Tag Archives: recovery

I Will Not Give Up Just Because it Gets Hard

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Last night I came to learn that my ex husband, from whom I’ve only been divorced for a matter of weeks, is making plans to remarry a sister he met online as soon as possible. While I certainly expected him to move on to someone else eventually, I have to admit that the quick turnaround for this stunned me. And there is a part of it that hurt me immensely.

I don’t think I was hurting because I felt like I lost him. No, I already dealt with that idea when I decided to divorce. I knew that giving something up means you have to be OK with it being out of your life for good.

The thing that hurt me was that the whole situation seemed to cheapen the marriage we did have- more specifically, who I was to him. He has a lot of high praise for his new love interest, and he describes her in such a way as to make it seem like I had been nothing more him than a half-hearted wannabe heathen. It made it seem like all the sacrifices I made for him, all the love I offered him, everything I gave no matter what the cost amounted to nothing. And that really hurt, because I know, and Allah knows, I gave 200% to that marriage. In fact, the only thing that gave me comfort in walking away from it was knowing that I could not have possibly done any more than I had. I walked away bled dry; loved out.

And it certainly doesn’t help to watch him go happily forward with someone who cares about him, while I continue to wrestle with the task Allah has set before me of coming to terms with being single for the next X amount of years, and living without that comforting companionship.

So I initially felt crushed, because a part of me believed that though things ended as they did, he would remember me as someone who was extremely loyal, caring, and devoted. Instead, it appeared that someone else can offer more of those things than I did. That stabbed my heart, and made me wonder if all the heartwrenching dedication I freely and abundantly gave him was nothing more than a waste. Thinking of the prices I paid (and made my children pay) in the process, it was unfathomable to me that everything I did for the sole purpose of having someone love me and stay by me, would only end up showing me that the love I was purchasing was not sincere at all. How then will I come to terms with myself, for not having figured that out before now?

I went back over my older blog posts this morning, trying to look at things from other angles. In one of them I wrote “I will not give up just because it gets hard”. That’s what I really need to hang on to right now. This new development, though hard and painful, is not something I’m going to let shake me from the direction I’m trying to go in. After all, all the hard, hard work and sacrifices I am making now, I am doing those for myself. They won’t come back empty, they won’t be for nothing. There’s a blossom in me, a beauty seeking to come out, and I will not let it be hindered even if no one in the world sees it but me.

Yeah, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve taken more than my share of hits, perhaps. In the end, it’s not breaking me but helping to build me…and that’s exactly what is needed right now. When it’s done, I will be me in the fullest and most spectacular of ways. Praise be to Allah.

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Allah is The Answer

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My middle son misses me. He called at all hours of the morning (the time difference did not help), crying and crying. I felt so helpless, being so far away, but I completely understood what it feels like for him. The best I could do was stay with him on the phone until he was able to calm down and put his mind on other things.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from today. It was important for me to find my mom’s old house, and the apprehension in what may lie ahead kept me from getting restful sleep. When it became apparent at 9 AM that there was not going to be any more opportunities for me to go back to bed before I had to check out, I went ahead and gritted my teeth and got ready for the day. I mapped out the street she lived on, then went to the nearby garage and retrieved my car. I drove from Hyde to Mission to 24th, and found a side street to park on.

Just as I remembered, Lilac St was nothing more than an alley. I wasn’t sure if I would remember her door by seeing it, but I was going to give it my best shot. I slowly walked toward the alley, uncertain if it was a good neighborhood or not. There were a lot of trendy places on Mission just around the corner, but alleys always seem kind of scary. I proceeded cautiously, and was relieved to see there weren’t many people around. Some guys were just taking a smoke break from the back door of the restaurants that lined the alley, and others were residents unloading things from their storage spaces.

The alley itself was colorfully painted with one graffiti mural after another. One one telephone pole were three faces of middle eastern looking men, and on the next were three women in hijab. Most of the alley was lined with sliding doors that led to either garages or storage areas. There were not many entry doors, and as I looked at each one I could not hone in on which might have been hers. What was clear was that this seemed to be an area where artists congregated, and that explained why she -with painting being a consuming passion of hers- would’ve chosen to live there.

