Today is my anniversary to myself.

It’s a bit of a bittersweet day, a year ago I walked away from my marriage. It was long over due and the best decision for me and my daughter, however the day itself and its memory are awful.

It wasn’t a planned event, it was spur of the moment. Something happened, similar to what had been happening previously only this time something clicked, finally! I was done, I was over it and it was time to walk away, daughter and changing bag in tow and drove off into the sunset towards my new life.

It’s been a funny year. It’s been rocky, hard and a tough rollercoaster ride. Since leaving my husband I’ve also faced going back to work from maternity leave, adjusting to single life, adjusting to juggling work and being a good mum. I’ve had to learn to live off a single wage, I’ve had to learn how to parent a toddler and how to parent alone. I’ve learnt life lessons about friends, people and the things that matter most. I’ve learnt to be stronger, more assertive, confident and to stand up for myself and what I know is right. I’ve learnt that I can still have a successful career whilst being a good mum. I’ve learnt that no matter how lonely or hard times can get, my life is so much better now and I have my best friend Baby P at my side to make me smile and share my life with.

So much has happened this year, more than I can talk about in one blog post. Me and my girl have faced and overcome a lot. We’ve had so many good times and laughs as well as climbing some massive mountains. Best of all we’ve done it with honesty, integrity and a hell of a lot of determination. Most of all, I’ve started to get my spark back. I’ve started to gain that twinkle in my eye and silliness that I once lost. I’ve got that sense of me back that I didn’t realise I had lost.

It’s been quite a journey this past year and although embarking on it I feared how I would cope as a single mum and questioned if I’d ever find happiness and love again whilst fearing that I wouldn’t be able to do everything. I’ve managed it all and then some. I’ve built up and regained a brilliant social life, taken up new and old hobbies, reigniting my love for sewing, crafts, cooking and baking whilst dabbling in some cake decorating! I’ve been on dates and nights out, I’ve taken a leadership course and step up to a new job role as Curriculum Leader. I’ve learnt to garden and do DIY (who knew I could put up a shelf, repair blinds, edge grass and dig up trees roots) as well as sleep train a baby.

My friendships have grown stronger, I’ve realised what a great support network I have of people that know and love me. Which does also make me wish I’d reached out sooner and made them aware of what I was going through but then again hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? I’ve learnt who and what matters in life and in this journey have formed a new unconventional family through the friends me and little Miss P have. She has so many Aunties and Uncles (that are not real Aunts or Uncles, Peter Kay stylee) that she’s giving the Waltons a run for their money. This has been the crucial thing, the times when I thought leaving my marriage would have the biggest impact, people have stepped up and been there. We weren’t short of a guest list for her first birthday, I always had someone to join me for her visit to Santa, her nativity, to buy her first pair of shoes, to take her on an Easter egg hunt, to feed the ducks to learn to ride on a swing and to kick a football. People have wanted to share with me the moments that I feared I’d have to do alone and not be able to share with someone. It’s not a traditional family, but it’s our family and it’s full of love.

As I said before it’s not all been plain sailing but when is life? There’s always something ready to jump up and bite you on the arse when you least expect it but it’s how you handle and deal with it that counts and I’ve managed to. Also not everyone has been great, I’ve learnt who I can and can’t trust, who will and who won’t be there for me. Who has mine and P’s best interests at heart and who’s out for their own gain, who will gossip and lie, who will hurt us and be tactless but also who will offer both practical and emotional support, a cup of tea or glass of gin and a shoulder to cry on, good laugh or a telling straight when I need it. Essentially I’ve been able to pull out the weeds from amongst the flowers, not just in my garden but in my circle and unit.

So a year ago I fell out of love, walked away from a bad situation fearing that I wouldn’t cope, wouldn’t be happy or feel loved. And a year on I can reflect on the negative memories of this day and toast to doing better than coping, to feeling happy, safe and very very loved.

The best thing is, this is only the first year and the journey isn’t over yet. In the words of D:ream, things can only get better.

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