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The Mother's Day That Changed Everything

Photograph by Getty Images

It was the worst and best Mother's Day. I was in the process of divorcing my now ex. Our relationship ended for a variety of reasons, ranging from infidelity to insanity. It was my second Mother's Day. The morning began with a sweet brunch with two girlfriends and my son. After brunch, I headed home and met my ex husband in the lobby. I passed our child, the diaper bag and his stroller to him.

I rode six stories up the elevator and realized that my version of my ideal family had been blown to pieces. I got to my living room, laid on the couch and stewed in my loneliness for hours.

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After the toxic choices that I made in my marriage, I wondered if I would ever be ready or deserving of an authentic romantic connection that was not occasionally explosive. Being newly separated with a child, I was full of doubt and questions.

Who the hell would date me when I had primary custody of my kid and a volatile ex?

I poured a glass of wine and headed to my desk. Would I wallow or take action? Would I allow the heartache that reverberated through my soul to stop my heart from growing? I considered remaining single until Lexington entered kindergarten. Then, I opened my laptop. I nervously logged onto Match.com and allowed myself to window shop.

When you are in the middle of a divorce, you feel like you have let everyone down—especially your children.

Surprisingly, there were thousands of parents who were also single.

A few months later, a gentleman sent me a message. His handsome profile pic featured him with three cute daughters. He was divorcing, a primary care giver, and not looking for anything serious. Neither was I. That was almost five years ago.

Turns out, there is life after death. When you are in the middle of a divorce, you feel like you have let everyone down—especially your children. When you are the one who leaves, you cannot help but feel like the big bad wolf who blew the house down.

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The truth is always much richer and layered than fairy tales. I wish that marriage and happily ever after would have been happy or ever after. But it was neither. If I had stayed in something so sick, I would not have become the mother that I am today.

I am grateful that Mother's Day helped me see that I have the freedom to redefine my family.

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