I walked the entire length of the way searching for the impossible. I recalled that my brother had told me once that the building itself used to be a train station that was converted into living units, but none of the structures appeared to fit that description. When I reached the other end of the alley, I felt disappointed and lost. I turned back around, hoping that the alternate view might trigger a flash of memory to help me find what I was looking for, but that didn’t happen.

I returned to my car feeling defeated. This was something I felt I needed to do, and I couldn’t even do it. I sat in the driver’s seat and began weeping profusely. Something so simple, yet so elusive, can hurt so deeply.

“It’s only natural to want to have a mother in my life…”
Yes, it is.

“I didn’t deserve what happened…”
No, you didn’t.

“I didn’t do anything wrong!”
You couldn’t have.

The tears wouldn’t stop. The confusion burrowed deeper. The pain painted pictures before my eyes, and I hated it for being the very thing that was chaining me to the unhealthy habits I am struggling to break even now.

“Ya Allah, please show me how this loneliness, this constant loneliness that’s been a part of my life since birth, is really the best thing for me!”

I sat, trying to figure out a way forward. A way to heal and find peace from these deep scars. I kept thinking that finding my future was the answer, but the future is uncertain…..except for one thing: Islam.

Islam would be my way forward. Islam will help me find myself, and find my peace. It already has in so many ways, but the more I focus on it the more Allah will meet me where I need.

And so that’s where I wanted to go from that place, that empty alley which had no answers or comfort. I sent a message to a friend trying to find the way to the Muslims in San Francisco. While awaiting the response, I tried to find the information myself via Zabiha.com and Google. Both were inconclusive, so I was glad to get a reply with a general direction to move toward.

As it turned out, I ended up scouring the area I was pointed to block by block. I didn’t see any cluster of shops with signs in Arabic to indicate what I was looking for, so I thought I would just make due with popping into the nearby masjid to make dhuhr and from there go on my merry way. However, there was some type of event going on in that area, so the streets were being blocked off one by one. I couldn’t find a place to park by the masjid; in fact just getting out of the area and back toward the interstate was nearly impossible due to gridlock traffic and took almost an hour.

In the end, I drove to nearby Fremont to attend a zikr which was scheduled for this evening. I originally had planned not to go, but I felt like I needed something like that right now. I got into town and mapped the venue, which was located at a park. I decided to make my dhuhr there, and kill the time by eating a late lunch at a local halal restaurant. After that, I drove to the closest masjid and made asr, then returned to the park center for the night’s activities.

I am so glad I went. Being able to only focus on Allah and my iman was just what I needed, and it changed my state completely. Masha’Allah, they even served us a free dinner. The nasheeds lifted my spirits and I felt lighter than air after it was over. As I walked back out to my car, I looked up to see the wispy clouds sifting past a brilliantly shining full moon, beautifully set in the starry, cobalt sky. Alhamdulillah!

I located an affordable room for the night in town, which is where I am staying tonight. I like Fremont; it reminds me of the San Gabriel Valley where I spent half my childhood. In shaa Allah I will begin wending my way down the coast toward Southern California tomorrow. My trip will be coming to an end soon, so I hope I can make the most of these last opportunities toward self-discovery as I continue exploring the land I love.

Siren on the Bay

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Tonight I write from a cozy room with high ceilings, a wrought iron bed, and a window view to some type of rooftop garden with skylights in its center. There is a rock band practicing in some other part of the building, and their rifts are faintly audible in the silence of this space. When I arrived here, an aged wannabe rocker who may or may not have been past his prime popped in the office and greeted the desk clerk while I was checking in. I believe he lives here.

After lugging my suitcase up the winding flight of stairs to my room and delightedly finding two Hershey kisses on my pillows, I unloaded the bulk of what I had brought with me and left again with only what I needed. I walked around the block to a halal Mediterranean restaurant I spotted when I initially drove into the neighborhood, and was seated at the table that sister Salma was setting when I entered. She took my order and offered me some complimentary tea, which I graciously accepted.

The afternoon sun angled through the broad windows as I surveyed the establishment. I felt at peace being in there, and that feeling gave me a reassurance that I can do this after all…this “new life alone” thing. I sipped the tea while texting my friend about all the important things running through my heart and mind, until the best shish tawook I’ve ever had was served. I took my time eating it while I thought about how I was going to spend the next couple of days. Salma asked me where I was from and confirmed that I was a convert. She asked my name, and as I am accustomed to doing with other Muslims I told her “Jamylah”. She said, “no, what’s your other name?” I couldn’t believe it, this was the first time I had been asked for my legal name by another Muslim. So I beamingly told her “Amy”, to which she replied, “that’s a very nice name!” I was so tickled by this.

