Sherman Oaks Mom

Striving for forward motion, despite life's setbacks.

My SUV was packed, the motor was running and Delicious D, my daughter, was strapped in her car seat. She was barely a year old. I stood in a state of disbelief as my soon-to-be ex-husband stood on our front lawn staring at me with tears in his eyes and our black lab, Reilly, sitting next to him.

We'd just started out, so there weren’t many assets to divy up. He took the dog and I got the kid. The pragmatic finality of my marriage hit me like a gravitational force from the earth, sun and moon as I said goodbye to my husband, my home and the life I was proud to share as a wife and new mommy.

Although nothing was going to pull me under, the moment was deep and it was clear I was being thrust into the middle of a bad Lifetime TV movie.

Yet, as I was leaving our home, my strong strides toward my car were the first steps to my new forever (whatever/wherever that may be). And as the life I was comfortable with grew more distant in my rear-view mirror, a myriad of emotions closed in. I felt deceived, hurt, angry, frustrated, guilty and uncertain—oddly enough, fear had no room!

My parents lived 300 miles north of Los Angeles. They offered us their home while I got back on my feet, financially.

Within a month of living with my folks, I found myself employed as a production manager for a successful television production company. Delicious D and I moved into our first two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.

The place came equipped with brand-new appliances such as a refrigerator, convection oven, microwave and a washer and dryer in our unit. The apartment complex was set atop acres of beautifully manicured green hills, and had a sparkling, Olympic-size pool and a spa with a full gym. It was a lovely, safe place we could call home, temporarily. 

All along, I knew that particular place 300 miles north of Los Angeles would never be my home, and certainly not the place I wanted to raise my daughter. My days were long but I was determined to get back to the city where I left my heart. In 10 months I was able to save a nice chunk of change, sublet our apartment and make a beeline back to Cali!

Over the next 5 1/2 years I continued to live in survivor mode. There wasn't much room for anything else. I worked even harder to provide for us because the cost of living is much higher here in Los Angeles. Overnight, my rent doubled, my car and health insurance premiums increased, not to mention the utility bills and the astronomical price of gas. 

Delicious D was growing up, and I had to pay for her extracurricular activities and after-school care. But more than that, I paid the highest price, because I was not able to spend enough quality time with her. Oh, how I coveted the role of a stay-at-home mom.

Be careful what you wish for…

The impact of being laid off over a year and a half ago, whether I manifested it or not, became deeper than any pocket I could imagine digging into. Yes, the time I spend with Delicious D is incomparable to any amount of money but at the same time I lost a bit of me, and now, quite possibly, our home.

Working from home is isolating, and while I was able to make ends meet by the skin of my teeth with freelance work, I was no longer proud of myself, and due to our weak economy the work stopped coming in as steadily. I also wasn’t using my brain in a way that fulfilled me. I became withdrawn, a bit depressed and I realized making real money helped me feel successful.

Recently my rent was increased (um, who the hell raises rent in this messed-up economy?), and I am now paying more in rent than most of my friends do for their mortgages. I am faced with having to move yet again, only this time without a full-time job or a savings account cushion.   

Enter the eighth year of divorce, and the first real feeling of fear. I am no longer standing in a bad Lifetime TV movie. I’ve become one.

Through it all, I’ve never considered myself a victim, and while I may never provide Delicious D with the house on the hill, she will surely learn that the value of perseverance is invaluable.

Maria Chester February 01, 2012 at 05:45 PM
As my Dad used to say Persevere, persevere, persevere. And then gave me this. See you soon. When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you're trudging seems all uphill When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit -- Rest if you must, but don't quit. Life is strange with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns, And many a fellow turns about When he might have won had he stuck it out. Don't give up though the pace seems slow -- You may succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a fair and faltering man, Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor's cup, And he learned too late when night came down, How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out -- The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar, So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit, -- It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit. -- Author Unknown --
Avery February 01, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Dear Dani: I myself was in a very similar situation, although I had 2 children and was abused physically and emotionally by my x-husband. I was a career woman pulling down a salary in the range of six figures, had a car payment of $500.00+ a month, etc., high rent with a lease option and thought I would purchase the home I was living in and bang, everything fell apart. I thought I would have to live in my car with the kids, but a friend told me about LA Family Housing and I thought, no way, not me, but I knew I had to do something and sure enough, I did. I contacted them and they took me in. Believe me, I never in a million years thought this could happen to me. So, Dani, there are resources out there and people who can help. You will have a whole new outlook on life once you allow yourself to accept the resources available.
nanci brown February 02, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Dani, When you write you transport me. I know one day all of this will make sense. For now we'll make lemonade. xo N
Dani Fishman Parker February 02, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Here here, Maria!
Dani Fishman Parker February 02, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Should we add Vodka, Nanci? Xxo


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