How My Baby Let Me Off the Hook

As we enter the last few hours of November 2015, I’m thinking about all I’ve been through this year…

  • Maternity leave
  • Returning to work
  • My daughter’s 1st birthday
  • Ending my relationship with her father
  • Losing my job
  • Navigating a new job as a parent
  • Losing my home

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In the span of two weeks, I went from being a bridesmaid at my child’s godparents’ wedding , to having to force her father out of our home, to losing my job two days later. I had a friend visiting during the move-out and losing my job. If she hadn’t been there, I’d have handled things very poorly indeed. She reminded me that I needed to grieve for the life I had lost: the somewhat traditional family, the coworkers I loved, financial freedom. All of it, gone in two weeks. I felt like I’d lost control of my life and I was grateful that I had the safe cocoon of my home to heal in.

It took two very long months and a lot of hard work to find my new job. In the first month, I had to call in twice due to anxiety. I’m able to do a lot of my job from home, so I was paid for one of them; the other, I said I was sick and unable to work. I might have been, I don’t remember anymore. About two weeks ago, a tree fell in the windstorm and fell on my little townhouse. It destroyed my daughter’s bedroom window, my roof, and my dining room. It smashed all the glass on my balcony. Important items were unharmed. A few things need to be replaced, but they’re just material things. The toy chest – the Tickle Trunk – my great-grandfather built me bore the brunt of the damage and came out unscathed. I can’t begin to describe how low I felt. I felt like my life had spun out of control and it was a terrible dream. All I wanted was to go home and heal, but I couldn’t. I still can’t. I might be out of my home until March.

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The top two floors are mine.

My daughter and I have moved in with my aunt, which means I have a lot of help. It also means I don’t have the space I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s lovely to have in-home laundry, though! Almost all my clothes are in storage now, and if it weren’t for an Old Navy order that arrived the day before the storm, I’d have had a few shirts, dirty jeans, wet socks, and compromised boots. My little lady and I, blessedly, had clothes. Hers were warm, mine weren’t. I’ve re-learned the art of layering – the warehouse I work in is COLD.

I feel like I can’t get back on my feet. I feel like I’m doing horribly, like a tree fell on my house because I don’t have my life together. I feel like 2015 is dragging me down to the bottom of the ocean and I don’t want to fight it anymore… I feel like I just need to ride this out and wait til the storm passes.

Tonight, I went to put my very stubborn 18 month old dictator to bed. She didn’t want to be put into the playpen next to my bed in my aunt’s spare room. I put her in my bed instead, with the sunflowers on the duvet cover. I climbed in next to her and let her play with my old iPhone that’s been re-purposed for her to play with and play her lullabies at night. It played Brahms’ lullaby with soothing underwater sounds to lull her to sleep. I gave her her beloved bear, Bernard, and she flung him aside and wrapped her arms around my neck to hold me close. She covered my face in her little, loving kisses and reminded me that she is the only thing that matters. She is safe, happy, well-fed, and so incredibly loved. I’m doing that.

I might not have my life together, but I have her life together and she loves me for it, no matter where I work or where we live.

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Our very, very close quarters