Keeping It Real – a new normal

Hey guys!  Grab a cup of coffee and a comfy spot to read, you may have noticed that it’s been super quiet around the blog. Here’s why…

This past year I have been navigating the challenging path of separation and divorce.  If you are like me and usually try to avoid thinking about this topic, feel free to skip this post and come back in the fall.  I have lots of crafts and recipes that I will be sharing soon, promise.  But I hope that by sharing my story I can educate and empower others who may be in a situation similar to mine.

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In August of last year, I was on top of the world.  We had just wrapped up an epic summer of family camping, over 35 nights in the great outdoors!  I had accepted a full time posting as a CEA (Certified Education Assistant) at the boys school and even took on the role of PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) president.  Both of these things were a dream come true!  I had the freezer meals made, the family schedule colour-coordinated and was ready to hit the school year running.

A few weeks into the year one of my little guys (in Grade Two) began struggling in class.  By the end of September he was only allowed to attend school one hour per day.  During the month of October I juggled work and intensely advocating for support for him.  Countless meetings, phone calls and appointments later we, as a family, decided that I would quit my job as a CEA to home school him.

My last day of work was at the end of October, I was torn because I dearly loved my job but knew that this was the best option for my son.  Two weeks later, my husband left.  There are, obviously, many details that I am not at a liberty to share.  In the matter of a few weeks I went from feeling on top of the world to absolutely devastated, crushed and mostly… shocked.  In the following months my life played out like a sad country song.  Our dog passed away, I lost my job, my husband left, my truck broke down, my dad had a heart attack (he’s okay, thank God), my washer stopped working, my basement flooded, my BBQ lit on fire… you get the picture.

I remember the first snowfall and coming to the realization that I had to shovel my eight car driveway or there was no way that the kids were getting to school.  I cried the entire time.  With my glasses fogged and streaked with tears, I carved two pathways for my truck tires to follow.  I returned from dropping the kids off at school with a jerry can full of gasoline and taught myself how to use the snowblower by following a video on You Tube.  After that, snow removal became empowering.

The blog and you, my readers, have been a God send!  One tiny Pin of my Learn to Crochet eBook flourished and added to my blog revenue.  This allowed me to purchase Christmas presents for the kids last year.  In the fall I had switched blog advertising agencies to AdThrive and they have been kicking butt ever since.  This income has been a huge contributing factor to my ability to financially support my little family.

As a single parent I have continued to advocate for my little guy and we have wrapped up our home school year.  Homeschool was not carried out the way that I had hoped it would be.  Most of the year I felt like I was failing my child as his teacher.  My mind was often preoccupied by one crisis or another rather than making his year fun and fulfilling.  He was required to sit in waiting rooms as I met with lawyers, bankers and counsellors.  Thankfully, we made carrying his iPad and noise cancelling headphones part of his routine.  During this time my son was assessed by IHCAN (Interior Health Childrens Assessment Network) and clinically diagnosed with Autism, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Anxiety.  What this means is that my spirited, creative, awesome little dude can now access a wide variety of supports and programs through Autism funding.  Having worked with children who have Autism my entire life, this diagnosis came as no surprise and has allowed those who work with my son to better understand his complex behaviour.  My foster daughter aged out of care as well this year.  I am proud to say that she has carried on into adulthood as part of my little family.  Advocating for her rights and supporting her special needs has also been a challenging transition.

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The past year has felt more like an eternity as we find our new normal.  I have relied on my inner strength, faith in God and the fellowship of close friends and family to move forward in a positive way.  As a single parent I have been navigating the complexities of home schooling, a separation and divorce and advocating for my children with special needs all while financially supporting us on my own.

Things that have helped:

  • Always putting my children’s safety and well being above all else.
  • Having multiple sources of income and the potential for more work (I have four jobs, the blog is just one of them).
  • Talking to a few close friends and family to express my feelings and concerns (I also go to counselling and the kids went to Divorce Care at our church, they loved it!)
  • Asking for and using respite, relief and/or babysitters so that I could take care of me.
  • Gaining knowledge about my rights and the rights of my children.  Knowledge is power and can provide peace of mind.  I have employed the services of a lawyer, a mediator and spoken with friends who had gone through similar situations.

If you know me at all then you know that I am a very strong individual who does not rely on any one person or any one thing to make me happy… I just, AM.  I am resilient and incredibly blessed.  Through this entire journey I have been determined to live with intention, act with respect and always, ALWAYS, have what is in the best interest of my boys be my first priority.  My heart is filled with compassion and empathy.  I can only imagine what it must be like to live a life filled with anger, bitterness and entitlement.  I will not carry those burdens.  I have embraced forgiveness, wallowed in sadness and walked this path with a determination to learn, grow, share, love and laugh.  I look forward to the future, count my blessings daily and am excited for what God has in store for me and my little family.  It will be great and it will be good.

I am one of the first (and hopefully only) single people in my close network of friends.  So there has been a sharp learning curve on how this all plays out as I continue to work on coming to a resolution to my situation.  If you have any advise or words of wisdom to share I would love to hear them!  Thank you for reading.

#spreadlove #seektruth #beblessed

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7 Comments

  1. Kathry n says

    Just read your blog Heather. I am sending you love hugs and encouragement. I can honestly empathize with your feelings as so many of your experiences have mirrored mine. You will get through this, you will grow and become wiser, stronger for this. However, your greatest strength will be tested when you ask for help, when you find time to look after yourself, when you find that quiet place to just…breathe! I could not have done any of my journey without my faith, leaning on my God, and my firm foundation with Jesus Christ. He is my rock and salvation…nothing has given me power and the peace that passes all understanding as my faith. That alone has been consistent when everything else has failed me. Sometimes too, you have to fake it to make it and smile through the tears…but you will, luv, you will. I continue to keep you in my prayers. Hugs Kat

  2. Jodi Glau says

    Keep up the good work. You are showing that you ARE a force to be reckoned with. Show your children what a strong woman is like and that that is who they want in their life and in their corner.

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