Everything That Matters
AMERICAN CRUCIBLE, Part 7
As told by Arpine Babloyan
Photography & Editing by Ashia Ray
Last year, we finally got to the point where we actually went away on a vacation for the first time since the divorce.
I am grateful that I was able to keep what I was afraid to lose – whether it’s the house, or my daughter, or being able to work, all of those things, they stayed.
I’m happy to have a roof over my head – we have enjoyed it and are thankful for it. I have a good job I like working – I don’t have to have day job and three night jobs anymore. I’m able to come home and just enjoy and spend time with my daughter – or go out and spend time with my friends.
I have a whole new feeling about an activity that costs money. It has a lot more meaning now. If I buy something that is expensive, I remember seven years ago, how I never though I’d be here, buying these things and not worrying about anything.
I mentioned getting my nails done – that’s a very, very trivial thing, but I loved doing that before the divorce – that was my time away from everything. When I was getting out of debt, I stopped – that’s a very small thing.
The bigger one – relationships, were probably the biggest thing I had to give up. I was single for about five years after the divorce and I knew that if I dated someone, that means attention away from my daughter, or from the second job or whatever I needed to do – and I couldn’t have that.
I had to focus on her, she needed my time, and I didn’t feel like it was worth going on a date or spending time trying to impress someone I don’t even know and then dealing with all of that. I wasn’t ready, and so that was something I intentionally did not do – for a while.
Knowing that I’ve moved a mountain – and that’s really how it feels – I am completely unfazed with anything. I don’t allow some of the minor things to prevent me from enjoying the little moments.
Sometimes we go out together with my boyfriend – I am working hard on their bonding experience. It is hard! That Florida vacation I mentioned – I went with Bianca and my boyfriend and…my boyfriend and I got into a fight.
I wasn’t going to let anything spoil that vacation. So whatever happens, I’m not going to get fixated on it, I’m just going to enjoy that positive moment.
There are times when it’s so easy to get focused on the negative. Focusing on the positive is what helps me now. Getting through little things that are negative, it helps me because I have a lot of positive things and I can easily shift my focus towards those things now.
When you understand what matters – sometimes it’s your energy that’s more important.
A couple years post-divorce, still living paycheck to paycheck, and I had to clear my driveway with the leaf blower. It took a whole day and I was so miserable. I was so bad at it, and it took me an hour to just start the thing.
I realized this is something a landscaper could do in an hour. I spent my whole day and I’m so unhappy with this task that I said ‘I’m not doing that anymore. I could spend that whole day working on that second job or freelancing or whatever, and I would pay for that landscaper.’
As a child, I didn’t have mother/daughter time, I was always trying to go with friends and my mom was working, or doing chores – so I always think it’s important to spend time together when we can, even if there is house work waiting. I am busy enough now that if I have two hours in the evening, I would rather spend that time with my daughter than spend it cleaning. So my house might not be that spotless, or I might someday get someone to help me.
I’m realizing that I just can’t do it all – otherwise all I will be doing is working and cleaning. The time I spend with my family is more important.
WHEAT WE REMEMBER
I would love for Bianca to remember that I can be a fun and silly person, and not always a mom who works, does chores or asks her to do chores. I want her to know that I really enjoy spending time with her, listening to her stories about her friends, school, and everything that matters to her, matters to me as well.
I want her to remember that throughout her childhood she had my support in everything she was doing. That she had a busy childhood with activities, dancing, sports and other things she liked to do, and that she had her biggest supporters by her side.
When I look at these pictures with my future grandchildren, I will tell them how much I loved my daughter, and how she was – and is – the most important person in my life. How we made silly faces, voices or talked with silly accents. How nobody was capable of making me laugh the way she was. And even when it didn’t seem so, all I did was for her health, happiness, and safety. I may tell them how we fought, and after we did, how we always came back because our love for each other always won.
I also want her to remember that we were able to find joy in little things and that where there is love, there is happiness.
…Read more in Part 8: Moving Forward
This session is from the Invisible Obstacles Series. Families in the Invisible Obstacles series provide a glimpse into daily life while navigating adversity. Names and locations of minors may have been changed to protect privacy. Permission & quotes attributed to Arpine B. unless otherwise specified.
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