Over the past month my inbox has been groaning under a torrent of messages, from the caring and supportive to the damning and judgemental, with every shade in between. The comments box is only the tip of the iceberg. I have read more well-intentioned advice than I know what to do with.
Everybody sees a situation like mine in a different light, depending on what life has thrown at them; what kind of baggage they have picked up on the way. Sometimes the subject makes people distinctly uncomfortable: one friend I confided in seemed to find it impossible to talk about the breakdown of my relationship with Mr Frog without casting a slightly anxious eye over his own situation, almost squirming in his seat.
When people give me an insight into their own, similar, experiences, I have to tell myself to bear in mind that what worked for someone else, while it often makes interesting reading, can never be wholly relevant to what is happening in my life. Every situation is unique.
I’m not complaining. After all, when someone takes the time to type a long email to a person they have never met, it shows that they care enough to volunteer a point of view, write some kind words, or share their own, sometimes painful, experiences. I am very grateful for this, but endeavour all the same to take whatever is offered with a pinch of salt.
There are those who believe I should have “worked harder” to save my relationship with Mr Frog. Those who caution me against throwing myself headlong into a new relationship so soon, and advocate some time alone first, to adjust to the new status quo. To help Tadpole adjust. Those who are pessimistic, predicting that once the first flush of infatuation wears off, I will realise that I have made a terrible mistake. Those who advise me to keep Tadpole separate from the new adventure I am embarking on, for months, or even years. Those who feel the need to admonish me for having even contemplated leaving Tadpole’s father in the first place to selfishly pursue my own happiness. How dare I put myself first? What kind of a mother am I?
I reserve the right to put my hands over my ears like a child and chant loudly so that I can’t hear any of these words. I reserve the right to listen to my heart, and follow its lead, wherever it may take me.
Am I being selfish? Self-centred? Probably. I feel sure that I am doing what is best for everyone involved, but then I would, wouldn’t I? I wonder whether anyone can ever really be objective about their own motivations? Don’t we all feel tempted to tweak reality to fit in with our long term goals? To persuade ourselves that what we are doing is ultimately for the best?
All I know is this: I love, and I am loved. More deeply, on more levels, than I ever believed possible. I don’t really subscribe to notions like fate, or divine intervention, but I do marvel every day at the fact that I ever crossed paths with this person. I’ve found something, someone I didn’t even know I was waiting for, until now. I want to surrender myself to this feeling, to him, completely.
So don’t ask me to wait. Or take a break, and revisit this a few months down the line. It’s simply not an option for me. For us. I’m no fool, and I will force myself to tread carefully for the sake of my daughter’s well being. She is, and always will be, at the centre of my universe. Mr Frog will remain an important figure in my life too, both for Tadpole’s sake, and because I value him as a friend. But while I’m waiting, impatiently, for the next phase of my life to begin, taking small, measured steps towards it, I reserve the right to hug myself gleefully every time I think of the gorgeous things that my future holds. To laugh to myself in the metro. To smile at my monitor when I receive mail.
No dark cloud can leave a shadow on this.