I’ve heard it said that a grain of sand can tip the scale, but in my opinion it is the pile of sand before it that rarely gets the attention. By the time I reached 40 I felt like I was in a constant struggle to climb the dune I had created.
Turning 30 was fun and I was sure I had everything figured out, at least on the outside. I was married with two kids and very content with my day-to-day life. Things got even better when we bought a little 20-acre farm on the outskirts of town.
I’ve written many times before that I grew up on a farm, and when my boys were entering grade school I had the strongest desire for them to experience country life. The run-down, cat-infested place we purchased turned out to be the best place to let a couple of boys roam and discover things on their own.
Moving to that farm was the best decision my husband and I ever made, aside from having kids that is. But even though we were happy playing farmers for a while, it didn’t fix the problems we were having in our relationship.
I was struggling inside and not only did my husband not understand, neither did I.
Let me try to explain.
My mom died when I was 11, and my brother died when I was 21. I was sure my 30’s would hold another tragedy and was holding my breath waiting for that call. If someone I loved wasn’t exactly where he or she was supposed to be, I knew something terrible had happened to them.
I also knew this wasn’t rational thinking and my emotions were guiding me, and many of those emotions came directly from the hurt 11-year-old inside me. That little girl was steering the ship and I had no tools to stop her.
On the outside, I was a busy mom and farmer. I rode horses, was the PTA president, grew flowers and tried to make everyone around me happy. But on the inside, I was living in fear.
One day the 11-year-old finally listened to the 37-year-old trying to find peace. I thought if I just kept worrying about my loved ones, no one would die. The rational 37-year-old was screaming that wasn’t true and I was making myself sick with worry.
From then on, whenever I would begin to worry about someone I loved I would stop, take a deep breath and visually surround them in white light. I would see them be okay, alive and healthy.
It was around the same time that I knew I wanted more than what I was getting in my marriage and by the time I was 38 we were heading for divorce.
I had to weigh the terrible blow this would have on my sons with the fact that I wasn’t showing them what a happy loving relationship looked like. I didn’t want them to end up where I was.
So I added one more grain of sand and celebrated my 40th birthday as a single mom.
What I learned: It’s okay to be happy.