Scars Remind Me That The Past Is Real
Tuesday I went into the office for a couple of hours while my mom watched Harper. It is frustrating to go in because as usual there is way more to do than can possibly be done in the amount of time given. We also did a welcome for our new secretary who started last week. She seems to be settling in. I just want someone who is emotionally stable, not drunk or hungover, has appropriate personal boundaries and can get along with others. There is a reason I left the mental health profession and I have enough spilling over into this job already. When I get talking about work issues I get excited and remember why I love it there most of the time. But being with Harper and looking at his chubby smiley face I really don't want to go back yet. I doubt I will feel differently in four weeks.
Having Harper has been completely different than having Keegan. I adored Keegan from first sight but the rest of those early times were extremely difficult. He was a colicky baby, not a good sleeper, I had a real struggle with breastfeeding, I had so many doubts about my abilities as a mother and my marriage was unraveling. I had been out of work for the year before and lost my sense of identity and self worth. It was the middle of winter and we lived way out from other people and I was so isolated. I did go to a mother's group each week and made other plans with some of them so I did get some contact. But I was drowning and didn't even know it. I would not say it was postpartum depression but my life was definitely miserable. I have said since that bringing a baby into your relationship highlights all of the weak points but can increase the strong ones. Unfortunately we had far more weak points. So instead of turning to each other and getting support we isolated even further. We literally lived two almost completely separate lives in the same house. Tom started looking for ways to escape. He thought the solution was to move somewhere new. But I knew that we would just take our problems with us and then I would also be without my support system here. He sent me links to houses in Colorado, Virginia and anywhere but here. I told him that I wasn't moving and that if he did I would treat as though he abandoned us and proceed accordingly. He didn't even respond. Nor did he respond to words like breakup or divorce. That is when you should know it is over. But I was not ready to just walk away from our vows and our history together. I proceeded to formulate five plans and carry them out over the course of the next ten months. Nothing worked. Because what we really needed was help and he said he was willing to do anything except go to counseling. You can't really love someone and then set limits on what you are willing to do for love. And one day I had just had enough.
I try not to compare then to now but I can not help it. Having another baby dragged everything back up. The first few nights after we got home from the hospital with Harper I dreamed about Tom. In each dream I was trying to get him to help me find a lost baby and he just brushed it off. I woke up mad at him. I don't want to be mad at him. Even though we were on good terms when he died I wish we had more time. I wish that there was still a possibility that we could have figured out what went wrong and he could have answered the many questions I still have. We apologized and forgave each other a year after we broke up. I know that he was happy for me that I was getting married again. I feel like he would have wished me well on the new baby. And sometimes I'm still mad that he left such a big mess that I am still cleaning up. But almost ten years ago he promised to love me until the end of his life. And he did.
There Are Moments
Three years ago this week I bought my townhouse and Keegan and I moved in. That means that Jeff has been in Keegan's life for three years. We had waited until we were dating for a while before involving the kids. Yesterday Keegan was outside cleaning up sand toys with my mom. Jeff and I were upstairs putting dinner on the table. Keegan asked my mom, "Where are my parents?" He has never referred to us like that before. It is always "my mom" or "my mom and Jeff." I feel very comforted that he thinks of us in that way. A unit that is here to love him, keep him safe and take care of him.
Tom's parents sent up a box for Easter. They do this most holidays. In fact they always did it even before we had Keegan. There are several really nice things about this now. It keeps the connection for Keegan who doesn't get to see them as often as he would like because they live in PA. In a way they get to celebrate with us. This time like Christmas and Valentine's they also included packages for Isabelle. It means so much to me that they recognize and embrace my family. And finally, they put in very little candy. This is a huge deal for them because it is their practice to spoil the ones they love with treats. I love that they respect my feelings about candy and junk food with Keegan.
