An admitted compulsive overachiever, I have spent the better part of my 32 years reaching for greatness. Not just “my greatness,” but ultimate greatness. For as long as I can remember I have pushed myself to be the absolute best at every endeavor I’ve dared take on. Whether school, work, sports, and later marriage and motherhood, I had to be the very best. There simply was no other option for me. I always had a well thought out, fool-proof plan in place and was confident that my “great expectations” would be met with no problems. Nothing could stop me.
For many years my compulsive planning proved succesful for me. I was a successful college student, graduating on the Dean’s List, enrolled in graduate school, and married and expecting my first child within a year, just as I had planned it.
Life had different expectations and plans for me though. Always sure I wanted to pursue my doctorate and become a college professor, the birth of my son changed all that for me. The second I layed eyes on him, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him in someone else’s care and so me, the über successful academic, became a stay-at-home-mom, and guess what? I loved it. Each day spent with my son was a gift I never knew I wanted. My soul had never been so full and for the first time I felt as if I was able to take a deep breath.
Soon enough though, life threw me another curve ball, this time in the form of divorce. I have to admit I was ready and had actually planned and anticipated the demise of my marriage, but it was still heartbreaking, especially since my son was just a baby, and I was still a stay-at-home-mom. For the first time in my life, I was lost. I had no idea how I was going to escape the mess of the divorce; no plan whatsoever, and I was terrified.
I’d fool no one in saying dark, tear and wine fueled nights didn’t fill the void for a short while after the divorce. But by the The Grace of God, I had my little guy to wake up to every morning. Without him, I don’t know how things would’ve turned out, and thankfully, I don’t ever have to know.
True to form I made a decision one day to just put one foot in front of the other. Completely on our own, it was up to me to support my child and myself and I was certainly capable. So, I hit the ground running. I returned to graduate school (which I had withdrawn from to be home with my infant child), got a full-time job, bought a new car, and found a perfect little apartment close to my wonderfully supportive family.
Things weren’t perfect, but they were certainly on the road to “recovery” so to speak. Divorce is like a death. There are stages of grief one must go through and I was no exception. For me this was exceptionally difficult as divorce certainly wasn’t part of my life plan, and I had to accept that there were things I simply didn’t and couldn’t have control over.
Fast forward a few years and my son is a thriving, smart, funny, and compassionate eight year old whom is truly the greatest achievement of my life. We have been Blessed with a wonderful man (my husband) who shows our son daily what it is to be a good, hardworking, loving husband and father; what it is to be a good man.
Some may say I never reached my “Great Expectations,” and for a while I would have agreed. Today though, the happiness and fullness I feel in my life assures me that I have not only reached my “Great Expectations,” but maybe, just maybe, even surpassed them.