The Other Woman…
There’s another woman standing where I Thought my Permanent Unshakeable spot was. She’s nestled her feet into the grooves my footprints left in wet concrete. Life ripped me off of that spot before I had enough time to dry & settle into Permanency.
She looks more like her daughter than mine, both with golden blonde locks, and I can’t lie and say that doesn’t make me feel like God a little bit wanted her life to be easier than He cared to bring ease to mine. For the rest of their lives… she can play mom and no one will ever ask or wonder or look perplexed. They’ll have an easy, unquestioned, free to move on from the past: life. Together. No daily reminders of what happened. No daily “… oh….. ?… is that… your daughter…? Or..” and then having to explain that “no”, Sakari is another womans child. Their family unit will never have to address that for years to come. Because she looks like she’s from her.
Kari is every bit, mine. But there is just a cold hard fact that I daily get asked if im the Nanny. That every time I explain “no she’s mine. Her dad is just white. She’s only ¼ black.. so it makes sense…” all of this would be true and necessary to explain whether he’d left or not. But. With it as it is- each repeated explanation handed over. Is a repeated reminder of what happened.
But in my mind. The space where I torture myself into thinking I got the short straw: THEY live seamlessly as one unquestioned, and smiled upon family. He gets the partner to share this whole “parenting” thing with. And I (overflowed with GRACE and HELP) still.. journey through it “alone”.
And I could be bitter. And truthfully some days I am. Some days they come to pick Sakari up and she calls out “Hi Hunny!” and my heart feels an ache that rips through my spine. Some days he drives her car and I’m reminded that he managed to join his life with someone else and somehow couldn’t with mine. When he walks into the ER and she’s by his side after I walked the dark sidewalks of a notorious neighborhood, with a baby and her overflowing night bag, alone.. I hurt and almost want to go bitter. When I see him taking effort and intentionality in building his life and relationship with someone else like he should have with me- it makes sense to go bitter.
But what doesn’t make sense is poisoning Sakari with bitterness. Making Sakari PAY for what choices he or I made. She already has the story to cope with that her parents didn’t stay committed. She shouldn’t have to also suffer TENSION between a mom and step mom when she never ASKED for that situation. Its not her job to have to Protect ME from the fact that she loves her dad or his partner. Feeling bad for telling stories excitedly about all the fun things she did with them. That’s not fair to HER to have to guard ME from that truth in her life, just because it might shoot pains through my soul. Bittering the waters of MY heart, only bitters the grounds of Kari’s life. She should be openly allowed to exist fully in love with BOTH of us and not made to feel guilty for it.
Did I cry when I casually talked with Kari the other day and said “who do you workout with kari?” knowing , of course, that’s our thing. And she smiled big and replied with his girlfriends name? why yes. I did cry. And it caught me off guard. And I felt ridiculous. But here’s the HOENST truth. I genuinely have no reason NOT to like the chick. Is it awkward? Yeah I guess. But do I know a THING worth directing my energy and emotions toward DISLIKING HER? I really don’t. I prayed about it. I felt her out. Met up with her for dinner. She seems like a truly pleasant and sweet girl. And while I could choose to just hate for for f**ks sake and find every reason to hate the way she looks, talks, breathes and dresses… honestly that just sounds dumb. Its not going to ADD to my ability to breathe in deep each day. Or take away from the fact that my life didn’t turn out like I planned. Truth be told.. if another woman is going to play a vital role in my daughters life… based on what i know… I’m happy for it to be her! Me Committing to hating a person just for the sake of it- does NOT give me life. Its drains it. And if im REALLY honest with myself and what I want for my daughter… this .. situations… while not how I believe for a second is how God INTENDED it to be…. At the end of the day, at the bottom of the choices that WERE made… Kari now gets ONE MORE PERSON who’s life is Largely going to be centered around LOVING and caring for my daughters needs. Making sure she has what she needs when she’s not in my home. Making sure she has a safe woman to talk to when shes at her dads. Why would I NOT want that? Does it make me any more legit as a great woman or a mom for Kari to know NO other great women or mom figures? NO. Does it make me more connected to Kari for her to NEVER love anyone else? No. This gift EXPANDS her ability to love and understand MORE types of people. This only ADDS love to Sakari’s life. And if I can’t get past my OWN shit to celebrate and cultivate my daughter having MORE love in her life, then I don’t know if I could honestly look back and be proud of the kind of mother I chose to be.
It would be so EASY and almost EXPECTED if I followed the well beaten path of using my daughter as leverage to torture and ruin her fathers life. It wouldn’t even make an eye bat, if I harbored a hatred for him and rooms were filled with held-breaths any time his name was mentioned in my presence. If kari had to spend her schooling years, navigating which parent to invite to what activity and what she could and couldn’t mention around me. Soooooo many single moms use their kids as bait to get back at the dads. Keep their kids from the dads out of anger, and honestly, desire to CONTROL something after feeling so RAPED of any control. … But…. Just think…. Alllllllllllllll of the kids WISHING their dad wanted to be around. WISHING their dad hadn’t walked out and never looked back. All the MOMS wishing they could get a helping hand…get just ONE break. Have just ONE night. How in the WORLD could I KEEP my daughter FROM her dad who WANTS to be around her, just because I’m hurt he didn’t value being around ME when he should have. I couldn’t BEAR to choose that side of the coin, but I see moms do it EVERYDAY and I feel like it’s the accepted/expected norm.
