After fifteen years, my relationship with my daughter's father has ended. It's true what they say: You discover who really loves you when the chips are down. My daughter and I have been living with friends for weeks, borrowing cars, and eating out of other's fridges. It hasn't been the easiest of times, yet I've felt more free than I have in years. Lighter.
Rhiannon loves her dad; she misses him. That said, she does not miss the gloom that was our family atmosphere for as long as she can remember. Yesterday, in the car, she said, "We're just happier now, huh?" Indeed. The time she spends with her father, however brief and infrequent, is quality time. He takes her fun places. They interact. It's good. She deserves that. They get to make amazing new memories together. I get to do that with her as well.
I signed the lease on a little house Friday. The backyard is amazing. Rhiannon eats plums right from the tree and grape tomatoes from a raised garden bed. The grapes are tart - she says she'll wait a bit longer for those. She reads and draws while sitting on a tree stump. We're painting her room a pale pink called Opal. We haven't moved in furniture, but already my favorite people have spent time in its rooms. It's a home. Our home.