August 2, 2011.
Ten years ago. That morning I called my mom and said, “Mom, it’s over. I can’t do this anymore – it’s time to leave.” We packed up a few things – Mom came and helped and the kids and I slept at my parents’ house that night. It was the first day of the rest of my life – the first day on the journey of who I am today.
This is not a day I’m celebrating; rather, simply remembering and reflecting. Marking the day.
Things look pretty different today than they did back then. Obviously, the kids are 10 years older – today they are 22, 21 and 20. Oh, and we’ve added one since then – who could forget our favorite in law Eric? All three of them have college diplomas, with one of them headed to university while the other two work.
Our day to day living looks different. Obviously adding Terry to our family changed family dynamics dramatically. We’ve been living in this house for 8 1/2 years now – the longest I’ve lived anywhere since moving out of my parents’ house.
I’m different than I was. There are obvious changes, like new piercings and tattoos. I’m working in a job that I would have never even guessed at 10 years ago, after spending 8 years at another job I sure didn’t see coming. I have a Master’s degree – again, would have never guessed.
I’m different on the inside too – there has been a lot of stretching and growing. Navigating the divorce and co-parenting, the years of Katie’s illness, learning how to be married again and how blend a family, the last year and a bit since we first heard Mom’s diagnosis – all of this has changed me.
Oh man – if I could just go back and tell that sad, broken woman ten years ago who was sure she had just destroyed her children’s lives that it was going to be ok. That while it for sure was not easy for the kids, they have turned out to be amazing adults. That confidence would return and there would be new dreams and goals. That she would not be walking the journey alone – that besides family, there would be co-workers and friends to help pick up the pieces along the way, cheering all the while.
The night before I left, my then husband said to me, “You can’t leave me. If you do, you will lose any of the good that you’ve done, because people will just see you as the woman who walked out on her husband.” These words stuck with me for a long time – they still pop into my head every now and then. But then I also remember the words of one special grade 12 student who looked at me and said, “Ms. Moedt, you showed us how to walk through the s**t. You taught us how to do it well.”
I hope that’s true – for that grade 12 class and for many others. We can all learn from one another’s journeys – both the good and the bad. It’s part of why I write this blog, hoping some of my experiences will help those who read it.
“Oh, they just took the easy way out.” I’ve heard this said often, referencing a spouse who left their marriage or a couple who filed for divorce. Unless you’ve walked this road, though, you have no idea. Divorce is not easy. There are many times I thought that it would be easier to go back. But without a deep and true commitment to change from each party, just going back so you don’t have to push through the hard is not the answer.
I look back over the last ten years and think, wow – seems like a lifetime. I am so thankful for the life I have today – the relationships I have with each of my kids, my marriage, my family, the dear friends I get to do life with. The experiences I’ve had and opportunities I’ve been given.
God has been so faithful through it all and I’m confident that He will continue to be so. It’s that confidence that keeps me going, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
This is where we started – a little family of four, figuring things out. My mom loved this picture – she printed it out and hung it in her office, saying “This is what I want you guys to always look like – smiling and happy to be together.”
And this is the four of us now – still smiling, still happy to be together. I’m thankful for who we have become over the last ten years and I’m looking forward to seeing what is yet to come.