By Lillian Michelle
It is funny how sometimes things can feel so incredibly different yet all together the same. Life for our family has changed so much this year. Separation from my husband was one of the most difficult, bravest, scariest, and all-around horrible things I have ever done. I have had moments where I felt so alone I could cry and other moments when I felt a glorious sense of joy and accomplishment come over me. I have watched my children struggle and recover and have been witness to a new sense of myself emerging from the darkness. It has certainly been a changing of seasons that I do not take lightly.
This morning, I sat at the dimly lit kitchen counter with a cup of lukewarm coffee in my left hand and a computer mouse in my right hand. Maggie, our fluffy senior aged dog lay quietly at my feet sleeping off her morning walk and kibbles. The kids would not be up for another hour at least. I normally get up around 5am so I can enjoy some quiet before the storm. It also allows me a chance to get a little work done… I work from home.
The day before was one of those days that I was not sure I was going to make it through. I knew that I would survive but there were moments that I questioned how. While I sat in the car line to pick up my daughter, lights started flashing on my dash. None of them made sense to me but what do I know about cars? The engine light, the airbag light, the battery light, all the lights! They all flashed on and off and I worried that we might not make it home, but we did and I was relieved.
My friend is a mechanic so after I got the kids down for the night, I sent him a picture of what I was looking at. “It’s the alternator. You’ll need to contact the kids’ dad to have him take them to school in the morning. Your car will never make it,” he said. A sense of dread filled my soul as I dialed my ex-husband’s phone number and waited on him to answer. I explained the situation but was promptly turned down. There was no help to be had.
Overwhelmed, I felt my body slide downward and found myself in the corner of the kitchen, my back against the cabinets, sitting on the floor. Tears filled my eyes and flowed down my face as I buried my head into my dog’s furry chest. I sobbed until I could not shed another drop. Maggie sat quietly at my side, comforting me with her soft and friendly presence. I think she knew that I was hurting.
“Now that’s finished. Let’s get it squared away,” I said to Maggie as I stood up and brushed myself off. First, I called up AAA and arranged a tow truck to pick up the van and take it to a nearby shop. Then I got in touch with my best girlfriend to pick the kids and me up to get them to school. She also offered to let me borrow her spare vehicle.
“That wasn’t so bad,” I said to Maggie as we headed off to bed. She brushed her face against my leg looking for a pet then seemed to smile back as if she agreed. Now I sit here in the early moments of the day. The sun is not up but it is well on its way. I can hear rustling upstairs, so I rise and start laying out the breakfast dishes, gummy vitamins, and put the prepacked bookbags and lunch boxes in their places by the door.
“Good morning, Mommy!” Quinn says as he peeks his still sleepy looking face around the corner. He smiles as he races over to hug my waste then crawls up in the chair at the table to eat his Cheerios. His sister soon follows suit, and this morning becomes just like every morning ever. Morning time has always been my favorite time of the day, even before the separation. It is full of hope and promise. Little things like packing lunches and puffy eyed grins remain no matter what the circumstances.
“Let’s hurry! Miss Ellen is coming to pick us up. We get to ride with her to school today! Won’t that be fun?!” The kids were immediately thrilled beyond belief. They finished their breakfast and scurried back up the steps to put on the clothes that I had laid out for them.
Hair and teeth and kisses and hugs. Well wishes and more hugs, then my day was underway. The tow truck came and my van was fixed. All was well. I am happy to say that today, despite the frustrations and fears, was a very good day.