There is a whole different relationship now with Tom gone. I know they always loved me and I will love them forever. But being the surviving parent of their grandchild is an entirely different dynamic than being the ex-wife. We can remember Tom together, laugh and cry. We can all help to raise Keegan and tell him stories of his daddy. I love the idea of a big inclusive family loving, protecting and teaching my son.
When Keegan and I arrived home Friday Jeff and Isabelle had been hard at work. We grilled out and had delicious shrimp skewer appetizers, corn on the cob, carrots and burgers. Chipotle for us and plain for the kids. Saturday we went down to the lake and the kids swam like champs with Jeff and my mom while I floated off shore. After lunch and a boat ride we dropped Keegan off at Tom's. I splurged and had a banana split for dinner while Jeff and Isabelle ate healthier. Once and a while you need to feed a craving. Today we met Jenny and clan for brunch because they were in the neighborhood (NH). Unfortunately the weather was not conducive to shopping afterwards. So Jeff and Isabelle headed back to Maine and I went home. I did stop by a model home to check on their building schedule and make sure it works for us. We're almost positive on what our plan is but we need to figure the best time to sell, buy and move. Then I headed back to the house to let the dogs out. Tom has Keegan at the beach in Maine until Wednesday and then he is going away so I am keeping the dogs for the next week. I can't say I was too terribly productive except for shredding three bags of old financial stuff. I am trying to get my current files organized. I am trying to get a lot of things organized in preparation for Jeff moving in. That momentous event happens in two weeks. It's kind of hard to believe because we have been looking forward to it for so long. And we know it will be an adjustment. Well and we know we are both kind of OCD about some stuff. There are things that have a reason for being so particular and things that don't. Can I help it if I have never mixed my laundry with another person's? It just weirds me out. And there are all kinds of systems that need to be integrated. I realized that I haven't just been running my life for the past year but I have been running the show for many years. Part of the good and bad about getting married when you are over thirty. Saturday night we had a long talk about our hopes and fears for being together. That was the entire evening spent saying what we'd been thinking or fearing or worrying about. I felt so much better afterwards. I will never be in another relationship where I eat my feelings and tolerate lack of communication and subtle breaking down of intimacy and closeness. Because that is how most loves die. Slowly and with a whimper.
A Year In The Life
This week it will have been a year since I moved. When I wrote about it.
"Honestly, most of the aspects of parenting have not changed for me. Except for not having Tom's company in the evenings before he went downstairs, and not being able to share new Keegan adventures in the moment with him, my responsibilities are the same. But I am proud of the fact that I am building a life for us. I am proud of the home that I am providing my son. I am proud that Tom and I don't argue in front of Keegan or use him as a pawn in own relationship negotiations. I want to walk out of this knowing that I was true to who I am as a person and not have regrets about behaviors that are not indicative of my character. That thought enables me to make choices about how I respond to stress and to help guide us through the divorce process. There is sadness, there is frustration, but there are bright shining moments too."
All of this is still true today. I will never again underestimate the good feeling of being able to pay all of my bills. To live completely alone while supporting and nuturing my child. To create a new routine and a new life for myself. To look back at even the bad moments with pride. I made plans last year and made decisions based on the idea that I would be alone for several years. That is ultimately not how it is going to happen. I am so fortunate to have had the right person at a time when I was truly okay as a person and ready to have a healthy relationship. So I will be not be traveling alone much longer. But I will always know that I did it and that knowledge gives me the strength to seek other opportunities professionally and personally. I hope this past year I kept my personal pledge of letting my friends and family know how important they are and how much I value their support. I have been amazed at how much that has allowed me to rise above. And in the past year I had to learn to not be so fiercely independent and to let others do for me because they truly wanted to. Tom and I continue to co-parent in a way that is beneficial to Keegan. We communicate in a respectful, no confrontational way and try to include the other in all aspects of Keegan's world as appropriate. I have been surprised at how we have grown to honor each other's time with Keegan. And I think our families are learning to accept that this divorce might be an okay thing. I am in better shape and able to keep up with Keegan. And in the midst of it all I have been able to challenge myself professionally and educationally too. What started as the hardest year of my life has ended as one of my best. There are still things I wish for. But I have to remember that some people are not in a place where they are ready to accept responsibility and acknowledge their mistakes. They may never be. It is truly awesome how love can inspire forgiveness.
