There I am – perched and posing playfully for my dad. Looking back at this photo from March 2011, I speculate whether I was aware of the symbolism created in this snapshot. At the time I was precariously attempting to balance my marriage, my life, my heart. I was teetering on the brink of simultaneously losing and finding myself.
Today is April 1, 2021. For many today is merely April Fool’s Day. For me, today marks the 10-year anniversary of my filing for divorce. Unfortunately, April 1, 2011 wasn’t a joke for me. Looking at it now, it seems so clear how impaired I was to have actually filed on April Fool’s Day. I guarantee you it was not intentional and not even noticed by me at the time.
I had just returned from a retreat to Oregon to scrub my mind and heart clear with fresh air and nature. I was with my law partner, Susan, on this trip – she, facing the imminent transition to in-home hospice for her husband John. We were both grieving hard. We were both gearing up our grit to face the rest of what we knew would collectively be one of the hardest years we would live through.
Now having been divorced as long as married, I reflect on what I have most learned in this decade of divorce.
I am enough. Whether married or single, this question mark about my core perpetually plagued me. Now, a decade further into wisdom and for the majority of it being solely reliant on me, I am satisfied and owning the truth that I am enough. The self-reliance born from divorce is one brought forward after having wholeheartedly committed to compromise and sharing in all things to then re-learning how to live exclusively under your own accountability. As a result, I now own that I am enough.
I am a whole parent. My worst worry in moving into my divorce a decade ago was that it would make me a “less-than” parent. I feared I was somehow going to so solidly disrupt the growth and happiness of my children that I could never be the mother I had aspired to be since childhood. Without a parenting partner, I felt a deep sense of shame that I would not be enough to be the sole parent when they were in my care. Today I am filled with gratitude (and some awe) that this was never the case. In fact, the opposite proved true. I am more whole as a parent today after having needed to be all parent – all the time with them. I have realized on repeat the wholeness of my motherhood.
I am not broken. I was heart-broken by the end of my marriage and all the dreams that collapsed with it. I assumed the mistake of my marriage would belittle my being and form an irreparable wound. Now I see my wound was healed by my resilience with the smoothness of a scar. My divorce trauma was a turning point toward a new path – a better path for me.
April 1, 2021, sitting with the benefit of 10-year hindsight, I find myself grateful for all the gifts my divorce revealed.