It’s September 2019. You’ve just spent nine months alone with two kids under 2. Aiden goes to an amazing center and is making amazing progress, but you drive 45 minutes one way to get him there. You kicked ass getting him into the best place possible and you are looking at starting speech as well. You live in a house on a mountain an hour, at least, from all of your friends and support system. You’ve been kicking butt in the gym, turning stress into motivation. You’re finally seeing a therapist to work out your internal demons, childhood trauma, and to cope with military life while having a special needs child. You have driven cross country twice without a man by your side, you did have your mom and sister though. You were expecting your husband to get home and life to get easier.
You were wrong. Your life is about to fall apart. You will lose your entire world. That house you bought and thought you were going to raise your kids in, your going to be out of it in less than a month. You’ll spend three weeks pretending everything is perfect because your husband just got home, but in reality you are getting a divorce. You will give up your self respect to try and keep a man you are not meant to be with. You will lie to yourself, to friends, to family, trying to keep your life together. All that progress you made in therapy will feel like a waste, you are going to be admitted to a mental institution for a week to cope with the immense tragedy that just unraveled around you.
You will leave that hospital and go say goodbye to the two women who held your life together during the deployment and the past three weeks, thank you Meredith and Savannah. The next morning you will drive 36 hours straight back to Georgia. You will pack your van with your clothes, some toys, a basket of important treasures, your kids, and your dog. Your son is going to lose almost all the progress he made in California, you will get him into a center but he still won’t be making the strides he was. You’re going to go back to working at the restaurant at night while taking care of the kids during the day.
That’s what’s about to hit you. But I want to show you what you’ve done since then. It’s now September 2020. You have gotten two places on your own, the first one probably shouldn’t have happened, but hey it was a stepping stone. You were able to land a full time job at a company who understand your needs with your children and who have been flexible with your schedule to fit them. You quit the restaurant and can devote the time you have off with your children. You fought for your second son to be diagnosed and to get services. And while it’s never the best thing for a child to be diagnosed, because of his diagnosis, both kids get into the best center in the area. They are thriving. They have surpassed all your expectations in only a couple months, you have a renewed hope for their future.
You are independent, you have been crushing the goals you’ve set for yourself, you’ll even have the associate degree you’ve been working on for three years in one more semester. You get your own car without any co-signers. Oh and you did all of the above with a worldwide pandemic going on. You have a lot of days where you struggle to see how far you’ve come, you think your still in the same place of misery from before but your not. You’ve found peace and solace in being alone, the loneliness doesn’t feel like drowning anymore. You’ve become your kids biggest advocate and make sure they are surrounded by all the love possible.
Aiden learned to hug this past weekend, and while Jameson still beat him to the punch, like he does with most milestones, you’re not going to be able to hold back your tears that both your sons will give you hugs and kisses. Remember two years ago when you prayed for Aiden to just make eye contact? And Jameson, jeez, he’s definitely your kid because he never stops talking. The questions are endless but you prayed for that too. They are changing daily, growing and learning things you sometimes questioned would ever come, and even on the days your world seems bleak, you are there for them. You put down all the misery and anger, you stepped up even more, like that was even possible, to become their solace. Their world was even more destroyed than yours was and if you look at them now, you can’t even tell. You did that mama.
In a year from now, I hope you look back at this letter again and know how far you’ve come, at that point it’ll be two years since you started over. I hope you’ve bought the house you wanted, that you’re well on your way to getting your bachelor’s degree, I hope the kids have blown every single expectation you had of them out of the water like they do now. I hope you are happy with yourself, whether you find someone or not. I hope you no longer get choked up thinking about how “your life was supposed to be”. Baby girl, the life that you’ve got going is pretty great.