My friend R's marriage continues to deteriorate rapidly. She is discovering all of these things she never knew about her husband and family. She spends her time questioning her reality and feeling the deepest pain. She's lost but she comes to work and she goes home and she takes care of her children. She is living. Her situation is now not at all like mine was.
My friend Lindsay is two months out of her relationship. She was also hit by a brick. She is caught between moving on and being ambushed by memories. I really like her analogy to a car crash.
I have thought about this a lot over the past year. How relationships can leave you with PTSD. I don't even mean they have to be bad relationships. But for many months, years afterwards I think you can be transported back by a memory. I am by no means saying that my marriage was a prisoner situation. I am completely responsible for who I was inside of it. But for the longest time I had to consciously shake the habits of being that person. I had to retrain myself on what my value was and what I wanted for myself. And when entering a new relationship Jeff and I constantly talked about what we brought in with us. We called each other on behaviors and pointed out that they were remnants of a time that doesn't exist any more. We made a promise to look at this relationship with fresh eyes and clean slates. We apologized when we slipped into old routines. We pledged to be bullshit free. But even months later I had to mentally restrain myself from touching Tom when I followed him up the stairs of his house. And I slipped a couple of times and called him pet names. And I had to stop buying things I knew he liked to eat and make plans that were on the path to the future we planned together. And it was strange and it was hard. But it was good. And there were moments where I soared because I felt so free and so much thrill about writing my own story again. Tom never kept me down. He always encouraged me in my educational and career pursuits. But I don't think we ever really matched each other. I did not feel like he respected or understood what makes me, well me. And I accepted this as the way life was supposed to be when you commit to loving someone. And I allowed myself to create a world that revolved around his moods and peculiar habits. And so did everyone else in my life that wanted to remain close to me. There is such freedom in not tip toeing. And next to so many people it was not bad. It wasn't as emotionally detrimental as some relationships and I left it relatively intact. But it was my own personal level of bad. My personal failure. My reward for being arrogant enough to believe I could love enough for both of us.
If you are getting over something be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself the slips and perceived backslides. Acknowledge them and ask yourself what it means. Maybe it means nothing. Let it go. Unlearn the bad habits that will drag you down. Forgive yourself for whatever extra sensory perception you think you should have had to avoid the relationship in the first place. It's all steps in a path. You'll move more quickly without dragging the other person's lifeless carcass along.
I spoke with my divorce attorney today but in her capacity as my friend. She congratulated me formally on our engagement. I asked if she thought I was crazy. She said that she guessed I had learned quite a bit the first time around and I wouldn't enter into something lightly. Then she asked me if I was calling her to do my pre-nup. Funny lawyers are so rare.
Last week when I did the career panel I met a fellow panelist who had an interesting idea. She said that in her life she has created her own board of directors. She has filled it with people who's opinions she respects and they help her make decisions in her professional and educational life. I love thinking about it that way. I remember when I was learning crisis management techniques that we helped people take an inventory of their life. I don't mean having it flash before you. I mean helping them go through and assess the available resources. Once they had them listed they could figure out to utilize them to get through the trauma. These resources were mostly people. They had varying responsibilities and the relationships could be familial, friends or even just aquaintances. The point was to not go it alone. The point was that people have more than they think they do at first glance. The point was to do the inventory before you were in too deep. And if you figured out that you were missing a resource you were proactive about getting one. The book I have often referred to here, "Mom's House, Dad's House" also talks about resource inventories.
