There are many things I dreamed for my daughter when she was busy kicking and punching me from inside my womb. A divorced family was not one of them.
One morning, though, I woke up to our new, fragmented reality. It was painful for me, but I know that it was even more painful for her. It still remains painful to her in ebbs and flows that move like waves.
I know that there is nothing I can do to stop her sorrow from existing. But after two years as a divorced single mom, I know that there are many things I can do to prevent it from increasing. My answer? These 10 post-divorce promises to my daughter that I hold to as tightly as gospel truth.
1. You will not hear my excuses
I promise that I won’t use the challenges of single motherhood as an excuse to not have fun. All we have is today. If divorce has taught me anything, it is that today is worth embracing.
2. You will not hear me complain
I promise that you will never hear me complain about how hard this can be. I know how your sweet and compassionate heart would take such a complaint, and I fear that you would start to believe that you have made life difficult. And that, sweet girl, simply isn’t true.
3. You will never have to navigate my casual dating
I recognize that the people I bring into your life impact you. As a result, I promise not to treat you casually by introducing you to my dates before the time is right — and for me, the right time won’t be before six months of dating, at the very least.
4. You will never be the answer to my loneliness
I promise that I will never absorb you as an answer to my loneliness. I have my own friends and my own dreams. I will not latch on to you or your future to address the loneliness I sometimes feel.
5. I will always be honest with you
I promise to be appropriately honest with you about what happened between me and your dad. I promise that I won’t, however, speak poorly of him. Ever.
6. Your grief is never too much for me to handle
I promise that your grief and sorrow about the divorce will not sweep me away. You can talk to me about it. You can cry with me about it. I am big enough to handle it.
7. You will never need to worry about me
I promise that you don’t need to worry about me when you’re with your dad. I have a life of my own. I am so glad when you come home, but please feel free to have fun with your dad without a single worry for me.
8. I will do my best to live in peace
I promise to do every single thing I can to have peace with your dad, and to communicate with him as best I can no matter how hard it is.
9. You will never be my go-between
I promise not to ever rely upon you to deliver information between me and your dad.
10. You can count on me to fight for you
I promise to fight each and every day to give you the life you deserve. I refuse to be a victim and I refuse to drag you into my victimization. As much as I am able, you will see from me that a grown and passionate woman can overcome anything and everything that is in her path, and that life doesn’t have to look perfect to accomplish great things. And the greatest of things, my darling girl, is to give you a childhood that is beautiful and unconcerned with the adult matters that I promise to take care of for you.