358. That is the total number of firsts of the months I have experienced at my ripe old age of 29. For the most part, I have always appreciated and looked forward to the first day of a month. As a teacher, it meant new units or events at school. As a mom, it means another month that Owen is learning and loving and growing. The start of October has always felt like a significant fresh start to me. I guess because it means it really is fall and the holidays really are coming. This is the 4th month that I have started off the month as a single mom. October is the 4th month in which I am still working on digging my way out into the light.
I still have so much to battle. I am making peace with the battle because I know it is now forever a part of my story. Each month I have to experience something new with the mindset of doing it for the first time. This is the first Halloween in 10 years I will be single. It is the first Halloween that our family is not how I pictured it being. Eventually I will have to experience Thanksgiving and Christmas as a single parent and I know it is going to be heartbreaking. I have already prepared myself for a lot of tears. But I am okay with it. Because I know that beauty rises from ashes.
Yes, I have a lot to battle. But I also have a lot to be grateful for and enjoy. Each day, even each moment right now, is a back in forth between being sad and being thankful. Each day brings something new to experience and handle.
I truly am thankful for each of my memories, each of my experiences. I have figured out that for me, the experience of my family changing and ending is more emotionally draining than most of my other experiences. I think it is because it feels like grief and change and fear and vulnerability all rolled into one. When I have dealt with death, or health issues, or other obstacles and painful experiences, they seemed more black and white. Those experiences seemed to have more of an expiration date that came with them.
I am not sure when the expiration date is for this divorce. I am not sure that there is one. But I do know it is providing us with a fresh start. It is allowing us to figure out our new family dynamics. It is giving me the space I need to heal old and new wounds. It is providing me with the weakness and strength to battle my inner demons. This divorce is more of a fresh start than I would have ever wanted. But in a strange way, it has set my soul on fire again. It has brought more perspective to my life in the last 4 months than I had experienced in years.
So today, on October 1st, I am thankful for the fresh start I have been given. In a weird way, it feels like I have been given another chance at life. I would have never chosen this for me or our family. But it chose me and I have no choice but to roll with it. I loved my life before. I am guessing I will always miss part of that life. But I trust that this fresh start is going to bring so much love, so much passion, so many lessons and so many beautiful things that I can’t help but feel thankful.
Sometimes fresh starts are just as they sound: fresh and new. Other times fresh starts come from pain and dirt and all the yuck in life that is hard to deal with at times. Regardless of how it comes about, a fresh start is one of the parts of life that allows us to see the beauty that has always been there. It may just take the fresh start to clear things off so you can see clearly again.