So much is better than it was. So much progress has been made over the last 7 years that it feels like I've been hit in the stomach when I'm reminded of the loss of no longer being the matriarch of a nuclear family.
When I was growing up, my parents had friends that had started off as neighbors, but even after both our families moved, we got together on a regular basis. The kids hung out together while the parents played. It's too late for my kids ever to have friends like that; friends that they'll have from before kindergarten to the time they graduate. Still, they have cousins. That'll have to do.
When my friends share stories about their significant others, I can't share mine. Even the good ones. It just makes everyone uncomfortable. So it's better to minimize the discomfort and keep it to myself.
Even if I met someone tomorrow (and no, I don't want to, but for argument's sake), they will already have missed too much to be able to fully appreciate all that my girls have been and how that shapes them into who they are today. Their own father has missed too much that, even if he gets out 100% rehabilitated and is there for them every minute from now on (which I know won't be the case, but again, for argument's sake), he still couldn't ever make up for these last 7, incredibly formative years. I'm the only one who knows.
Most days, this is something that I can completely accept, and even embrace. Still, every now and then, in a vulnerable moment here and there, it hurts. Most days, I can feel strong and unaffected. Every now and then, I have to close the door and cry.
This post is not meant to generate sympathy or pity. It is simply a reminder that we can be okay for a really long time, and then sometimes, we just aren't. It's not anyone's fault, it's just the circumstances, it's just life. I don't doubt that this moment shall pass. And I know that there were still be other moments to come. It doesn't make me weak, it doesn't make me wrong. It's just something that still is, even 7 years later.