Hope, gratitude, and a lot of ugly tears
Hope is a dangerous thing to have as a single parent. If you have too little hope, you become a shriveled up wretch of a person, devoid of all passion or “joie de vivre”. If you have too much of it, you’re perceived as a Giselle from Enchanted with unrealIstic goals complete with chirping birds. By the time August 2018 rolled around, the idea of ”hope” had become a distant, abstract concept and I could see Zeke suffering from my lack of drive. I was on a one-way path to bitterness and apathy after experiencing the side effects of an acrimonious divorce. I had lost my voice, my enthusiasm to pursue my passions, and I couldn’t see past the immediate pain that I was experiencing. I was existing solely in auto-pilot mode for the sake of my son. But deep down inside something, someone was telling me “Release your story. Share it with others. You’ll survive. Do not be afraid.” So it was this little voice that empowered me to arm myself with courage to stand in front of a panel of my colleagues to present an idea...a dream...to pursue something out of the ordinary and out of my element.
As I stood in front of that conference room with nerves in tow waiting for my turn to present, a tsunami of gratitude washed over me. Gratitude for having a job that gives out these grants. Gratitude for being alive, as evidenced by the heartbeat that was pounding out of my chest. Gratitude for regaining my voice. And finally gratitude for the ability to tell my truth. A truth that the family court system failed to listen to, and it was the first time that I could say I felt a full release of all the pent-up frustrations from having interrupted hopes.
The ugly crying started 45 seconds into my 5 minute presentation and the tears didn’t stop. It was as though a fire hydrant on a hot summer day was burst open and drenched my face like a city sidewalk. I told them of my dream of going to Portugal, learning Portuguese, and hiking the Camino de Santiago. I told them how I wanted my son to see his mother create a dream, to execute the dream, and show him what tenacity looks like. I told them that I wanted more than anything to fill my tank with hop. I poured my heart into every word that came out of my mouth and the end result was far better than I expected.