Sometimes I paint pictures. Not real pictures. I am not artistically inclined with drawing or painting. But, I do create images in my head. Images of how I think things should look or be. Some of those images have been instilled in me from childhood, things that should be normal, some are new images, and some are blurry images.
From childhood, I had these pictures in my head of what my adult years would look like. The family that I would have, what my home would look like, even small details such as decorations and landscaping. I’m learning, though, that those images I have to let go of. Because those images are not my reality. My reality is very different than the images in my head that I have created so many years ago.
My reality is that I do things with my children. Alone. I take care of, and raise my children. Alone. I give my children advice, words of encouragement, and discipline. Alone.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many people that speak truth into my children, offer advice, and words of encouragement. But the primary responsibility falls on my shoulders, and mine alone. That was my choice. I chose to walk this path by myself. And most days, I’m fine. Most days I could not be more thankful for the choice I made to walk this path.
But today, it was different. I was able to steal away time with my precious kids, who are getting older, more independent, and are beginning to need me less, and I was able to take them individually to do something that they enjoyed. Which is amazing. We normally are so busy doing things together, that the precious moments I am able to connect with them on an individual basis mean so much to me, and I hope to them. Today, it hit me like a ton of bricks that the picture I have in my head of what a family looks like is something that is so very different than what my reality is. And while our time together was so needed and so fun, there was this empty place that took my breath away.
For whatever reason, today, I wanted a counter part with me while I was taking my kids on our outings. I desperately wanted someone with me to do life with. I know I am capable of raising my kids, providing for them, and making and creating life and memories with them. But there was a void tonight. A void that I don’t think my children felt, but I felt it. I felt it in a big way. For me, while it was great spending time and doing fun activities with my kids, I couldn’t help but wonder, how many more outings will it be just me taking my kids on? How many vacations will it be just my children and I? I know I don’t need a counter part, I am capable of doing things alone with my children and we have a great time. But that pesky image I have in my head of what things should look like, sometimes creeps in and makes me a bit anxious. Sad even at times.
After the outings that I went on with my kids, we got home, and all I could do was sit in my room and cry. I really don’t even know why I was crying. I was just really feeling the loneliness that has been there for many years. Because even when I did have a partner, I was still alone. It was still my kids and I doing things. I think I felt that sadness because that’s been the norm for our family and it’s not a norm that I wanted or that they wanted. Or maybe it’s just me, in my head. Holding on to that image that I painted so many years ago.
I know those moments of sadness will creep in every now and again. I know I will feel those moments of sadness. And it’s okay to feel it. It’s okay to acknowledge it. And it’s okay to move on from it. Which, is what I am doing. We are a family, even if it doesn’t match the pictures in my head. Because let’s face it, many of the pictures we create in our head doesn’t match our reality. And it’s okay.