I remember a lot about the day I walked down the aisle. I remember less about the day I walked out the door. I remember wrapping those tiny little bottles of bubble in tulle for folks to blow on our wedding day – and I remember the day the bubble burst and my life was forever changed. I never expected to be a single mom but there I was, looking at my sweet 18 month old child, realizing that things were never going to be the same.
It was March of 2009. I think it was on a weekend. It’s all pretty fuzzy now looking back and that’s probably a good thing. The details are far less interesting than you imagine and I’m not going to share them. This isn’t about why we left or why it had to happen. There was nothing dramatic but it didn’t make it any less hurtful but that’s just the reality of ending a relationship ten years in the making.
We had our reasons and it was the right call and if I had to do it over and make the decision to walk out that door I would. I don’t regret walking away. It was the right thing. Sometimes the right thing hurts. Sometimes you have to cauterize a wound. Sometimes you need a controlled burn to get things under control. Sometimes it’s just time to go and it was.
Walking away is hard, but when you have to raise a child together after it all falls apart, it’s helpful to walk in the same direction. Just because it’s helpful doesn’t make it less hard.
When our son was little, we watched him learn how to walk. He toddled tentatively, trying to get where he wanted to go. He fell down a few times. He got back up and tried again. We watched with excitement as he found his footing and began to walk with confidence. Now he doesn’t just walk, he runs. It’s hard to keep up.
This is my experience of us coparenting together – learning to walk together, figuring out how to position ourselves in our spaces to propel ourselves forward and reach our destination. It’s tentative and awkward at first. We aren’t going to get it right all the time. We are going to fall. We are going to get back up. We are going to keep trying.
We watched our son learn to walk together with pride, and now he’s watching us. I hope one day he will look back on how we tried with the same pride we look back on his first steps, because we are going places. Together.
This post originally appeared on the Hot Mess Express, a parenting community where I help moderate the single parenting group. If you click on the Hot Mess graphic below and join, I get a small amount of money towards coffee I will probably spill on myself anyways.