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Updated: Jul 19, 2018

By: Monica Lynn

Sometimes life takes a sharp turn and you’re left scrambling to pick up the pieces.

In 2016, after several years of separation, I was faced with my marriage ending and had to figure out what the “new normal” would be like for me and my two children.  

Although the separation was overall amicable, I was devastated, and worried about my kids.  My son was certainly impacted but my daughter Mia took things the hardest.  On top of what was already going on we moved to a new place and she left the school she’d attended from kindergarten through 4th grade.  It was so much to pile on at once.  She was once a happy, giggling child....the way I thought a child should be.  But during this period I only saw occasional glimpses of that girl; rare bright spots in the midst of alternating states of sadness and anger.

Nights were the worst.  Sleep was elusive.  Tears and tough conversations were the norm; which led to cranky, rest-deprived mornings.

I definitely have overachiever tendencies, so feeling like I‘d failed at what I considered to be my most important roles in life (wife and mother) was both humbling and horrifying.  

Over time with patience, therapy, prayer, and a supportive village, things did stabilize a bit....but my guilt still lingered.  My super happy girl had to grow up faster than I wanted her to, and I felt bad about the role I played in the turmoil she’d been through.

Throughout all of this Mia still maintained her straight A’s in school, made new friends and remained obedient and respectful even though she was hurting.  I was so proud of her and wanted to make sure she knew.

We’d already had some memorable mother-daughter adventures but I felt like I had to go BIG to celebrate the progress she’d made and how well she’d handled a bunch of challenges that weren’t remotely her fault.

Mia inherited my love for musicals and we’d had the Hamilton soundtrack on heavy rotation in my car for over a year.  I bit the bullet and bought tickets to the show in Chicago (because the New York tickets were even pricier and I wanted to take Mia somewhere she hadn’t been before.)  

Even though I was planning on staying at a hotel, I contacted family in the Chicago suburbs just to let them know we were coming and ended up accepting their offer to stay with them.  Best decision ever.  My aunt and uncle spoiled us the entire time.  We shopped, we had deep dish pizza, we LOVED the show, and Mia got to have playtime with her dog-cousin (I still haven’t consented to her repeated requests for a dog).  She was practically floating throughout the whole trip.  Now, over a year later, she still lights up when we reminisce about it.

Did the trip require a good deal of planning and sacrifice? Yes.  Did I spend more money than made sense for my finances?  Yes. Did it strengthen my bond with my daughter, and create a lifelong memory which made it worth every penny? Also YES.

Are there any Moms that is dealing with this or has dealt with this? How did you find the balance?

Thanks for reading and sharing your stories with us,


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