My baby turned two ten days ago. A milestone that snuck up on me. The second anniversary of my son bursting into my world- rocking it to it’s foundation- rebuilding it in the most beautiful and unexpected way.
I have mentioned before that I never wanted kids. I knew that they required a level of selflessness and patience that I did not posses. And quite honestly, I didn’t think my life would bring me to a point that I could have a child. By that I mean, I never thought love and marriage were in my future. I had big plans of completing a business degree and packing my bags- chasing the lights of Broadway. Hoping the stage could fill the hole in my heart constantly searching for love- for fulfillment.
Life had other plans for me. I did not chase the allure of the stage. Instead, my dreams shifted- to that of stability. Creating a life with a person I loved. Building the foundation to a career that I adore- that makes me proud of myself. One that fulfills me more than I could have ever imagined. A talent I never realized I could posses.
I often think back to that time in my life- when I had the overpowering urge to conquer the stage- the hubris that made me believe I had a chance- but never because I look backwards with regret. More that I wish she had known what I know now. That the path my life took is so much more difficult than she ever expected. But within the struggle, the pain, and the uncertainty, my life has experienced beauty that I could never have dreamt of. An adventure only executed in fantasy. But it gets to be my reality.
When I reflect on the path my life has taken, I can see the divine intervention that pushed me along- often revealing itself as heartache or disappointment in the moment. Some of the mistakes made- the heartbreaks incurred- were of my own poor choices. My own miss-steps. But others were the bedrock of elegance that threads though my life- my heart- my soul.
I believe with every cell in my body that my son was destined to grace this earth. I think his life will brighten all those he encounters along his own path. I believe I needed him to find myself.
Sometimes I fear making statements like the last one that I typed. I never want my son to feel a sense of pressure from me. Like he needs to be something specific to continue brightening my world. Because it isn’t anything he could- or couldn’t- do. His mere presence and place in my heart has helped me bloom as a woman, a mother, a person. I could never regret the life I have led, for it brought me him.
The weekend before last, as I delighted celebrating the day he entered this world, in the dramatic fashion befitting such an enormous soul, I reflected. I stepped back and gazed at the tent full of his tribe- the individuals that will insulate him from the darkness the world holds. They cannot protect him from heartbreak or sadness, but they will envelop him with their love, allowing him a safe place to land. People that have entered his life without question- through blood or friendship.
Though the day was a celebration of my son’s birth, it also held a new milestone- one I never anticipated. A milestone of co-parenting. Throughout the separation and divorce of Moose’s father and I, my sole focus has been my son. Protecting him from my own heartbreak. Providing as smooth a transition for my little man as possible. Putting his needs and emotional health above my own. Above the vindictive and self righteous voices screaming in my ear. And that party, that celebration of my son’s life, was the culmination of the strain, the effort, my love. Because he didn’t have to choose between his parents. He didn’t have to sit in discomfort. He didn’t have to select who was invited based on which parent was hosting the party. We smiled. We talked. We were comfortable. Something I worked toward, but wasn’t sure I would ever achieve. I thought it would be a mask I had to adorn, not a true state. But on that day, as I watched my former mother-in-law push my ecstatic birthday boy on the swing, hugged my ex father-in-law, and chatted with my ex-husband about the drinks he provided, I realized that it all happened. The clarity and peace I had been striving for had been reached.
This is the new normal. This group of people that are no longer connected through a marriage, but will remain a family for a little boy. A family that will grow with time. More individuals added, enlarging the foundation of love and safety for my son.
I am not under the illusion that it is smooth sailing from here. There will be disagreements. There will be moments of emotional insanity I must control. Righteous indignation I must conquer. But that sunny day, laughing under a tent with my son, surrounded by his tribe, that was the day the foundation solidified. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have reached the other side of heartbreak. I still have scars. Ghosts that whisper in my ear, telling me hurtful untruths. But I am at peace with the new phase of my life. Hope wrapped around me, insulating me against the terror. Because of all the things I fear- all of the things that bring my anxiety to a boil- I no longer worry about my son. I do not worry about the love that surrounds him. The healthy environment that he will grow up in. I don’t do everything right. I cannot control all of the circumstances that life will throw our way. But this- this I did right. This I executed with a grace I wasn’t sure I was capable of. This is me being the best mother I can be.