Best of ’09 is a series of posts inspired by Gwen Bell’s The Best of 09 Blog Challenge. It’s a challenge designed to help me write more and rediscover more grateful moments in my 2009! Hopefully, 31 posts in 31 days 😉
Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?
A Mother’s Peace
I’m a mom. My honeybee is 16 years old. She’s a water-polo playing sophomore at her father’s alma matter. Earlier this week, she walked in wearing his school jacket. From nearly 30 years ago. Kinda heartwarming to see the love being shared and exchanged between them, even though I wasn’t present when he gave it to her. We split up when she was four. She’s been wearing his jacket all weekend long. Beautifully, I might add.
When I think about peace and having a moment of it, what comes to mind for me is knowing my kid is safe, happy. I know those are outcomes. Specific end-results I’m hooked on getting from my experience of parenting. But it’s how it is. I make room for it. And practice doing my best to stay awake. Watch for the attachment. Be compassionate with myself first. I can’t give to anyone else what I don’t have.
This past summer, one of life’s curve balls caught up with me. Woke me up.
I didn’t tell any part of the story here, on my blog. Although I thought about it and talked about it too. What I did share came out 140-characters at a time.
This year’s peaceful moments all pivoted from a place of extreme unpeace. It was about making a stand for what I knew was the right-thing-to-do. No matter who I pissed off. And it was scary. Some of the scariest moments of my life this year. Shook me up inside. More than a few gut-wrenching sobs. Desperate moments of wanting peace.
If peace were to come, it would require something from me. In my asking for it.
Risk it. Piss them off. Make her cry. Have them think whatever they need to think about me. And risk it anyway. Say it, whatever you need to say.
“I’m keeping her,” I said, “until the woman who is abusing our daughter is gone from your home.”
“She obviously can no longer deal with any situation in your household if she is returned to me cutting herself. And I haven’t revised the custody order, but I’m prepared to. I’ve checked into what is required and ready to go to the court tomorrow. This isn’t about you or your soon-to-be second ex-wife, it’s about keeping her safe.”
Piss a few people off. So what. Say it!
That night, I lay in bed. My daughter was with me, in her own room. And in knowing that she didn’t have to deal with the step-mom situation any longer I felt a great moment of peace. I would never have to send her back to her dad’s in a terrified suspense of hoping and praying that she be safe.
I wasn’t going to abandon her to the situation any longer. I would risk the honeybee being upset with me. And her father and father’s family being up set with me. I would risk cops coming to the door to enforce an existing custody order. I would risk meeting in public, the woman who had been abusing my child and her own. I was afraid of what I might do. I still am.
Today, I’m grateful to know a mother’s peace. It all came from some very trying experiences this August, but I’m so glad it’s December. And she’s happy. Healthy. Scary step-monster lady moved out mid October. Honeybee and her dad are defining new normal. Dad is even looking me in the eyes again. Honeybee is smiling (brace-free) and laughing. All is well.
And I am so so grateful.