After my meal, I rounded the corner with my bag of leftovers and started up Hyde (or would it be down?) for dessert. I have always been fond of walking and I wanted to get a taste of what I might be in for with being on foot as I complete my mission here. Surprisingly, going up hills were easier than descents for me given that I was foolishly wearing heeled boots. I had stopped at a shoe store earlier this morning but couldn’t find anything I could comfortably wear with my kufs, so I decided to see if I might be able to handle it after all. Let’s just say I need to scout out a shoe store as soon as I can.

As I walked while listening to Maher Zain songs, I felt the ease in how everyone was minding their own business. No one cared where I was walking or why, or why my scarf was tangerine orange, or why I smiled at them. Instead, they smiled back and continued on in their own affairs. How so very different is this city from Atlanta, and it gave me hope that some of the weariness I’ve taken on from living there for so many years might be eased here some day soon, in shaa Allah.

I entered the small and unassuming ice cream shop mentioned by a friend, not knowing what to expect. I quickly scanned their menu and decided to get a hot fudge sundae with mocha fudge ice cream. While it was being made, I popped across the street to get cash out of the corner market’s ATM machine (note to self: there may be a lot of places around here that only take cash besides Swensen’s) and felt a sense of deja vu as I noted the way the canned goods were aligned on the shelves while walking out the door. I went back to retrieve my prize, and began walking back down (up?) Hyde toward my hotel to sit on the random red bench I had past earlier and so enjoy the treat.

When others tell me that a certain place has good sweets, I tend to be pretty skeptical. I’m a fiend for all things saccharine, so it takes a lot to impress me into saying that something is the “best”. Yet I tell you the truth, when I took my first bite of that unbelievable creation, I was utterly flabbergasted. I never had ice cream with such a rich and balanced flavor since Godiva sold pints. I really believe this franchise needs to make a comeback and give places like Cold Stone Creamery a serious run for their money.

That being the case, I deliberately took my time savoring each bite. I sat on the bench alone, listening to the electrified hum of the cable car rails and watching passer-bys with their freshly groomed puppies while ruing the fact that this will be the only time I will be able to enjoy such phenomenal ice cream until further notice. As the sun began to set I started to feel a bit vulnerable, realizing that I was entirely alone in a profoundly large city where I knew absolutely no one. I recognized I was taking a risk to stay out past maghrib (which was not yet quite in), and made dua that Allah keep me safe during my time here. I made sure I kept my eyes on everything and stayed aware of my surroundings while I reluctantly finished the syrupy remains of what I would call a perfect sundae. I then arose and continued down the hill to Bush St.

As I purposefully strode through each crosswalk, I glanced at the others coming and going by me. I understand now why so many creative types come here: because the people alone, with their unique stories and personalities (whether real or imagined) are enough to inspire countless works. Even I started having ideas of what to write about if I ever were to try my hand at fiction, which was something I had not anticipated at all prior to my arrival.

I then began to think about how my mother used to live here, and contemplated what drew her to this city. I tried to picture what my life might have been like if I had been with her, and grew up here. What kind of person might I have been? For better? For worse? Better yet, what kind of person will I become if I manage to get myself settled here, in shaa Allah? That might be a question I will someday actually answer, if Allah wills it.

I swiped my keycard on the front door of the hotel to gain entry just as the maghrib adhan was playing through my headphones. Once back in my room, I quickly changed into my comfortable pajamas and put my leftovers in the fridge. My sons are in bed, and for the time being I get to spend my evening puttering online and reading while the mysterious band continues their grooving.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings, because so far in this short afternoon I have been baptized into something richly exotic, vaguely familiar, and altogether entrancing!

It’s Almost Over

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….My iddah, that is. As an aside, it hasn’t really stopped raining since my last post. When I leave work it’s only sprinkling, and then I think it is starting to let up. Then, as I’m about to fall asleep, I’ll hear it start pouring again. Anyway, back to my iddah coming to a close. It really is going to be over any day now! If I’m strictly counting average cycle days, then it will probably be over tomorrow. However, my cycle hasn’t been known for being predictable the past few years, so if I end up having to default to counting a complete three months by calendar- then next Tuesday is the very latest I’ll still be in this very gray-shaded state.

