My son’s cap and gown for high school graduation came in this week. In May he’ll don the duo, walk alongside his classmates and best friends, and together — with his older sister, now a sophomore in college — we’ll mark one of our biggest milestones to date.
If you’re a new follower, or haven’t seen posts about my background yet, I’ll tell you it’s been just the three of us for 11.5 years now.
When I left their dad, my abuser (and theirs, if we’re frank), our moments and days — those first years, in fact — were so thick with pain, trauma, anxiety, confusion, impatience, and shared custody that was complicated by — no, made exceedingly hellish by — continuous post-separation abuse. (All the while enabled by our family courts system, but that’s another post.)
Like many of you, I had to start over from scratch as the only parent and provider in my household while crippled by self-doubt, the effects of long-term emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, physical location with limited boundary lines and opportunity, and so much more.
I couldn’t see how we would get through such heartbreaking times one day right after another, let alone imagine our future. Back then it felt impossible to wade through my own understanding, growth, and healing while constantly exposed, so vulnerable, fighting for my kids’ well being, and doing everything within my restricted power to protect them.
And yet, it truly was one day right after another. Somehow we rallied and persisted, (eventually) stood up every time we got knocked down, found humor, made happiness, nursed our wounds, relied on each other, and began to internalize that life — even given everything — was going to be okay. Maybe even better than okay, if you use the right lens.
So somehow, as the calendar turns, we keep hitting these milestones together.
My son’s cap and gown are more proof that we’ve made it.
Because soon after commencement he’ll turn 18, and that means the shared parenting/custody plan my kids and I have been bound to for too long will legally expire. Our world will change course. Finally.
Yours will, too. You have to believe it. Keep going. Day by day. Maintain your hope. Take care of your kids, but also yourself. Believe in your future. And celebrate your milestones, every one.
PS. If you think this face is familiar, you’re not wrong. The cap is modeled here by my life-size cardboard cutout of Spencer Reid!