Living and Loving Through It All—by Jamie Levine


It’s been a busy week of birthday activity; Jayda turned four on Wednesday, and the outdoor party we had slated for the Sunday before her birthday was moved to the Sunday afterwards because of impending rain. In the midst of all our party-planning and celebrating, I also had finals to take, and, of course, my recent break up with Library Guy continued to cloud my thoughts. After seven months together, he’s imprinted on my brain, and I can’t avoid some constant reminders of him.

On Tuesday night, I baked a batch of cupcakes to bring into Jayda’s class on her birthday, and there were leftovers. So, when Jayda saw them on Wednesday, she advised me, “Give one to Library Guy.” I responded, “You know he’s not my boyfriend anymore.” And she said “I know that. He must be sad he’s not your boyfriend. Cupcakes always make me happy!” I couldn’t help thinking, if only it were that easy…I’d give him a dozen, and eat a dozen, myself. Instead, however, I decided to let Jayda’s teachers take care of the leftover cupcakes, and went home with a smile on my face.

I’ve never had a break up like this one—on so many levels. I’ve never loved a guy like I loved Library Guy; I’ve never had a relationship end for the reasons this one did—and with as much mutual regret and emotion; and, most importantly, I’ve never experienced heartache with a child by my side. In some ways it’s harder, because I don’t want Jayda to know the pain I’m going through, or see me feeling sad, but in most ways, she makes things easier for me. Having a daughter like her to love makes it impossible for me to feel empty inside. She also shows me that there’s nothing about loving people the way I do that’s foolish…and that I shouldn’t worry about what other people think.

On Jayda’s birthday, I took her out for frozen yogurt after school, and when her favorite Katy Perry song came on the radio, she grabbed my hand and said, “Mommy, let’s dance.” Without hesitation, I whirled her around the yogurt store, weaving in and out of customers, gyrating my hips along with hers. When the song was over, we returned to our table and happily finished our treats. And the next day, at the library, when Jayda peered down the long hallway to the circulation desk and said, “I’ll race you there, Mommy,” despite the librarian’s disapproving stare, I enthusiastically ran beside my daughter as she bolted across the library—and even rewarded her “win” with a hug.

No longer having the man I love in my life makes me extremely sad sometimes…but it doesn’t stop me from living. Jayda makes certain of that. On the other hand, I do think having a good man in my life helps me love Jayda even better. Jayda’s my child—not my partner—and she can’t fill every void. Being with Library Guy allowed me to reclaim my existence as a woman, and not just a Mommy, and I know I need to continue to embrace both roles if I want to be a good role-model for my daughter. But I’m just not ready to move on. So, in the meantime, I’m going to try to live and laugh with Jayda as much as I can. Celebrating her birthday means celebrating another year together, and if the first four are any indication of it, I’m confident there are plenty of good times ahead.