***warning…this post is week-without-kids induced emotional vomit***
Something that I’ve admitted to very few people is just how depressed I was a few months ago. I recall sitting on my cousin’s couch in Wabash, barely able to look her in the eye and admit just how low I was feeling. Through tears, I admitted something verbally that I have never said to a single soul, something I had never even said aloud to myself. But it was out there in the universe, and I acknowledged just how dark I was feeling. I was unhappy, overwhelmed with despair, and completely empty. When I felt anything- which was not often- I only felt awful.
Fast forward to this morning. It is my last day alone before my kids come back from a week-long trip to visit their dad in MN. I found myself on the couch, with no music, no tv, no phone in my hand…and just sat there for thirty minutes thinking of just how incredibly happy I am. It was a foreign feeling, to be honest. It’s not a feeling I’ve felt in a very long time- and to be honest, THIS type of happy is something I’m not sure I’ve ever truly felt.
I made a list (because you know me- a list in my own handwriting, on perfectly-lined paper is my sweet spot!) of all the different aspects of my life that were contributing to this overwhelming feeling of complete happiness.
1. Kids. Ya’ll, there is something about seeing your kids with giant smiles, camping and fishing with their daddy that will just instantly melt your Mommy heart, amIright? Their dad has sent me pictures each day of their activities, and every single picture includes two of the biggest smiles you can ever hope for. Knowing that they’re having an awesome time just fulfills me beyond measure. Two years ago, sending the kids across the country twice a summer literally pained me. I loathed it! Now, I embrace it- because they need this time with their dad, and they need this time away from me (and I need it away from them…a bad mom this does not make me).
2.Aaron. To think that the father of my kids is contributing to my pure bliss is crazy. If you had told me ten years ago, that Aaron would become one of my best friends, I would have rolled my eyes so hard at you, and possibly pushed you down to the ground! The things he and I have been through do NOT normally lead to a friendship. But, for whatever reason, here we are…co-parenting two of the happiest, healthiest, and blessed kids in the world. We are communicating and working together for the good of our kids, and we.actually.like.each.other. This makes my heart so incredibly happy. (If you’re half of a “broken” family- make this a priority. The relationship ya’ll have with each other matters. Make this a relationship that is important. Support each other. Encourage each other. TALK. Be friendly. CARE about each other. It truly truly matters.)
3.Friends. I don’t even know where to begin. This week one of my friends was really struggling with her business. She felt lost- what direction to go with it, what her audience would be, how she could serve people. Another friend struggled with a relationship that had recently ended- but still had those straggler feelings of “what if” and “maybe so”. Another friend was dealing with a teenager. ‘Nuff said. And then there was me- struggling with my family, and my kids’ being gone, and etc etc etc…. But we were there for each other. We showed up. We worked through every single thing TOGETHER. And there were actual moments of “dang, these are my sisters that God gave me as blessings through these hard times.”
4.Work. Things at work are just SO SO SO good. I absolutely love my team. Each week I grow prouder and prouder to work with them. I love what we do, and what I can contribute to their success. I find myself growing as a leader, and learning off people who unknowinlgy mentor me by their everyday actions. I am in a job I love, and working with people I truly respect and admire.
Of course there are other things, but I can say with all honesty that this happiness is something that I found within myself. It’s not caused by anyone else. Life has certainly come full circle, and I have found myself “on the other side” of things that I thought were just part of my identity. I had started to accept that things may never be wrapped in a perfectly tied bow. And while I am still aware of the reality of bad days and hard times, I can say that my approach is somehow changed- that bad moments don’t have to define me, or break me. That bad moments are just that- moments. And that better times exist. This overwhelming feeling of happiness is new to me, but I want to live here for awhile- and bask in its glory!