Every year at this time, I try to take a few moments to reflect on the year past. And I say try because chasing 3 kids around the house while still working from home although I am technically on vacation and managing to keep the house semi-clean, a few moments are few and far between. Today, I found those moments hauled up in my bathroom while the kids sprawled across my bed watching Strawberry Shortcake for the 100th time. But, they actually seemed to be watching it this time.
Maybe they are coming down from their sugar high.
Anyway...I was sitting in my bathroom enjoying the few minutes of silence in the day. I began to think about 2007 as a whole. Last year at this time I was recovering from a nasty hang-over in Philedelphia by pounding back the world's worst Bloody Mary and eating grease on a hoagie (otherwise known as a Philly Cheesesteak). I remember the excitement of being in a new place hoping to get a fresh start with my husband. As positive as I tried to spin the weekend away, it really was pretty awful. Looking back on it now, it sums up the entire year. We spent the weekend drinking to avoid talking to each other. At that point in our relationship, we had nothing nice left to say to each other. I was hurting more inside that words could ever explain. I just wanted a happy marriage and the thought of being single again (with 3 kids to care for) was more than I could handle. I tried to change him. I tried to change. Stopping short of selling my soul to the devil, I did everything to try to make him love me. Now as I look back on the year, I realize how foolish I actually was. I can't believe how I let him crush my spirit and take my soul. I was trying so hard to be the person he said he wanted me to be. The problem was, though, every time I did something he said he wished I'd do, it wasn't good enough.
After months of torturing myself, I finally did some things that made all the difference in my life. First, I started a new job. Through this job, I surrounded myself with positive people, was admired for my intelligence and dedication, got promoted after 3 months and found life-long friends with the kindest of hearts.
Second, I let my heart open to another man. Although, the relationship only lasted a few months, it was enough for me to realize that I am still a "catch" and gave me the courage to leave the horrible marriage I was in. Out of this relationship, I found my self-esteem and a friend that played a huge role in my life...whether he realizes that or not.
Third, I built a bond with my family that will never be broken. I learned that you can't hide your true self from the ones that gave you life. Once I let go and came "clean" so to speak, I realized how much love the world holds for me. I was able to stop pitying myself and feel like a failure because my marriage failed. Through my family support, I grew stronger than I ever thought I could be.
Fourth, I realized that saying my kids are my top priority and making them my top priority aren't the same thing. Once I actually put my kids where they belonged in my life, everything else seemed much more simple. They are truly the best things that have happened to me.
And finally, I found God. I know that's a really cheesy thing to say. Of course anyone who goes through any trauma claims they found God. Well, that's not exactly what I mean. God has always been a part of my life. I went to Catholic schools for 12 years. It was force fed to me for as long as I can remember. I always went to Church and participated in the activities that I needed to. But at this point in my life, I've actually found more of a relationship with God than just going through the motions. He is a part of my daily life and decisions. I feel like God is now my friend instead of just some higher power judging my every move. Being Christian isn't about being perfect. It's about trying. And just like a father doesn't disown his daughter because she made a mistake, neither does God. Once I got that through my thick skull, life has become much more manageable. I no longer worry about what other people think or fear that my life is open to judgement from everyone and that each one of those people deserve to judge me because I have a HUGE letter A on my chest. Really, I make mistakes. Just like everyone else. I don't judge (or at least try not to) the choices of others. Most likely they aren't judging mine either.
With all the heartache and grief, I look forward to bidding farewell to 2007. I learned a lot along the way, which I suppose is called living. Without bitterness their would be no happiness. I've had my fair share of downs over the past year and I'm eagerly awaiting the ups that 2008 is sure to bring.
May your 2008 bring you all the joy and happiness your little hearts desire.