The last time I wrote a column for this newspaper, it was about how my happy family carried on a tradition of picking strawberries - just me, my husband and my son. Little did I know just weeks later he would ask me for a divorce.
So how does a 14-year relationship, a 7-year marriage, die in such a short period of time? How do you go from a happy family of three to a single mom of a 3-year-old? I can't answer those questions, and honestly, neither can my estranged husband. I believe if you truly love someone, the love doesn't just disappear, but his thoughts are different and I can't make him stay.
I'm a fighter, but I learned fairly quickly that if you're the only one fighting, or the only one willing to, you're just standing around jabbing in the dark. Because he didn't want to fight, my husband "appeased me" by saying he missed me and was thinking about coming home. Meanwhile, I soldiered - and continue to soldier - on, dealing with the nightmares my son couldn't describe, but left him awake at 3 a.m. and crying for his daddy, with a late-night run to the emergency room for what, thankfully, turned out to be severe sinus pressure, but which had my baby crying and writhing in pain, and with comments from my child like, "If I am nice and you are nice then maybe Daddy will come home."
I didn't get married to get divorced, so this wasn't something I prepared myself for. When I was pregnant, I took CPR classes and hospital tours, but I didn't read up on how to explain to a little boy why his Daddy doesn't live with us anymore. And even if I had read up on it, I don't know the answer, anymore than my husband does.
What I see as selfish behavior, he sees as trying to be happy. What I see as him being a coward, he thinks is best for everyone involved, but my son and I beg to differ.
I didn't sign up for being a single mom, nor did I get married thinking that before I turned 34 I would be divorced, but that's the card life has dealt me. I now spend a lot of time sitting on my front porch, helping my son ride his tricycle, and watching kids movies while my little boy, who previously was all about his daddy, stays stuck to me like glue.
I don't know what to do, or if there is anything to be done to change this current course. I do know I am a mommy, and my child comes first, which makes it easier to not fall apart completely. And I have to stay strong; continue to soldier on, for that little boy, and for myself.
Is it hard? Every single day. I get tired of being strong, I get tired of being the one who has to shoulder everything, but I will soar. And in the end, I'll be the hero of this story.