Reeling from the overwhelming changes and uncertainty that consumed me after my divorce, I reluctantly made the decision to relocate my little family to Utah. Our last two days in Kansas felt like a blurred frenzy of packing and impossible decisions. While I was indeed grateful for the help of friends and family, as the boys and I drove away, I felt stripped and exposed. To make matters worse was the realization that the whole thing had been caught on film (nothing is better than knowing that such a difficult and personal experience had been documented for all the world to see . . . just sayin).

It was late when we finally arrived at our new address. We stumbled to bed exhausted and slept hard. The next day I woke up to find that the reality of my life was still there. Towers of boxes waiting to be unpacked, the inevitable and torturous trips to Wal-Mart to stock the empty refrigerator, hours of phone calls to set-up utilities and services.

None of this should have felt so overwhelming (at that point I was literally an expert at moving), but this time was different. To me, coming back to Utah represented my failures. I felt broken and ashamed. There were so many important decisions that needed to be made and I knew that those decisions would affect my children. I felt frozen. Tears streamed down my face as I stared out the window into the blinding desert sunlight and whispered:

“What have I done?”

Nearly 3 years later, I stare out that same window and proclaim:

“Look at what I’ve done!”

For me and my boys, the last three years have been filled with hard work, sacrifice, success, and failure. Has it been difficult? You betcha. Have I made mistakes? Too many to count.

The towels aren’t perfectly stacked but our laundry is clean (most of the time). The lawn isn’t always green, but it gets mowed (eventually). We may have stumbled along (when I say “we”, I mean mostly “me”), but we stumbled together (here “we” means “we”) and I can say that these experiences have been valuable, for us individually and as a family. And while it is true, that divorce can leave deep, deep scars. . . together we can proclaim “Look at what we’ve done!”

When I’m feeling a bit testy, I remind myself of this experience because it has become such a lovely reminder to be kinder to myself. Has life gone according to my original master plan? Not hardly. Plans B-W didn’t turn the way I had hoped either, but each experience is not without purpose. So I will keep moving forward and be grateful for the gentle voice that reminds me to look at what I’ve done.