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Dawn Damalas Meehan

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Dawn Damalas Meehan is a single mom living in Orlando with her six children, ages 17 to 6. She's the author of Because I Said So and You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth). When she's not blogging, she can be found playing chauffeur, getting buried under a mountain of laundry, or explaining to her kids why they can't have an indoor Slip 'N Slide or a pet squirrel.

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Almost Home

By Dawn Damalas Meehan |

I ran some errands with Austin today.  As we were driving around, I asked him the same question I’ve been asking him for the past nine months.  “Given the chance, would you want to move back to Chicago?”  Today, for the first time, he answered, “Nah, it’s fine here.”  And I believed him.

I worried about Austin and Savannah the most when we relocated.  Being in high school, I knew it would be a tough adjustment for them.  But when we first moved, Savannah jumped right in and made friends immediately.  You can plunk that girl down anywhere and she’ll adjust, make friends, and fit right in.  Austin has always been more introverted, unsure of himself, and slow to make friends.  However, this weekend, Austin met some kids at the movies.  He’s starting to settle in and think of Florida as home.

You can’t believe how good those words made me feel!  Austin was the last one of my kids to get acclimated here (not that the others don’t stuggle with homesickness now and then).  But now that he says, he’s fine here, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief.  I hadn’t noticed I’d been holding my breath for months, but suddenly, I exhaled and relaxed against the back of my driver’s seat.  Maybe it won’t be long until we’re saying Florida is home instead of things like, “I can’t wait until we go back home to visit,” referring to Chicagoland as home.

I started thinking.  I’ve been on my own with the kids now for nearly two-and-a-half years.  Two and a half years!  I’m doing it on my own.  Maybe not perfectly, but I’m doing it.  I know it sounds like I’m bragging.  I’m not.  It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions I feel.  I’ve been on pins and needles for so long, waiting for everything to fall apart; worrying that one day I’d screw up everything, or run out of money, or have a total mental breakdown.  Yet, at the same time, I seem to have developed a small sense of pride.  Well, it’s a bit of pride mixed in with an underlying fear that everything could be yanked away at any minute.  There’s a definite sense of accomplishment in there somewhere though.

I glanced over at Austin as I drove away from the store.  “I can’t believe we’ve been on our own for almost two-and-a-half years,” I commented.  “I can’t believe we’ve made it this long.”

“And you did it with six kids, Mom,” he affirmed, his voice laced something akin to pride.

Yeah, yeah, I have.  Smiling, I turned the corner and headed toward home.

*****Edited 3/19/2012*****

As I reread what I’d written last night, I realized I’d left out an important piece of information. When I wrote that I was doing it on my own, I meant without the help of a spouse. But I haven’t been entirely on my own. I’ve had the support of friends and family. And I’ve always had God by my side. Whenever things have looked bleak, He has lifted me up. When I would have an exceptionally bad day, suddenly I’d get a phone call or a card from a loved one that brightened my spirits. Whenever I’ve thought I was going to drown in financial obligations, out of nowhere I’d be offered a job that paid just what I needed to get by another month. I don’t think all these things simply happen. I believe they’re orchestrated by someone much greater than I.

I know those of you who have read my posts for any length of time, know this about me, but I wanted to be sure I put it out there. I’m sure I’d be back in Chicago, rocking in a fetal position while mumbling incoherently to myself if it weren’t for God.

I’m saving for a Tahitian vacation. I only have to sell 15,000 more books. Help? Because I Said So and You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth).

Connect with Dawn on Facebook because she’s far too lazy busy to update her blog every day!

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About Dawn Damalas Meehan

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Dawn Damalas Meehan

Dawn Damalas Meehan is a single mom living in Orlando with her six children, ages 17 to 6. She's the author of Because I Said So and You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth). Read bio and latest posts → Read Dawn's latest posts →

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24 thoughts on “Almost Home

  1. Korinthia Klein says:

    Welcome home. All of you.

  2. Julie Adams says:

    So happy for you! And I only know you through your blogs, BJT…So proud of you and your kids!!! I hope you love FloridaLand!

  3. Donna says:

    While Florida will become home, Chicago will always be home. My daughter moved from MD to TX 6+ years ago, and MD is still home, I made the same move last year, and while I am home in TX, MD is still home. So, I guess it’s ok to have two homes. The then home where you have lots of memories, and the now home where you are making new memories.

  4. Donna says:

    Another thing….when my daughters were in 11th and 8th grade, we moved. While the move was from Maryland to Pennsylvania, the two houses were actually only 20 minutes apart, but they went to new schools. The one going into 12th, didn’t care since she only needed 2 credits and her friends were not in school, but with the horse crowd and local barns. The one going from middle to high school anyway so we thought no problem, she makes friends fast, she’ll be fine. It was the worse move the X and I could have ever made for both of them.

