my balancing act today. My thanks to Mandy for all the hard work she's put into telling our stories, and finding the universal truths in them.
Today's post talks about how much my life has changed since that moment I knew my marriage was over, through a series of small steps. This past weekend's visit with X reminded the girls and I how much his life has remained the same.
Mandy made a comment on that post that she would have been surprised had the visit gone any different. I would have, too. I consider myself a realist, and yet there was still that ray of hope that he might just be there for his girls for just a few days. My sister helped me put it in perspective: at least the girls know now that I didn't give up on him too soon.
I remember when I couldn't fathom doing it alone. I first tried leaving X when Sylvia was 18 months old. My confidence was shattered when I tried to take Sylvia to see Elmo, her favorite character at the time, and had to turn around and go home when there was no one to help me, to keep our place in line when she needed a diaper change. I felt like such a failure. Even though I knew at the time that she most likely wouldn't remember seeing Elmo (or that she missed seeing him), I was afraid at how many other things we would miss because I couldn't do it alone.
As we were starting our weekend trip, the girls were reminiscing about our trip to Florida, our trip to San Francisco and Santa Cruz, our trip to New York. These girls have not missed out on childhood memories. We will most likely never live in a house with a backyard, I will continue to say "no" to things they want but don't need, but they have not been deprived of a childhood.
That's not to say that I wish I'd left when Sylvia was 18 months old. Had I done that, there would be no Riley. I wasn't yet convinced that there was no hope for X. I would be living my life with a huge old question mark hanging over my head. I might even blame myself for X's continued failures to be a responsible human being.
I regret nothing. I can only be grateful that along the way, I've been given a few breaks, and that there have been so many that have shown us their love and support.
Someone commented to me that it must be depressing to look back at everything, but it hasn't been for me. It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day, moment to moment challenges that this was the big picture perspective I needed to remind me how much there is to love about my life today.