I credit my support system with helping me through this past year. I have never needed them like this in our history. Each one gave me something different. For some it was a shoulder to cry on or a person to bounce decisions off of. For others it was more subtle and I bet they never knew they were helping me. Even though it wasn't a conscious action I feel like all of the years I supported them was an investment in when I needed to make a withdrawal from them. But I like the idea of having a group to informally give me input on other life events too. Not just the sad and messy ones. I have a few professional and educational mentors still. But I don't take advantage of that opportunity as I should. In a way blogging gives me another sounding board but usually after I have come to a decision. I want a board of directors too. I want a panel of people from different perspectives who I can call or write and just throw ideas out to. I do this to a certain extent now but with close friends or my parents. Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to include people who aren't as emotionally invested in our relationships. Someone who would focus on the business of Alisa. And make recommendations on the best course of action for the success of Alisa. And we could release a prospectus and stock options and an annual report. Wait I got carried away.
I guess what has made me think of this is because I made a major decision this month. I decided to apply for my supervisor's position. I was dead set against when he left three months ago. But since then I have changed my mind. I can't get advice from co-workers because they are either part of the interview team or they just assure me that I will do great. I would love to do a little more prep before I walk into that room next week. Trust me I am going to have a task in front of me to convince all of the parties that I am the best candidate. Not because I don't believe that I am but more so because it would be a big leap for me promotion wise and I have only been working in this sepcialty area for seventeen months. I feel good about my chances but it never hurts to be really prepared. I just want them to be impressed and confident in my abilities. I have run scenarios in my head and hopefully I can answer what they will throw at me. And in typical me fashion I am using my proven technique. I am buying a new outfit. Dressing up always makes me feel more confident. So add this to my pile of things that I am anxiously anticipating. Still no word from Harvard.
Head of Household
The whole tax thing worked out okay last night. In hindsight we probably could have done it ourselves like usual but it was good to have a non-involved third party for this year. He ended up claiming our old house and so we'll split the difference that makes for his return. The woman said she was surprised at how well we got along being divorced. I told her that we were a happily divorced couple. Afterwards Tom and I talked about the possibility of him needing to move if his company transfers him. They asked him if he would move and he said only if his ex-wife does. We all know I'm not going anywhere, especially down South (no offense but I am a New England girl now). So we'll figure it out if it comes to that. Otherwise Tom would really prefer to stay here and be involved in Keegan's life. I know that Tom would like to move away from here and I figured he would wait until Keegan is old enough to fly with just an escort. But Tom is really looking forward to being able to attend his sporting events, practices and any other activities Keegan gets into. We also talked about planning financially for his future. In addition to the 529 plans we'll also do savings plans so if he chooses not to go to school he'll still have money or he'll have money to support himself at school, take a trip or buy a car. It may seem strange to talk that far ahead but it's never too soon to start putting money away. He'll be out of school long before I retire and I'm already saving for that.
I put Keegan's potty out and I bought the same one for Tom's house. Keegan asks who it belongs to and gets upset when I tell him it is his. So I told him he doesn't have to use it until he wants to and to just let me know. He then insists on telling me it is Isabelle's potty. Definitely letting me know he is not ready yet. But he has a great example in her so hopefully that will inspire him at some point.
I am expecting four babies in April. Sending loving thoughts to my dear friend who is home on bedrest. We need to keep that sweet girl inside for a few more weeks still. We have cancelled her baby shower but hopefully we can still do something for her at home if she is up to it or we can wait until after she brings the baby home.
A Separate Peace
It has been one year today since Tom and I decided our marriage was over. Actually I decided I had enough and he agreed. It was a Sunday and I wanted to go out and shovel the front walkway. I asked him to watch Keegan. Almost the entire time I was out there I could hear him crying. I knew he was only crying because he was hungry and Tom didn't want to leave his man cave and get him a bottle. By the time I was finished he had brought him upstairs and was feeding him. I wasn't going to say anything but I was tired of biting my tongue.
"If I wanted to have him cry the whole time I would have left him alone." He responded with, "I don't need any comments from YOU."
I froze in the kitchen and thought despite everything I've put up with I'm not going to stick around while he tries to tear me down as a mother.