WHAT KIND OF A MOTHER would I be- if I cared MORE about my 15 mintues of Pain than about the ENTIRE FUTURE of my daughters life playing out??? I couldn’t stomach the idea of holding on tighter to the idea of me needing to hate someone, more than I held tight to the determination to get my OWN heart and mind SO FREED UP that I can contribute as MUCH as possible toward my daughter
Knowing Who She Is
Knowing WHO’S she is (God’s)
Knowing Who’s there for (ALL of her family; blood and Not)
Playing the key role in my daughter Knowing first hand what Forgiveness and Freedom from Torment looks like – BECAUSE of how we rose from the ashes of broken human tendencies.
Her Knowing that a person actually CAN keep walking after they feel their life fell apart… so when her painful days come, she WON’T research suicide methods.
So that she’ll know what it looks like to NOT curl up in blankets of self-pitty and Victimhood.
I HAVE to choose flourishing my daughters heart over enabling my own into dwelling and coddling.
It SUCKS not having her 3 nights a week and missing her on Birthday’s and Holidays. BUT ITS NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about HERRRR experiencing Love. AND I HAVE TO STAY EVER ALIGNED WITH THE ACCEPTANCE THAT I AM NOT THE ONLY AVENUE THROUGH WHICH SHE CAN, SHOULD, OR WILL EXPERIENCE LOVE. And why would I WANT her to only know it through me?? Does it make me better by being her sole source of tangible love? Um No. And I want her to have as MUCH healthy safe love from as MANY God sent avenues as possible. I have to let my pride die enough to accept HE, YES GOD may have sent this person TO love my daughter. I don’t get to stand in the way of that because “im entitled to hating someone”. No. big girl panty time. Big FOLLOWER OF GOD, not flesh, time.
I want her to grow up knowing the world Can be Good. That she Can travel and find refuge in homes of strangers who’s language she didn’t speak; like her mom did J I WANT her to be confident in her identity and it not be tied to a codependency on me. How does that help her? It may make me feel needed and affirmed. But that’s not what parenting IS. How selfish. My role is to disciple and raise up a heart that is tender to what GOD’s heartbeat is saying. Not what moms flesh is demanding or manipulating out of people. I don’t want her sensors trained to walk into a room, reading ppls insecurities (because she spent her life reading mine) and thinking- how can I please this or that person. No I want her ears SO UNWAXED that she walks into a room and instantly hears what GOD says to do and not do. My role isn’t for me to Feel good, chosen or favored. My role is to Teach, Guide & Love this life that’s been entrusted to me- into obedience to God. And she could never do that if from the moment she was born- she was clouded with parental tension that she didn’t ask for. She couldn’t be FREE to learn God’s voice if I made sounds so loud her whole life that preoccupied her entirely with protecting and never offending me. That is not love. Not from me to her; if I put that pettiness first. I’m not saying its petty to hurt. I have days when I hurt and I can hardly look him or her in the face. And I walk back inside my house after giving Kari up, and sit against the door with tears welling up wondering “why wasn’t I good enough”, “why am I alone?”, “why wasn’t I worth what she’s getting”. I have days where I replay over & over, scene’s of when it all fell apart and wonder if I could have said ‘this’ to save it, or ‘that’ to have changed it. I have those days. I have those hurts and I waste my time. Its part of the process and I don’t even look down on it. I think its been a necessary piece to me being ABLE to actually process through it enough to go… yeah…. No, I actually DO want to let this fall down the list of priorities for what gets to lay hold on my heart. I actually want to be a Damn FREE mom. I actually want to have Kari SMILE on the way I fought for her hearts freedom. I want her to learn from me how to love ppl in truth and not just words. I want her to learn from me how to bless and release. How to mourn and wrestle, then match it with play & embrace of redemption.
Its not petty to hurt. But it’s a shame to choose to wear a lifelong garment of hurt when it really is a choice. Nothing that has ever happened [to a living person] has ever just instantaneously SQUASHED all capabilities for ANYTHING more to Ever happen in life again. Meaning.. outside of death, there literally is NOTHING that can happen that means “life is over now, theres no future for me now”. There is ALWAYS something else. Something more. Something deeper. Something lighter. Something. There’s always an “after that”.
So Grieve. I mean, Really Grieve. Cry. Write until your knuckles ache.. talk out loud in a room by yourself until your voice is hoarse. Live in Horizontal mode for some days if needed. Get a damn counselor for God’s sake. Its wise and it’s a blessing. Grieve. And then grieve a little bit more than you probably think you need to.
