—old and new. The first week off of school, last week of Advent, the sacred preparing, the deep honoring of a season, a Solstice, the celebration of the end of the year.

We come close in together,
we three,
my babes and me.

We gather, we make, we cuddle and create meaning in our universe—home, yard, neighborhood and stars.

And, then the magic of gifts given and received, shared meals and stories of elves, reindeer, Santa, and snow comes to an end at noon on Christmas Day. The wrappings on the floor, gifts in small piles, the tree still lit.

Looking about,
what to do with this empty space,
on a day we expect to be full?

Go outside,
a long, brisk walk to a cozy theatre,
surrounded by warm bodies,
distraction on the screen.

And, still it’s there—the ache. Close to the skin, just behind the eyes, inside those soft tender spaces.

Returning home, it’s still there. Now what? A good cry? But, I didn’t want to cry. Not this year. This year I expected it to be easier—myself to be stronger, the kids’ more comfortable.

What happened to ME in this? Where am I?

Maybe tea,
a new book and to bed,
kiss the day good-bye early,
tomorrow is always new.

Will reading about joy with the Dalai Lama help me remember? A reminder that there is worse suffering than this. How do I love myself when I feel alone? A bath, my trusted Tarot cards, reading, writing, listening?

No, not tonight.

But wait…there it is. I forgot about it. Bought weeks ago for myself. A gift wrapped in tissue, almost opened, and wisely set aside—for now. Somehow knowing I would need this reminder from mySelf of what brings me alive.

Looking with savoring eyes at the pages of a small press magazine a text comes through.

“How’d it go?” a friend asks. A call, a connection, more reminders bringing me back to mySelf. There you are again, I think. And, you’re OK.

By the way…you did it! You made it through one more holiday and except for the parting it was noticeably easier than the years before.

We are resilient, we are strong, we are love.

Do we fall into wishing it was different? Yes.

Do we think other people have it easier, or are happier, or at least have new love in their life? Yes, sometimes, admittedly we do, each of us, in our moments.

Underneath the expectations of a day, the disappointments of a lost dream, there is yet the river of love, the current of creativity, the choice of happiness patiently waiting—for this night and for tomorrow.

Go to sleep for now, love. Plan, dream, work, move, create, rest and celebrate in this empty space that is before you. Your babes will be home soon, all is well—you’re here, and you’re loved.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. This part of parenting after separation is so, so hard. That empty ache when they leave and you are still there at home, alone. I didn’t expect it to be so stark and lonely and just gosh darn hard. But it is and, as you say, I am resilient.

    And then there is that moment when the door opens and they are welcome back home… That is the part I always held my breath for.

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