So I stopped halfway across the room and turned to look at him.
"Don't think that I am saying this out of anger. But I don't want to be married to you any more. I think we should get separated."
He finished giving Keegan his bottle and then put him in his crib for a nap. Then he went downstairs and I heard the garage door open and he drove away.
He eventually returned that night and we didn't say anything to each other for the next three days. I remember moving through the world in shock. Numbly going to work and taking care of Keegan.
On that Wednesday I started feeling something. I realized what it was. Relief. That is when I knew I had done the right thing. I could stop living my life on the edge. Stop waking up everyday and making two plans. One for life with him and one for life without. We talked that night and we started making a plan for dividing the physical parts of our marriage. It would be five more months before we sold the house and moved out on our own. It would be three and a half months after that before we were legally divorced.
I called him last night because there were things I wanted to say to him. We spoke for over an hour. And it was a good conversation. I got to say and hear things that I needed to. We agree our marriage was not a mistake. We agree that we are better off now. We agree that we don't want our divorce to be another horror story in a sea of bad divorces. We agree that our relationship now is a kind of friendship but it is important to maintain the appropriate boundaries. We agree that we'll always be bound by our history, our mutual affection, our son. We agree to keep working to make sure that we can communicate and do what is best for him.
It feels so good to know that my feelings for him are over. I look at him now in the context of what was. I look at him as a person who made a leap of faith in marriage with me. A person who cared about me enough to go through all of the infertility processes because we wanted a baby so badly. There are a thousand things I can tell you he fell short on. But he really came through on some of the most important ones. And now he is what I need him to be.
Uppers & Downers
Monday night Tom came over to bring me my birthday present from Keegan. He kept forgetting to send it in his backpack. It was something to help with making movies on my computer so we took it upstairs. It's weird having your ex in your bedroom but that is where my desk is. On the way down Keegan wanted to hold Tom's hand and then he reached out to hold mine. He looked thrilled to have both of us with him at the same time. My heart still hurts for that. But I am happy that we can be together and get along in front of him. When it comes to divorces I am lucky in that way. Our dynamic now is definitely different but I am very careful to not cross any lines. Sure he still says things that drive me crazy but I don't get drawn into it for Keegan's sake. Those little things just aren't important enough to sacrifice good parenting. But this is easier to do because I still trust him. Our breakup was not the result of dishonesty or deliberate cruelty. No one cheated or lied or violated the foundation of the marriage. In this regard I am luckier than most. I can forgive so much and move on. We'll never be friends in the traditional sense and really I don't think that is appropriate. But we share things we know the other one would like, both concerning Keegan and otherwise. And we can joke around with each other and commiserate on work stuff. We respect our private lives and the desire to have one. And we also understand that there are other people who are directly effected by this too. All the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who want to be in Keegan's life. I don't think that we are at the point where we can consider the future too far in advance and that's okay. We're working out the relationship under the new terms and still grappling with all of the parenting stuff we would face if we were still married. He's still him and I'm still me so I fully expect us to disagree and be pissed at each other. It is the way we conduct ourselves during these times that we can control.
The holiday plan is worked out and it wasn't too terribly stressful. It is Keegan's birthday in January that I am struggling with now. Last year for his first birthday we had separated but not all of the people in attendance knew that. This year I just don't know how feasible is to put everyone who loves him in the same room. Even though Tom and I would probably be fine, others would not. Maybe we should just do something separately, I don't know.
I am allowing myself to be unholiday spirit-like for two more days. Then all bets are off and I need to get cracking. I am being inspired by exchanging Christmas list emails and reading other people's blogs.
Currently I am dealing with the romantic intanglements version of "A Christmas Carol." Haunted by the ghosts of relationships past, present and future. When your ex starts dating it dredges up all kinds of questions that you never had closure on from before. When your current relationship reaches a certain point you have to decide how far you are willing to leap again. And when you look into the crystal ball you wonder whether you are ultimately doomed to end up alone again.
