One of the reasons Into the Woods is one of my favorite musicals, if not my all-time favorite, is because it so often has the answers to life's most interesting questions. Act 1 follows the standard fairy tales and integrates them with the creation of a new fairy tale. Act 2 is what happens after "Happily Ever After," and the unintended consequences of getting what you want.
Single parenthood, for the first few years, was less than fun. Sure, it had some rewarding moments here and there, but mostly, it was just hard, exhausting, and lonely. I didn't regret the decision to leave X and I knew being a single mom was better than the alternative, but I often wondered just how this all ended up being my life.
I had so many goals and ambitions when I was younger, and few of them came to fruition. I didn't think I'd ever be okay with that. Now, not only am I okay with it, I'm okay with everything. Every unintended consequences, every mistake, and every accomplishment I have managed thus far.
I'm writing this not to pat myself on the back, but because I have to remember this when it comes to my daughters. I have to remember that they will make mistakes, they will wonder at times if they will ever be okay with things that happen, and they will come out the other side of things okay.
They already have, actually. They deserve better than the father they have, and that was hard for them for a long time, but they're okay with it now.
It's natural to want the best for my girls. It's natural to hope that they never experience the pain of their mistakes, or the unintended consequences of choices they make, or simply finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, as a parent, I do what is within my control to help guide them away from such experiences, but the reality is, I will not be able to protect them from everything.
All I can do is hope that the things I've told them, the things I've shown them, will eventually come through when they need it. And that I'm always here whenever they might need a little help. They have already shown a great capacity to accept the unacceptable, to say "I'm sorry" when they're wrong, and to do what they can to enjoy their lives. They pursue dreams, they work through defeat, and they will eventually find themselves on the other side of any bad times. I'm almost sure of it.