When my iddah began, I wasn’t sure what it would be like when I reached this point. I think I understandably expected to feel sadness, or some type of regret or sense of loss. In fact, I’m actually feeling rather peaceful and somewhat empowered. While there are -I’m sure- many wisdoms behind the iddah period, the insight I am coming away with is that (for me) it was a period of awkward emotional maneuvers that served to help me bring closure to the relationship so I can move forward now with more purpose and less baggage hindering me.

I really disliked the iddah. I am just being honest. It was the most frustratingly nebulous relationship status I have ever been in. Here I was, still married, but trying to figure out where the boundaries were since they weren’t readily defined (surprisingly, since most everything else in Islam is). All I knew was there was to be no physical intimacy (unless we were reuniting) and we had to live separately (which we had already been doing for like, ever). Outside of those, there were really no other “rules” about how to interact or behave with one another. I was constantly frustrated trying to figure out what was appropriate friendliness without giving the misleading idea that I wanted to reunite. He wasn’t yet a non-mahram, so I didn’t have a proper excuse to be curt and distant. Yet, if I seemed too aloof, this also seemed unreasonable.

On top of all that, I struggled with my feelings. All the good memories wooing me back to wanting to try again, and all the deplorable events that reminded me why I made this choice. For at least the first half of the iddah, I felt that I was at the mercy of these ruthless cycles. By the time my iddah was 2/3 over, I believe the balance was beginning to return. I’ve spent these past final weeks shifting my focus to my new life, and surprisingly I don’t have that feeling of “unfinished business” inside anymore. I feel at peace, and I feel I can move forward without being haunted by “what if?”

Sometimes I think about what I might miss most about being married. The first thing that comes to mind is just being able to get a hug whenever I need it, or having someone to talk to when I am bothered about something. I think I will miss having the companionship- someone to share life’s strange events with and develop inside jokes with. But I did have that, and what I had can never be taken away. I don’t know what my future holds, but right now my number one goal is finding Allah’s rahmah for me. That rahmah that will suffice me whether I walk the rest of this earthly journey alone, or whether Allah sees fit to someday pair me with someone to share a truly symbiotic marriage with. If I can find His rahmah, then I can find myself and cultivate that self into one who is more pleasing to Allah. That is truly what I was created for.

As always, I ask Allah to help me in this. Amin.

Electric Metamorphosis

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It’s as though I’ve been loosed.

 

Having a laptop of my own, finally, after…let’s see…oh, about 6 years- what a difference it truly makes! I feel free to be myself, to write as needed. And this is what my new year is all about: getting back to who I am. It doesn’t matter that my new year (or shall I say, my new life?) won’t begin for a couple more weeks yet, I know I am emerging from my chrysalis into something much more dynamic than I’ve felt in some time.

 

My essence has been lost for far too long. I’ve been focused on so many other things…other people…I’ve managed to lose myself in the shuffle. When I went back for the retrieval it seemed nothing was there- just a void of blank pages. I always understood that my “self” was this entity I had to go about discovering, as though it were a separate being unto itself.  I think, perhaps, my self is something to be created with the raw materials I already possess, things I already know about myself but never shaped into form. Things like:

 

The way I feel when I sing or dance

My attraction to bright colors or flashy patterns

The way I can make awesome guacamole with no recipe or measurements

My never-ending seeking for something beyond the seen

My refusal to give up, even if I swim in a river of emotional tar for weeks

The reckless dedication with which I approach pretty much anything

My love for California

and not least of all, my words.

 

My starting point is this: I am a writer. Not because I write better than everyone else. Not because my writing never has mistakes, or is read by millions. I am not a writer because I have aspirations to be published or because I’ve written anything besides reflections and poetry.

 

I am a writer, simply because I need to write. Ever since I was given my first diary in second grade, I can’t escape the itch. My biggest regret is that several of my childhood journals got lost in the USPS when I tried to ship them to myself from California in 1998. I have still in my closet a bin of journals that still remain, scraps of musings I jotted on college assignments, and anything else that forced my pen to paper.  I don’t know what I plan on doing with them some day, but I feel like that box contains my essence. It is a recorded journey of everything which has led me to my present moment…all lessons to learn again and jokes to laugh at once more.