Geez I'm a bummer today. I don't mean it to sound all doom and gloom because it isn't. It's just that nothing is simple. Things don't begin and end at the same time, all clean and simple. You can be incredibly happy, and petrified, and incredibly sad all at once. I keep telling myself that. And I keep giving myself permission to be however I feel. It's a grieving process after all. You mourn everything that isn't for as long as you remember wanting it. That's the way it turned out for me with infertility. Every thing that was supposed to be was something I had to say goodbye to. Now I have Keegan and I don't even remember wanting those things as badly. I'm not sad or regretful about the repeated disappointments, the diagnosis, the IVF, the shots, the procedures, the awful wait for the test results and the entire pregnancy waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am hoping that this latest challenge in my life plays out the same way. The deepest hurt only reminded by the faintest scars.
Wait A Minute Mr. Postman
One more of those surprise hurts. I opened four birthday cards today. I cried. Three of them are from my former spouse's family. I cried because his aunt and uncle remembered. I cried because his parents think of me often and hope I am doing well. I cried because his sister and I remain friends through this and will always be sisters. I cried for all the things that were and will never be. Even when it's over, it's not over.
I turn 34 on Tuesday. I never mind birthdays, I don't have a problem with getting older. This is the first birthday single. I'm not sure how that is going to feel.
Let me give you some free co-parenting advice. No matter how friendly the conversations are, GET IT IN WRITING. The memory can be conveniently flimsy at times. Oh and if anyone wants to play the martyr. Let them.
I would like to be referred to as "previously married." You know, like calling it a "previously owned vehicle" instead of a "used car?" As a friend said, I still have good tread left on these tires and many miles to go. I don't come with a warranty but I am factory certified by family and friends.
Be Gone Wilma/Alpha
Drove up to the mountains in heavy rain and winds this morning. Drove back down in sleet, snow, heavy rain and winds. I am cozy and safe at the office right now on my conference call. But in a few hours I have to go back out into the storm to leave for my last business trip of the year. Snow is forecasted for the part of Vermont I'm driving to. Snow I can do, I hate the mix.
You know what drives me crazy? When people ask me who watches Keegan when I am away. It's not just since I got divorced, they used to ask when I was married too. Even in this day and age there is an assumption that men can't parent unsupervised. Yes, we had our difficulties with fair division of parenting duties when we lived in the same house. But Tom never had an issue when left alone with Keegan. Frankly he rose to the occasion. And I think the bonding that occurs when they are together has made all of the difference. I have friends who are married and their spouses aren't necessarily as parentally involved as they should be. Because they don't have to be. And that sucks because simply having a uterus doesn't automatically make you a good parent. Same as not having one doesn't mean you aren't nuturing and "motherly."
Society should stop treating every single dad as an automatic deadbeat and assuming that they are running away from their children as fast as their legs can carry them. And oh by the way, every single mom is not out on the prowl for a new daddy for their children. I happen to find responsible dads and guys in general who are great with kids uber-sexy. I felt that way before I became a mother. But really it is an insight in the qualities about a person I admire and less about potential parent material. You never know how anyone is really going to handle parenthood until they are right in the middle of it. I used to joke with Tom that I hadn't secretly attended some mom class at night when he wasn't aware and therefore I was just as equipped as he was to handle our newborn. Fortunately it turned out that my nurturing instinct that I had always had with my family, garden and clients also kicked in when I had Keegan. But noone can really anticipate the sheer personal sacrifices you have to make when a child comes into your life. Who can blame someone for being completely caught off guard? I questioned my mommy competence every minute of the first few months. Somewhere along the way we fell into a rhythm, Keegan and mommy, and started to figure out how we fit together. It is a dance that continues every day as he develops his personality and I learn more and more about this little person who rules my life. So I have found a way to forgive Tom for how bad it was in the beginning and for how he wasn't able to communicate what was inside his head and forced me to make the hard choice. Now he parents to his capacity and it is wonderful to see him come into his own with confidence and physically visible love for his son. At the end of the day, Keegan only has one mommy and one daddy. And all he wants is to be with each of them as much as possible.
