Raising kids is hard.
Raising a child with any kind of special needs is harder.
Even when there are two supportive and loving parents, it is tough.
I’m not just a single parent, I’m actually an only parent…meaning that I have raised two kids without the other parent being involved.
I have always been very concerned about the long-term effect it will have on my children…and I admit I have overcompensated to make sure they know they are loved.
My kids have been hurt a lot by abandonment, so the past several years I’ve been overly cautious and built a wall around them and their precious hearts.
But I failed to notice that same wall was built up around me.
Well, I may have noticed.
But until recently, I didn’t much care.
Ever since my divorce 9 years ago, I have successfully pushed away every man who has tried to get close to me.
Some of them have needed to be pushed away.
I probably could have settled down with a few of them.
It might not have lasted, but I could be coupled off right now if I wanted to be.
If I would let it be.
But it’s too scary.
It’s terrifying to let someone in again.
So I’ve treated every man with the same amount of mistrust and disdain that I did my ex-husband.
But the thought of trusting someone enough to let him into my world, my heart and my head is something I can’t wrap my head around.
Then trusting him with my kids?
My kids own father walked away from them.
More than once.
So I’m tired of trusting.
I’m tired of giving second and third and forty-seventh chances.
It hurts to be rejected, yes, but when a man decides to walk away, I worry the most about the impact it will have on my kids.
So it’s been easier to reject any opportunities for love and be alone, than to actually allow myself to be hurt and abandoned again.
Yes, I realize that’s not normal.
But what is normal, anyway?
I’m sure we all have our own versions of what we consider normal to be.
Perhaps yours is married with 2.5 kids and white picket fence.
And if I’m honest, I have to admit I have deeply envied that kind of life.
When I see a happy couple enjoying themselves and playing with their kids, and especially when the man is just being an excellent father…
I feel it.
I feel it deep in my heart.
And I can hear 20 year old me whispering from the hallways of my hollow heart….you still want that.
And yes, I do.
I still want that.
But the walls make that impossible.
So they need to come down.
I’ve believed far too long that I’m incapable of a normal relationship.
A trusting one.
With mutual kindness and respect and generosity.
Because in my mind, my normal kind of flew out the window the day the psychiatrist told me my 2 year old was autistic.
And while I feel I have done the best that I could do with what I had to work with, if I’m honest, I would like for my normal to be a little closer to the white picket fence.
Because I’m tired.
Tired of being the warrior.
Tired of the come here, now go away.
Tired of being the cornered viper who attacks at the first sign of tenderness and vulnerability.
Because that’s not who I am in my heart.
There is still a sweet, trusting girl in there.
One who has been lied to, cheated on, and hardened for it, yes…but how much of that nonsense have I brought on myself?
That sweet, naïve little church girl still exists deep down.
The one who wanted to be a missionary and marry a tall, bearded sweetheart and have a gaggle of kids.
Sure, she’s buried under years of pain and regret and terrible decision making.
But nonetheless, she is in there.
And she needs to learn how to forgive, stop punishing the masses for the sins of a few…and let love happen naturally.
Without trying to control and navigate it.
I just want whatever kind of happy I can have and create with my person.
And that doesn’t have to be perfect, or look like anyone else’s version of normal.
It just has to be mine.
So today, I am opening myself up to possibilities.
And I am going to take down the bitch wall, one brick at a time.
I am going to be more kind and more loving, and allow myself to be open to the right kind of love for a change.
All the while doing my best to remember that normal is just a dryer setting.