 

All these years, and I haven’t been able to stop.  It wells in me, like any passion, until I release it.  It doesn’t matter anymore if anyone hears. This is being true to myself. I am going to let this well flow as it needs to, and follow its streams until I become all of me.

 

“….your Lord is the Most Generous,  Who taught by the Pen,  taught man that which he knew not….”

 

It WILL be an amazing year, in shaa Allah!

 

 

 

The Replacements

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It is said that Allah does not take anything from a person except to replace it with better.  I can say, with every fiber of my being, that my present life shows this reality.  This week has made manifest a qadr I’ve hoped for, and I am humbled that Allah saw fit to bring it to fruition in my life.

 

On Monday we closed on the house.  Yes, it was anticipated, but there is something about actually walking away with the physical confirmation of what one has worked hard for. Imagine what Paradise will be, when such exhilaration comes in this life! I have to admit, one of the more challenging things about having the house is the deep longing in my heart to share it with my soon to be ex-husband. I can’t erase the fact that the main reason I toiled for this very thing was for his sake, and now it is being with-held from him. Allah knows best.  I have been struggling with a sentimental sadness and longing to “fix it” by taking him back into my life, but unfortunately the character he’s been showing these last few days indicate he still is not going in the direction I need my husband to go in…or the direction I’m trying to go in myself.  Fortunately, today I am feeling less emptiness about this and more focused on the purposes Allah has to help me further develop my sincerity and taqwa.

 

I have been thinking about all of the places I’ve lived since I moved out from my grandparent’s home; and surely this is the best place so far. I love the house, the floorplan, the windows, the feel.  I can only hope in shaa Allah that a good man may share it with me someday…whether he is a transformed version of B, or someone I’ve not yet met, or even perhaps a friend who becomes more than a friend.  Allah knows best what I need, even if it means having the rest of my life to contemplate my duties to Him. He is to be praised because He shorts me nothing. Ever.

 

My little one is doing well. He completed his day treatment and will be returning to school tomorrow. He also is excited about the new changes with the house and all, so I hope it can boost him to where he is not overwhelmed with the pain of what is being lost.  I will do my best to continue to help him in shaa Allah.

 

I have a new car as well, masha’Allah.  I went on Friday and bought my 2013 Dodge Challenger.  It is like my own little piece of California for as long as I stay here in Georgia.  I intend to take the best care of it so it in shaa Allah will last me for decades to come. I have never financed a car before, and up until now I have been adamantly against such things and would rather save a few grand and buy something older and used. However, I know that I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for others. There have not been a lot of “things” I’ve wanted in life, but that Challenger always had my eye. I wanted to do something nice for myself so that I could experience the reality that I am just as valuable as anyone else. I wanted to buy a car and never have to worry about buying one again for the rest of my life, because it will remain in shaa Allah in good condition and it is what I have truly wanted. Every time I drive it I try to make a point to be thankful to Allah for giving me the opportunity to make such a dream come true and helping me to do so, and remind myself of the value I have no matter what others think or what I’ve experienced to prove otherwise.

 

And masha’Allah, excess money with each check. Even with the new car and house,  I will be having more surplus from my pay than I’ve ever had before. What a queer feeling to know that I  could buy drapes, plane tickets, clothes, or any other ‘stuff’ whenever I want. It doesn’t even seem real, but the truth is I am not really interested in doing any of that. Sure I will probably buy a few curtains for the house simply because there are more windows than curtains I currently own; and a few other decorative things, but after that I would probably just give in charity, save, and pay down any debt I have.  The only point (in my view) in having nice things is to remember Allah by them.  Surely I remember many times I got something nice or pretty and just was so grateful to Allah for beautiful things to enjoy as long as He allows, always reminded that nothing comes except by His leave.

 

I guess for me it’s easy to see that even though all these things are very nice and enjoyable, they are just transient. Anything can be lost at any time, and I certainly know what being on that side of the fence is like. I remember a time when I was starving and pregnant with my youngest son. We had no money and were literally living off the cans of salmon given to us by a local food pantry.  All I wanted was a tomato to add to it, and I remember how frantically we tried looking for enough change to buy just one.  In those days,  I don’t even know how the bills got paid since I wasn’t working and not getting child support, and it seemed my husband couldn’t keep a job.  Masha’Allah, Allah brought me through that and so many other trials. He brought me here, and He can take me anywhere He likes. My only goal in life is to become who He meant me to be regardless of where He takes me, either good or bad, in this life.

