pixietastic: (rainbow legs)
I had my first daughter four months before my twentieth birthday, and two years later I had my second. Within a handful of months of the birth of my then baby I was staring at a stack of bills, I was unemployed, homeless, legally separated, I had no education and not much left in terms of friends or family having spent years in isolation, I struck out, I built us a life and I never looked back with even an ounce of regret.

I remember telling friends I didn't mind not having a life of my own, I didn't know what I was missing, I'd never been to a bar never really been drunk or partied or had a one night stand. I'd gone from living with my parents, to married with two kids in an isolated small town where I was rarely allowed outside never mind seeing friends or family, so the transition to single mom, working mom, full time mom, wasn't difficult. In fact it was liberating. I was free. I had my girls, and my life and no one could tell me what to do. And yet, largely I did nothing. I was always home, in bed, by 10pm, having tucked my girls into bed sometime after 7pm, 7 was my magic curfew, I was sure we'd all turn back into pumpkins, that my ex would KNOW we were out if we weren't home by 7pm, this curfew he'd set out for me was ingrained deep in my mind. I'd overdose on LiveJournal, read web comics, chat online, all of my friends lived in my computer anyway and I didn't stray from that much at all, at least not at first.

Life was quiet and yet so unbelievably busy, both of my kids were early risers, and terrible sleepers, I went about five years before I slept through the night after the birth of my eldest, there were days the lack of sleep left me so hopelessly depressed I didn't think it would ever get better. I did though, and while they've never been great sleepers, it's rare now that I'm left hopeless and exhausted more than every-so-often.

The thing that's always bothered me most when I tell these types of stories or I explain how at 28 I'm about to have a 9 year old, is the ever present comment from someone who did things differently than I did, "I don't know how you did it!", at one point I went off on an epic rant;

Was there another option? Did I miss the "reset" button, where I can go back in time and do it all differently? Was there an exit back on the Highway of Life that read "Ex-Husband is No Longer A Douche-Bucket, and All Of Your Problems Are Now Solved, turn here"?

Last I checked, I did it, one day at a time, one moment, at a time some days, clinging to those girls to keep ourselves afloat, not end up another statistic of "single welfare-mom with no education beats her kids, has 5 more, gets them taken away, has a substance abuse problem, goes no where, finds one abusive man after another".

No one ever stepped in and said to me "you know, you can just leave" I suspect because they all knew I wouldn't, I couldn't, that those weren't my values, that those babies meant (and still mean) everything to me, because when I was younger it just wasn't an option that would ever have occurred to me.

When I eventually got old enough to realize that being a decent human being was a Choice ( with a capital "C"; among many) it was the most terrifying moment of my life, to realize that as an adult, for the most part the only person I was truly accountable to was myself, that no one other than me was holding me hostage to my decisions good or bad, and that much like my ex-husband chose to do, the option had been there for me as well to just walk away.

This is 2/2 of my entries for week 8 lj idol exhibit B; choose your own adventure topics of 4, this pieces was written on the topic "When I Was Young".

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