Friday On My Mind
Dinner last night went fine. I'm not going to lie to you, it's weird. I guess it will be weird for some time. I was fine with his parents but things are still odd between us. Or maybe they aren't and they are just the same as when we were married but I thought they'd get better after the divorce. He still talks to me in the same tone and makes comments about Keegan implying that he likes to be with him over me. You know passive aggressive stuff that you can't point out without getting a confused look. But atleast I'm not tied to that any more. I don't have to tip toe around the mood swings and go home worrying about what is going to greet me. That kind of walking on the edge, never being able to let your guard down, that's what wears you out. But all in all it was worth it to have that time together with Keegan and them. After we got home Keegan went straight to bed. He had a tough night with sleeping but I stayed firm and didn't bring him into my room. No way we're regressing when we've made so much progress. Most nights with me he goes to bed without a peep and sleeps through the night.
How likely is it that I'll get any work done this morning knowing my MRI is this afternoon? I'm not nervous about what might turn up because I think my problem is stress related. I am not nervous about the procedure itself because I've been through enough of them with my mom (that is until I saw this);) But I truly wonder how long those 45 minutes will feel. I'm bringing a CD and will try to keep my eyes closed the whole time (tips from the pros). And actually after all of the things I endured getting pregnant, being pregnant and delivering, I'm pretty sure I could do it without drugs. But I'm going to take the sedative just to be sure. And Erika & Jay are going to pilot me back and forth.
Tonight Jeff and Isabelle stop by on their way to his parent's house for the weekend. So we'll have supper together and send them on their way. And tomorrow my friend Angie comes in for her annual pilgrimage to New Hampshire. This is her first visit during the Fall and we have the usual food oriented activities planned.
Tom's parents are up visiting so he had Keegan Monday night as well as the usual Wednesday night. Tonight Keegan and I are meeting them for dinner. I wanted to see them since I haven't since June, although we've talked on the phone a couple of times. I think we're all still working on how to realign our relationships after the divorce. I will always be the mother of their grandchild and I will always love them. So I don't see why we can't find a way to continue some of the closeness we had before. Plus they don't seem to harbor any resentment about the ending of the marriage (atleast nothing that is apparent to me). Anything that makes it easier for them to have a relationship with Keegan is a good thing.
I remain close with my SIL Barb and she will always be my sister. We have supported each other through so much and she has the ability to separate our friendship from any family entanglements. It makes me laugh because she was standoff-ish in the beginning of Tom and I dating. We have talked about how she found me to be high maintenance. I was a bit of a princess then. Suits, full makeup, matching accessories and it took me forever to get ready in the morning. I can't imagine being that way now. Frankly I think I look better now. I know I feel better.
Onward And Upward
Do you ever have those wrestling matches in your head on whether or not to respond to certain comments? Most of the time I decline to do so. But I do want to clarify some things to those of you I care about.
Each of the other parties in our divorces knew about our relationship from the start. We didn't have to answer to anyone but we felt it was the right thing to do. Besides we don't have anything to hide. Both of our marriages ended due to the choice of the other spouse. If you asked my former husband he would tell you that I have always conducted myself with integrity and honor.
I have read things on other people's websites where they have said nasty, vindictive things about myself and my friends. I have never responded to these writings or the lies contained or the lack of full disclosure on the part of the author. You know why? Because it is my choice on whether or not I read those blogs. Therefore I don't have any right to comment on what I read.
But I get that putting things on the internet means that they are open to the public and having a commenting feature means that I am open to comments. It's fine. I don't block anyone who isn't just completely out of line or offensive. If you don't wish me well then don't read. And I hope that you can respect my space and my right to have a personal life.
