For many years, I spent the bulk of my time writing on single parenting topics, not because I was a single mom, but because two of my closest friends were. As they moved from married to single again status (this time with children), I couldn’t imagine anything more painful.
Now I can (and they can too).
Although neither of these women would ever want to redo that terribly painful time of their lives, it’s been many years now, and it’s almost like another life to them. Today, both they and their now young adult children are doing great.
But for some years it was a constant struggle for them. Never having enough money, time, energy, help. It seemed the “never enough list” went on and on.
Often, when we’d talk, they would mention the uncertainty they sometimes felt about how their kids would “turn out” when neither of their respective ex-spouses were hardly involved in their children’s lives. The future — their kids’ future…and their futures daunted them.
Flash forward 18 years and today those worries truly do seem to have been a part of someone’s else’s life.
The irony is that I never apologized for writing on behalf of single moms because I was always telling their stories (and getting them to okay what I wrote before I’d send it off to editors or publishers). I didn’t have to experience single parenthood to write about it.
Once their children grew up, however, I felt my writing-self moving in a different direction that can be summed up in a single word.
Midlife. (note the black, bold type)
With all of my friends entering this same season of life, it felt only right that I tackle something more personal for a change, something I was wrestling with (and through). The problem is…I started writing on it before I was actually in the throes of the worst of it (like I am today).
I look back at some of my how-to get-through articles and think, “who wrote this?”
Not that the advice is wrong…but honestly…what I’m going through now is challenging me more than I ever dreamed possible. I find myself asking a lot of the same questions my friends asked almost 20 years ago when their marriages ended.
Those kinds of questions that don’t have answers but compel a mom to hover over her own kids and make sure they make good choices because what we opt for in our twenties will most certainly alter our entire lives.
And, also like my friends did, I’m unsure of the future because many of my former roles have been stripped away (or I’ve outgrown them.)
Lately, I’m remembering how my friends got through their toughest seasons and two factors were vital.
1. Surround yourself with good, faithful friends who know you well enough (and love you enough) to tell you the hard truth about your ever-changing (sometimes unrecognziable) self.
2. Live one day at a time, content not knowing what all your tomorrows will bring.
Without friends and a 24 hour at a time perspective…it is too easy to get lost in the middle (and that’s a far too scary place to travel without some friendly faces at your side.)