Over and over again, I found myself saying, “I am really lucky” and “We are so blessed” as people congratulated us at our wedding. Yes, it’s true — I am blessed beyond measure to have a healthy family, a partner who is committed to me and my daughter, and the joy of sharing all of that with those we love. I’m blessed to have a great job and a great home.

However, as I reflect on everything that brought me to this point, I find myself increasingly wanting to say, “Thank you, I’m pretty proud of what I have done, here”.

The truth is, I took big leaps of faith and did some hard work to get myself to this place. It’s interesting that many people were  quick to wonder “what went wrong?” when it all fell apart but somehow failed to acknowledge “what we did right” when it was a resounding success.

I would have never met my husband if I would have never become a teacher. Teaching has fulfilled me in ways that I did not think possible — but no one handed me that career. I felt a calling — and I followed it.

I followed it to a job that had me starting lateral entry, after the school year had begun, at a Title 1 school. I followed it to a post graduate program that began six months into that new job, earning a degree while working a new (terrifying) job and raising a toddler, largely on my own.

I would have never been in the position to marry my husband if I hadn’t left a bad marriage. I did the painful work of looking at what my life had become and deciding it wasn’t the best thing for me. I fostered the kind of co-parenting relationship I wanted because I knew it was important — but it certainly wasn’t easy.

I put in the time, the tears, and the work on myself. I read the books, watched the TED talks, journaled and hashed it out with trusted confidants until I reached a place where I could love and be loved again.

I recognize that some things are cosmic — seeing the job posting, making the choice to be at the right time at the right place — and I am grateful for whatever divine intervention has helped me along the way. However, the Instagram snapshot of my life sometimes seems to devalue the hard work that got me here.

No one “wakes up like this.” Anyone who achieves any measure of success does so with a clear intention and by taking the next steps to get there.

I take this mentality into every aspect of my life (okay, every aspect but working out). I want a certain result and so I plot a course. I try to be intentional in my parenting, my relationship, my friendships. It certainly doesn’t mean that I always get it right but I have found that the majority of my past mistakes were largely due to just sitting back and letting life happen to me.

When I decided to work hard at who I wanted to be, I saw results. What a blessing.

Photo Credit: Captured by Collier

This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.

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