In 2013 I separated from my husband. He left to move in with his mom while I stayed in the house we rented with our roommate — my ex’s best friend, at least at the time. I let Ex take the car because I was working from home and I wasn’t a spiteful bitch that needed to strip him of everything. I worked long hours, stressed over the pending divorce and money, lonely after going from being married to single overnight. Eric (the roommate and very close friend) was a great support system, but he eventually moved out when the lease was up. (We still stay in touch pretty often, although Ex never tried to rekindle their friendship after our relationship ended.)
Through it all, my mom was there for me, helping me with any paperwork and giving me the love and support only a mom could give. She had been divorced twice before meeting my father, so she knew a lot of how the system worked. She offered to come to the divorce proceeding with me in 2014, but she raised quite the independent person, and it was something I needed to do myself.
I was already dating my boyfriend when the divorce was final. He had his own pressing legal issues shortly after we met, so we both were in the throes of the justice system awaiting our fates, but we vowed to push through. Mom loved him from the start, although she didn’t meet him (we’ll call Chef since that’s what he is) until Christmas of 2014. Knowing the issues that surrounded us and the rough start we got off to, not to mention everything else in my life (still dealing with recurring issues from Ex) she would end almost every conversation with, ‘This too shall pass.’
I understand what it meant, but it didn’t make anything easier. I smiled and giggled and said, ‘Yeah, I know, Mom.’ When I started school in September 2014, living on my own at this point because my roommate after Eric had skipped out September 1st on me. I wasn’t ready to move in with Chef yet. I needed time to myself, time to think and grow. I attended cosmetology school from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, then worked from the time I came home until 11:30 p.m., sometimes later depending on how much work I had that night, and worked on the weekends as well. Legal transcription pays well, but only if you give up everything you enjoy doing and devote your life to it.
I scraped by, accepting financial help from family only in the most dire of circumstances, and refusing any from Chef since he was not living under my roof. Chef finally moved in on New Years Eve, 2014, and while he searched for a job in my area, I supported us the best I could. He had a little money from a 401K so he could pay his bills, but I covered the household bills.
Through all the days I was too tired to get out of bed at 7:00 because I worked until 3:00 a.m., through all the nights I came home dreading the next day already, through all the times I cried and wished it would end, and through all the times I carefully counted change to buy food, my mom would calmly say to me, ‘This too shall pass.’ (Usually followed by trying to give me her Wal-Mart credit card to buy food.)
She taught me to swallow my pride when it came to needing support– whether financial, emotional, whatever. She taught me to persevere when all hope seems lost. When I got a job at a chain salon in June 2015, before I had even graduated cosmetology school, she said, ‘You did all of this yourself. I’m so proud of you.’ But the stress continued, now working two jobs and still attending school. Chef had gotten a job far before this point– only a couple months after moving in– but it wasn’t enough. I continued to transcribe on my days off from the salon and on the weekends.
For my own sanity, I had to make a choice. Something had to give. I decided to reduce my hours in school to part-time. I only had a few hundred hours to go before I could graduate. I won’t lie– it felt like a failure to me. I felt like I was giving in instead of pushing myself harder. Then November came and I finally graduated. It had finally come to an end.
My mom said to me at some point after I graduated, ‘I told you it would pass.’ Never had an I-told-you-so been so welcome and true. And she would always add, ‘I’m so proud of you. You did it all on your own.’
You were right, Mom, as always. It did pass. And after it passed, more “problems” arose, more situations arose where I wanted to run and hide, but I didn’t. And you know what? It all passed. The worst nights, the worst days, the worst situations, they are all in the past. More will come, I can guarantee it, but they will always pass. Even the situations that seem to prolong for weeks, even years– divorce, the death of a loved one– they aren’t easy. In fact, they’re horrible, sometimes debilitating. But you learn to adjust. As humans, we survive strictly based off the fact that we adjust to our surroundings.
Now, when faced with a situation I don’t want to be in, whether it be something as simple and almost minuscule as a rude client or a long work schedule (coming up on a nine-day work stretch. Ugh.) or something more serious such as, you know, losing my mother, I hear her voice in my head. ‘This too shall pass.’ Yes, Mom. I know. And suddenly, I can get through anything.