Decide what kind of person you want to see yourself being again. After all this. Who do you want to be.. and what kinds of words, agreements, mindsets and attitudes would THAT person live under. Set your heart on what kind of daughter you want to be to God. How responsive do you want to be to His promptings? Or do you want to be uncharacteristically guarded because your past pains gave you warrant for that. And you’re just going to hold tight to that warrant slip for life. “Life”. If you can call it that, when strangled in poisonous fear & dwelling.
Decide what’s REALLY important to you. For single, jilted brides and moms.. is it more important for you to marry yourself to the entitlement to Pain and Anger… or … to LIVE again. BREATHE in Deep again. Day Dream about the things you’ll do around the world, again. Make plans for the kind of life your child will have, like you would have dreamed of for her, if the carpet hadn’t been swept out from under you? Us single parents have an honest question to ask ourselves… Is Our Pain, or our childs prosperity more important to us. And this is even for those who the other parent ISN’T around and you really ARE alone. Don’t think your level of hurt and pain is thus excusable for holding onto for life and you marrying bitterness. You still have the question of how you will harbor that life turn. Will it foster hardness in you and therefore undeserved tension in the air that’s meant to GROW your child. Or will you hunker down, do the work and wrestling it takes to really get OVER and THROUGH a thing so truthfully, so that it no longer grips you? Again. Get a damn Counselor. Ask around for a safe one. They do exist and we on average are WAY to screwed up and deceived and prideful to see the ways we’re making life’s circumstances more impossible than they truly are. We’re too good at self sabotaging to self – fix.
I digress. Get a counselor.
Whatever your [wound] was. Your [husband that walked out] Your [friend that betrayed you]. Your [job that was lost] Whatever your [this] is that’s weighed your hope, faith & joy down in shackles….Do the work, whatever it takes, to not let [this] steal from you the communication line you can have with God. Do not let this take from your child the love they can see, learn, and receive from you. Do not let yourself be tricked into thinking bitterness is a better comfort and freedom. Do not let yourself sit too long inside the fantasies of “why not me’s” and “I can’t believe he didn’t’s”. The point of wrestling isn’t to feel feel feel yourself back into feeling like the initial wound from 3 years ago is happening all over again right now. The point of wrestling is to land right on top of what that experience started to make you believe about yourself, about life and about God. And then DECIDE if that’s a learning you’re willing to embrace and carry within you into the rest of your life? Or whether you want to research [God] and replace it with what’s better. Wrestling is to identify WHY x actually hurt you and WHAT you actually had your identity and worth tied to. What you actually believed it meant about a person if they were married vs unmarried. Or a single mom. What you had your hope and security tethered to. What about you, that you thought made you respectable, and how when that all fell apart, you were now left to decide… WERE YOU a respectable being? Wrestling is for Understanding yourself. Not re-awakening emotions. Though those may come, they are not the bunny we are chasing. They are the bush we may acknowledge and pass by, on the way to understanding OUR WIRING and WHERE GOD IS SAYING TO MOVE. He may move your attitude. Your speech. Call you Not to speak. Wrestling is for seeing what He has to say about it all. Not to dig deeper into what we think of it all. But He did GIVE you your brain. So He will use it, and speak within it. Don’t run from your brain and its thoughts. He often speaks to you and you dismiss it as ‘your own thoughts’. Rule of thumb: if it calls you to bless and release (and release is NOT a bitter “screw you”, its actually smothered in peace).. its likely Him. If it calls you to put someones future ahead of your current emotions: its probably His wisdom. If it calls you to be mindful of YOURSELF instead of obsessing over someone else who it will never be feasible for you to control.. its prrrrobably Him. Wrestle to sink deeper into Him. It’s the only place that makes the pain of humans, bearable; and even… purposeful.
It is worth noting, the other woman is not an “other woman” in the connotation of her ‘stealing’ a married man. She, in my case, is far above that grade of behavior and my reference of the term is solely based on someone else’s powerful and thus powerfully perplexing presence 1) in my childs life, and 2) as the New and chosen partner in the life of a man I committed to and envisioned traveling, parenting and dying beside.
Our relationship was ended before she came along so there is No hatred needed from me OR any of my supportive friends toward her. There was no “stealing” involved. He is no longer mine. And my journey has been steeped in transitioning to a posture of honoring and holding in [fleshly uncharacteristic] high regards THEIR relationship and viewing him as hers. And WITHOUT a bite of bitterness. Truly. I use the language I do- to paint authentically the valleys of hurt and emotion that DID have to be walked through- to get to where I am now.
I don’t know IF this is helpful. To WHOM it would be helpful. If its only helpful to single moms. Or if my very odd Alice in Wonderland writing can be followed and translated to other walks of life through pain- but I do hope it’s the latter.
Signing off. Tonight the kiddo is with me and I want to snuggle her until sweat soaks my shirt 🙂 These days are slipping between my fingers & I want to drown myself in the truth that I love her.