It started with a friend’s post which asks you to post pictures from the present year, also from 3 and 7 years past. It challenges you to see how much you have changed through the years. So, we have 2018, 2015 and 2011.
As we go through our days, we often feel like we are not doing much or have not done enough. We are hard on ourselves and the things we are unable to accomplish. Sometimes, we feel this way because of other people’s standard. It is quite NORMAL. Not healthy, quite common.
This is what I saw in this “through the years challenge”…
The photo: Taken on a family visit to Avilon Zoo (with her father and 2 of my siblings)
My Personal Sphere: Tug-o-War Between Resistance and Tolerance
I have recently waved the white flag those moments. I finally chose to speak up. I chose to not tolerate any more of the ensuing aggression and complacency in my marriage. I decided to reach out and open up.
It was not received favorably. I did not get the support I wanted from the inner circle. I was told to hold on to the marriage, to save it, to stay despite the abuse and to recognize the sanctity of marriage. I have been married for four years then. I have spent four years quietly enduring the pain in my attempt to let thing sink and work out. Some things did sink – the aggression heightened and the complacency as well. I held on to my commitment but I saw I was on the road alone. I was committing to someone who refused the commitment. Through those years, after all the silence, I cried out; but to no avail. My resistance was not welcomed, I succumbed to I stayed longer. I waited to tolerate some more.
Motherhood sphere: Setting up for her happiness amidst my chaos
2011 was spent ensuring my growing daughter will not feel the atrocity. I geared my energy in creating the most loving and happy atmosphere for her. Despite my own pain, I taught my daughter to see the good man I loved then but do not see myself at those very moments. I gave her as much time to be with him and play and have fun, just be. He didn’t always like it. Maybe, it was a bit of bother, but I had to make them spend time to just be them. My daughter was just two years old. Incredibly, she saw and heard what I hid.
At one time, we were watching a Disney Princess movie on the laptop. She asked about step-mothers. I casually answered her question and said the father remarried. Her next words tore me silently and tremendously. She said, “I will look for (a) new husband for you, Mommy…(a) man who will not hurt you.” I tried to chide it by telling her it was not like that, that there were rules about remarrying. Inside me, I was asking why I acted like nothing was wrong about something even my two-year old daughter saw wrong. And it was because, I felt alone and more alone after not getting any support on my cry for help.
I’ve always wanted a family of my own; having to give it up and accepting I cannot make a relationship happen alone was painful enough. Interpersonal relationships has always been a strength of mine and yet, my most intimate relationship was falling apart, that made me weaken. It was more painful to be denied the love you want from people you thought would love you most. But life has to keep on and the desire to keep my child happily loved was stronger than the chaos inside.
The next year was the final draw. I left the marriage.
The photo: Typical Sunday We-fie
We have moved out and started living separately from her Papi (that was how she used to call him) for three years. She has gotten used to it. Through those years everyone who saw her felt she was fairly adjusted to the arrangement. We have new friends who were family. Old friendships got stronger. We felt safe. We felt loved. We were moving anew.
But 2015 was a year of big shift. My daughter and I moved to my parent’s home in the province; regions and seas apart from her father. It was to be another new chapter.
My Personal Sphere: Big, Bigger, Biggest Challenges
My end was crazy. My smooth plan did not prosper. Ironic for most people, including me; I wasn’t able to land a job. Funds were getting low. I did not want to be much of a burden. I was worried as a mom who will not be able to provide. I closed on options of getting a job elsewhere and leaving her as I feared she will feel a sort of abandonment inside her. Her parents are separated, she is far from her father and she will be left behind by her mom. It was not beautiful picture for me. I chose to stay close and pour in as much love as I could to fill her. That, for me, was more important.
My big struggle was to juggle my emotions and to deny them.
A bigger one was being judged of not doing anything for me and my daughter. I was doing the best I could. So, my plans weren’t happening as intended. Alternate game plans were happening so slowly.
The biggest challenge was to project I was happy and most things are well in her eyes. Despite the setback and failed plans I have to show my daughter that we made a good choice. I was trying to be as happy as my daughter seemed to be. At this time, little did I know she was happy enough to see me happy. Inside me, I was anxious. I was nervous. I was depressed. I was angry. I was confused. I had emotions running wild. It was haywire and pretending was becoming more difficult.
Motherhood Sphere: Seeing In The Eyes Of My Child
The new shift gave a new neighborhood with new friends, a new school, a new home, a new dialect to speak, a whole new dynamics. I am blessed, she was generally happy. She was mostly a happy kid. Life has always seemed like a big everyday play-date on the surface. People looking at us would always commend how happy she seems to be and how playfully I managed her stride. Her adventurous and imaginative spirit was glad with the new things and new ideas this chapter brought her. Her playfulness continued, I played along.
But that year defeated me. It was followed with me and her having to do a long-distance relationship. I gave LDP or long-distance parenting a try.
Photo: Another Sunday We-fie
My Personal and Motherhood Sphere: Streamlining What Matters Most
We are together – again. Now, with a vow to not be apart. I have chosen to actively do hand-on mothering close to her all over again. I have embraced the struggles. Things are still peaks-and-valleys, but I am refusing to be bothered. I am refusing to be maneuvered by circumstances, people and peoples’ opinions. Some people will hate my choices, some will love them. ‘Cest la vie! There are as much haters as there are lovers. I am not here to please them. I know who I serve, it is not them.
Through the years; I have learned many people will judge, many will ask but not listen to answers, many will insist on their goals and overlook ours. I understand better that family is beyond blood. Help comes from most unexpected people and places, we just have to keep our hearts open and allow people to touch our lives. Our true circle and tribe cries, cheers and laughs with us – often louder than we do. Having these people is heaven on earth. Love is always just around – most of it, just inside us. Through the years, I saw children see the beauty more than the hardships we are feeling; bask on the beauty and shun the tears.
Most importantly, all else will pass. What matters most is the present moment. And as me and my daughter say: “Yesterday was good. It’s done. Tomorrow will be better. We’ll make today, the best day ever!”