It’s been three years since I hit the reset button on my life. My daughter, Angie, was only two years old then, barely aware of what divorce was doing to her family. Now she’s five and her life is completely different. So is mine.
Just the other day, I found the journal I kept back then. In it was a letter that I wrote to Angie when our lives were at their most chaotic.
Now, three years later, it seems almost as though some other woman wrote it – a scared, confused mother named Wendy. I reread the letter, and was struck by what this mother was about to go through, what she was about to endure and what she would, eventually, accomplish and learn.
If I could, I would reach into the past and give that woman a hug. A pat on the back. A wink, a nod or a squeeze on the arm – something to let her know that she was going to be OK.
But maybe she already knew that.
Here’s the letter:
March 2, 2012
I’m watching you sleep. It’s your naptime. One o’clock in the afternoon on a snowy Monday. Your cousins are home. There’s no school for them today. We are having quiet time together here in our bedroom. Just you and me.
You are sleeping so peacefully, curled up under the ladybug bedspread. You still have your pajamas on from this morning. I didn’t see a reason to change you, or myself for that matter.
You haven’t moved a muscle since I laid you down under the covers twenty minutes ago. I love your stillness. Your face is soft. Your breath is slow. I love this quiet respite in the middle of the day.
I’ve been struggling lately, Ang. Your dad has been calling us. He misses you. I’m not sure yet if he misses me. I’d like to think so but I’m just not sure.
I’m not sure if I should be telling you this, but I’m waiting to see if he will fight for us. He asked us to come home, come back to New Jersey so we could talk. I said no. Jersey isn’t our home right now. Maine is home. This house full of cousins is home. For now, anyway.
We might go back there some day, Angie. I’m not sure yet. There are things I need to hear from your father first. Things I need to know, to hear, to feel. I know that probably doesn’t make sense to you and maybe someday I can fill in the blanks.
Just know that I haven’t given up hope. Hope is somewhere deep down inside my heart. It’s a flame that is barely burning.
But also know, Angie, that I’m still taking care of you, still taking care of me. I’m still working on a new life for us, just in case.
I’m not sure what is going to happen next. I don’t know what to expect. And I’m trying to accept that I don’t know all the answers. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, Angie, but it just might also be the most important thing.