 

I can’t help but feel, though, that seeing what He is giving me now…anything else I’m losing or giving up will have a better replacement as well in shaa Allah. I think the hardest thing has been the ending of my marriage, but I really do trust Allah will either satisfy me with being alone in this life, or He will bring me a suitable partner who is better than the one I am losing. It’s as He likes, and I’m merely grateful for anything He chooses.

 

I am going to spend the next few weeks transitioning everything from this apartment to the house in shaa Allah. In addition to that, my plan is to eat healthier and try to become a little more active so I can begin in shaa Allah to lose some weight. I am hoping that when I take my vacation after MLK day I will be in a healthier condition, and also have some habits I can continue until I am a little trimmer and eating as I should for my diabetes.

I can, and I will

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I was thinking, as I was driving home the other day, that if one were to deduce my motto for life based on what I actually do in living it they might believe it is “rise to the occassion”.  I don’t sit around thinking of all the ways I want to grit through life, or all the lofty goals I hope to achieve. But, when trouble comes, I play defense passionately. Sometimes I laugh to myself because, being as un-inclined to athletics as I am, I probably would’ve been most suited to tennis because of the way I like to lob back every difficulty that tries to assault me.

 

My youngest son is thankfully home for the hospital. He ended up staying in the acute setting for a full week, and they discharged him down to the day program which he began yesterday.  He seems to do be doing better than he was when I had to take him in, but I am getting lots of opportunities to work on my patience as I again train him on what are the appropriate ways to speak to me or manage his own frustrations. In a couple of weeks I hope he will be ready to go back to school and finish out the semester unremarkably. In  the mean time, I am trying to give him a lot of focused attention and structure.

 

This upcoming week is going to be a very eventful one for me.  Monday morning we are scheduled to close on the house,  and as soon as that detail is out of the way I plan on working toward getting a new car. I had mentioned before how I planned to get a Challenger anyway, but now it is needed because the wheel shaft on my Hyundai cracked off from the chassy and the car had to be salvaged.  I am currently driving a rental, and I want to be able to return that sooner than later. I am glad that I will be off the last two days of this week to start working on my transition and fixing up the new house, and of course spending some meaningful times with the kids.

 

I also just completed the first third of my iddah.  It certainly has been a roller-coaster so far, but all the niggling doubts that I was having that led up to the divorce are quiet. That’s my marker to know that I made the right choice, no matter how often I long for old times. I decided to plan a trip out of town once my iddah is complete so I can refocus back on my own goals and values and start my new life with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, insha’Allah. I have already purchased my plane tickets and requested a full week off from work. I am taking this trip alone, and I plan on trying to use it to really reflect on the things that matter most to me and what things I want to start investing my energy and creativity into.  I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken where I didn’t make a point of visiting people; for once I just want to get in touch with myself.

 

All in all, I do have a lot to look forward to. I have dreams to nurture and responsibilities keep me occupied and challenged. I was thinking yesterday of what my future might be like….if I will be spending more nights alone weeping what I’ve lost or thankful for what I’ve gained…and I realized there will be both. There will be nights I will miss the best parts of the “us” I had with B.  There will be days I will be glad that a particularly stressful situation with the kids wasn’t met with an explosion by him, too.  There will be plenty of times I will despair over the fact of never having another baby and living with the incompleteness my daughter’s departure left in me, but there will also be circumstances that will show me how much more difficult things would have been if I did have a young one to factor in.

 

Granted, things are not ideal. If I could create an ideal situation it would first have me living in California and not here lol.  I would have a healthy marriage and emotionally healthy kids. I would be a more balanced person myself, and I would have positive and uplifting relationships with others. I would perhaps even be free not to have to work. When I think of a scenario where all this fits in, it seems impossible to achieve in the near future…but one can never guess the sudden change of terrain that Allah might put before us.  I certainly never anticipated that I would be getting divorced after everything I went through with my husband, but here I am. I never thought I would be buying my first home alone, and getting a new car that I actually like, but it’s happening.  There is no telling what else can happen, and I truly am excited to see what each day brings to make the tapestry of my life that much more beautiful.