Deepens The Spirit
When I transferred to college in Louisiana I was fortunate to quickly make a great group of friends. Many antics insued during my time there but that's a story for another day. After graduating we all spread out pursuing various graduate degrees or professional interests. But over the past eleven years we have stayed in touch and on many occasions seen eachother even if it wasn't the whole group.
One of those friends took on an amazing challenge after graduating. She took custody of her sibling's two young children and committed to raising them as her own. Can you imagine doing that at the age of 22? I was nervous about having a child at the age of 33 and I didn't go into it knowing I'd be single. But she did it and she has provided a wonderful life for those kids all while sacrificing her own needs. Over the years I have often thought about her and what her daily struggles must be. But I never truly appreciated her until I became a mother myself. I never told her what an amazing woman she is and how proud I am to know her until today. She sent me an encouraging email about my divorce being over and said she understood what I meant about, "but I'm happy with the fact that I have been standing completely on my own for over three months, supporting myself financially and taking care of my son and home." Today those kids are 12 and 14. I can't even think that far ahead with Keegan, it blows my mind. But she did it and with little fanfare. I am lucky to include myself in her circle of friends.
PS She sent me this, which is an oldie but a goodie.
"After a While
After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't always mean security
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure that you really are strong and you actually have worth.
And you learn and you learn... with every good-bye you learn.
Veronica A. Shoffstall "
four hours of child impact seminar
thousands of dollars
one court appearance at 1pm today
"I guess that's everything
I think you got it all
I guess that's everything
There's no more tears to fall
There's only moving on
The good and bad that brings
I guess that's everything
Before The Dawn
Remember that rug I mentioned? Well there have been some tugs on it but I standing firm. You know what is the most surprising thing about going through my divorce?
I still believe in the concept of marriage. I am all about the partnership, the monogamy and the lifetime commitment. So I'm going to pass on my membership card to the bitter divorced club. I still don't know how you stand up again and make a promise to someone after everything you've been through. But I have hope. I figure when the right person comes along this time I'll be wiser and it will no longer feel so scary.
"And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love's open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?
I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore"
I think I have mentioned it here before. A friend told me to not be surprised about all the unexpected hurts which would keep popping up. So last night I had them on the phone with Tom. He was volunteering details about his social life. I never ask him because he is entitled to a private life and it's none of my business. But he talked about all the plans and I was happy for him. I reminded him how he could have done things when were married too. He knows. But I thought about how they are getting to see the best of him. How this is what it was like in the beginning. So fun and easy. But life is about settling down and we didn't survive that part. Lucky them who get that side of him now.
And he asked to talk to Keegan on the phone. They chatted back and forth, Keegan saying "hello" repeatedly or "dada." And I was overwhelmed with the knowledge of how much Tom loves him. How now Keegan gets a great dad. Why couldn't we have had that in our marriage?
But I am trying to shake the funk. It's not a useful exercise to dwell on the "whatifs" and "could have beens." I've been through it a million times in my head. I replayed the whole thing. There was no other choice. And the real point is that now seven months after separating I am happy 80% of the time. That is lightyears from where I was last year. My dad said to me Monday in the car, "You were just so strong together." I replied, "I am still strong."
Believe In Your Family
When you are dealing with a tough situation do you ever question how you are handling it? I have been going through this whole divorce and feeling pretty good about how I have been dealing with it. But it is always nice to get confirmation and a different perspective. I have found this with the book "Mom's House, Dad's House".
I knew I would like it when the first chapter introduced the idea of two homes, two families of equal importance.
"The Family Bill of Rights"
"Each child has the right to have two homes where he or she is cherished and given the opportunity to develop normally.
Each child has the right to a meaningful, nuturing relationship with each parent.
Each parent and child has the right to call themselves a family regardless of how the children's time is divided.
Each parent has the responsibility and right to contribute to the raising of his or her child.
Each child has the right to have competent parents and to be free from hearing, observing, or being part of their parents' arguments or problems with one another.
Each parent has the right to his or her own private life and territory and to raise the children without reasonable interference from the other parent."