  5. Laura says:

    You should definitely be proud! Absolutely be proud!

  6. Christie says:

    You brought tears to my eyes. Yes, you’ve done it, and you’re DOING it! And don’t forget that the best is yet to come!

  7. Donna in PA :) says:

    Be proud and go right ahead and BRAG (even though I don’t think you’re bragging)!! You’ve worked your butt off to get you and your family where you are today. If that’s not something to brag about, I don’t know what is!! :o )

  8. jennifer says:

    You should be proud. You’ve struggled & now you seem to be back on top. It’s funny …. As long as the kids are happy everything else just seems to fall right into place. Amazing isn’t it?

  9. Laura G says:

    Brag away, Dawn! You deserve it! It’samazing what you’ve done. I come to your blog for laughs, but also with inspiration. I’m so happy that you and the kids are finding your happiness in Florida!

  10. MIA says:

    You deserve to be happy and you’re not bragging you’re more than right! You did an amazing job and have some great kids you can be proud of, too!
    You’re an awesome family =)

  11. Ontario Girl says:

    You have every right to be proud! It’s been a rough journey, but here you are :-) And no one and nothing can take that away. From another single mom to you….KUDOS!!

  12. Kerri says:

    You can brag…. And you should brag! You have done an amazing job keeping a happy and secure environment for your kids. You can honestly shout “I don’t need a man!” … It’s fun… Try it!! You are an excellent role model for your kids. Be proud. Brag. It already fell apart, and you fixed it… all by yourself! Now it’s time to relax and enjoy what you have accomplished. :)

  13. Teresa says:

    This is AWESOME! What an absolutely wonderful feeling for both you and your kids. Settling in, meeting people, finding friends, and doing it alone, yet together, is such an accomplishment! Having a new place feel like home takes time and I’m so glad you all took that time. You’ll still have times where you long for “Chicago-home”, but I really think that the longer you are there in Florida, that longing will become less and less. What a struggle you’ve been through in the last 2 1/2 years, but we’re all so happy for you. Definitely love hearing the bragging! :)

  14. The Mommy says:

    You aren’t bragging, especially since it hasn’t always been sunshine and unicorn magic. There have been some really hard places for you that we have prayed you through and God has provided. That doesn’t mean YOU didn’t do it, it just means you had a bit of help. I’m proud of you! And when I think about it, I’ll think – geez, if she can do it with no help (aside from your kids) I can certainly manage whatever comes my way. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  15. Kristin says:

    It’s so wonderful to read your words that recognize your own accomplishments instead of beating yourself down for things that have gone wrong. You should look back at the past two years and be proud of yourself. You are doing it. You are all okay. And the fact that Austin recognizes the the enormity of your accomplishment by doing it with six kids…that’s the most delicious icing on the cake ever. Good for you and good for your family!

  16. Sheila says:

    I enjoy reading your blog so much. Thank you for opening your life up so the rest of us can get amusement and inspiration. I’m happy that you and the kids are doing well in Florida.

  17. laura says:

    That’s awesome! It’s not bragging, it’s setting an example for your children. The gift of hope {and prayer}. Thanks, laura@imnotatrophywife.com

  18. Diane P. says:

    I can relate (though I don’t have children). I moved from WI to Long Island, NY nearly 6 1/2 years ago, and I still refer to WI as home every now and then. It’s hard to acclimate to a new place and think of it as home. When I’m really sad, I make a list of the things I like about Long Island that aren’t in WI and it helps most of the time. (Thing that are better are nearly all food related such as bagels, pizza, seafood, but there are also awesome beaches, state parks, and free music concerts in the summer.)

  19. Dorothy says:

    Hubby lived in the same house for 30 years until we got married. My parents moved a lot-I remember 5 different schools/houses. Until recently, after 23 years of marriage, 18+ years in the same house, hubby referred to his parents house as home. Now he calls this home.

  20. Steff says:

    You know, I don’t think of it as bragging, or even as pride. I think of it as inspiration. You are amazing. You are not afraid to put it all (good, bad, and even the colon) out there for us to read and no matter what, you do it with your own sense of style and humor that always brings us back for more. We all love you because we see parts of ourselves in you and know that even when when others judge you, you would never judge us. You are real, you true to yourself, you are beautiful, and you are loved.

  21. Kila says:

    Proud of you :)

  22. Lindie says:

    I am so proud of all of you. I know, I have been there when I had to make it on my own, I didn’t think it was possible but I have done it, with much help from those that love me. You and my daughter will keep on, keeping on.

  23. Joy says:

    I think if you want to brag- you have earned the right to. I would brag, if I was as strong as you.

  24. Stacie says:

    Being new to being on my own, left w/ my kids I think of you ALL the time… a true inspiration:-)

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