And so it's been.
While I appreciate everyone's supportive comments, I have to shake my head a little at being called "strong" or "inspiring" or some of the other lavish compliments you've bestowed me. I think of Karen MEG and her strength to have her two children. I think of Kori and her four children and her devotion so strong that she's attending parenting classes to be the best mom she can be. I think of Tara and the amazing children she's raised into beautiful and strong young adults. I think of Taylor's family, counting the days she's been in and out of the hospital this past year. I think of OhMommy, baking with her youngest and always finding creative, thoughtful and loving answers to her children's many questions. I think of all of you - all of us - and how we all get up every day and do what we can to bring ourselves and our families that much closer to being the best that all of us can be.
I wonder all the time how Sylvia and Riley will turn out. Quite honestly, sometimes their behavior truly shocks me and I realize that I have no idea what I'm doing. And then I see them holding hands and interested in each other's lives and I know I'm doing just fine.
This year, as Sylvia filled out her teachers' questionnaires and forms, she deliberately X'd out any questions pertaining to her father. When I asked her how she felt about that, she told me (in that "duh" voice), "bad." And it is bad. But I have to admit, I feel like it's good progress. While she still wants to share her news with her dad, and I encourage that, it tells me that she knows that I'm the one that handles all the parental duties of actually raising her.
One time, she asked me if it was okay with me that she still loved her daddy. I told her, of course it is. I want her to love him.
I just fear that he will let her down as much as he's let me down. And he has. And as much as my heart breaks for her, I try to find some sort of sense out of it.
She's learning to accept someone, and even love him, for who he is. And I tell you, she's handled her disappointments in him way better than I ever did.
Riley is most likely growing up faster than she should. She worries about me more than she should. She knows I'm it, and it sometimes scares her. But again, I have to find the positives in it. Her empathy is strong, and her heart is good. She's harder on herself than she should be, but we're working on that. When she does something wrong, I have to remind her that we all mess up sometimes. And sometimes, we just have to put the past behind us.
I know we're making the best that we can out of the situation. And this reflection has been amazing for me to see how far we've come.
Neither of them ever threaten to go "live with Daddy" anymore. Sylvia tells me when she misses her dad, like she did the other day. She heard some music in her music class that made her think of him, and she cried some. And while that hurts, I'm also encouraged by the fact that she told me that of her own volition. And then we moved on.
While I do find it necessary to always be mindful of whatever the next bad thing can be, I am also mindful of how good we have it.
And I have to admit, I look forward to seeing what the next 5 years will bring us.