Do You Regret..the Divorce?

I have asked my close friend this very question on more than one occasion. Do you regret the divorce? Her answer – yes. She would have stayed married if she had known how things would have turned out when she got a divorce. Her ex-husband was extremely hurt by the divorce. The hurt morphed into anger and the anger has been fueled by his current girlfriend. Who is suffering? The three innocent children caught in between. So had she had known, she would have stayed to avoid the hurt caused to her children on a consistent basis. But no one can predict the future. Even a well thought out divorce can stray from the initial intentions. Nothing is ever easy.

Asking her this question, made me think about myself. Do I regret the divorce? I don’t. I am sad. And there are still moments of grief for what was lost. Sometimes the sadness can even present as regret. But as the days unfolded during our separation and ultimate divorce, the reasons why it was for the best slowly rose to the surface. Initially, I felt guilty, feeling unfulfilled in a way which made me feel awful. What I didn’t understand then was why. Why did I feel this way? I was very much on the surface then, not digging or discovering how I got to that point. Yet, there was so much.

So no, I don’t regret the divorce.

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13 Years Ago

It was just a short 13 years ago I was washing the kitchen floor, my belly uncomfortably big as it stretched to hold you, keeping you safe and warm and nestled. The phone rang. It was the doctor. “How do you feel about having the baby tomorrow morning?” You were a scheduled C-Section planned for October 10th. It would only be two days sooner, but it instantly became an overwhelming thought “No, I am not ready.” Having two days to finish cleaning, preparing mentally and physically seemed like a necessity. But, in the end the pros outweighed the cons. A few phone calls later, making plans for someone to watch your big brother, and the decision was made. I would be the first scheduled C-Section of the day. October 8, 2004.

I will admit when I learned I was pregnant for a second time, I was not overjoyed. I was scared. I felt guilty. Feeling as though I did not perfect being a mom to your big brother, I wondered how I could become a mom to two. I remember even apologizing to your big brother – he had no clue why – but in a weird, distorted way I felt like I was betraying him. I didn’t want to fail this mom gig.

You were here. And suddenly, I was a mom to two boys. You screamed as they quite literally opened up your world. I can imagine the bright lights of the operating room pierced your snug home. A beautiful, perfect baby boy. And how you looked so much like your dad. You had so many visitors, so many people who could not wait to hold you. A big brother who wore a baseball cap that proudly stated such looked at you admiringly. We brought you home a day early, ready to begin yet another chapter. I recovered much quicker and certainly much easier than with your brother. There were still challenging days and difficult moments, but it all fell into place.

You have been a miracle. A soul that is so full of love and kindness. A remarkable human being. I once thought how could my heart possibly have room for the love of another child. And yet, my heart does not remember how it felt without you in it. You and your brother together filled up my heart to completeness. You were given to me despite me not feeling ready or worthy. Someone or something obviously knew better than I. Thank you for being my son. Thank you for letting me be your mom. My world is so much brighter because of you. I love you my sweetest.

To Clarify and to Remember

Years ago someone told me to create a list of all the important attributes I would like in someone. I wouldn’t call it a wish list so much as necessities. Unfortunately, the list was lost during a time my cell phone was infected with a virus (the joys of technology!). So I thought it the perfect time to revisit, to clarify, and to remember what I not only want in that someone, but what I need.. and maybe what I don’t need as well. In no particular order, what I want in someone:

a great smile, a father..but with older children, a profitable job, one who can dance and show me how to as well, enjoys long walks and rainy nights, a good photographer of candid moments

What I need in someone:

truth and honesty, ambition and passion, positive energy and a taste for healthy foods, funny and a good sense of humor, confidence without the arrogance, happy and full of life, adventurous and motivating, a desire to travel and learn, to fit perfectly in their arms, to feel safe and taken care of, someone who believes in me and accepts me, who absolutely without a doubt would move mountains just for me, a true best friend, truth and honesty (because it’s worth repeating)

What I don’t need in someone:

manipulation, deceit, dishonesty, selfishness, weakness, words without actions, secrecy, controlling, minimizing

While this list is not all encompassing, it’s pretty clear. And a good reminder for me. Don’t forget. The old adage remains true “Actions speak louder than words.”

 

 

 

Cautiously Happy

My whole life I was told I was unhappy. And to this day my mom defends this by saying “I wanted to know what I could do to make you happy.” She even went so far as to say “You misinterpreted things (I said) as a kid.” Umm no….telling me I was unhappy, telling other people in front of me I was unhappy is pretty straightforward.

So now I look back and think was I unhappy? Or was I just living out what she placed on me, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I do know I was unhappy she would say this. I was unhappy hearing it. But was the core of me unhappy? I believe I was heavily unbalanced and seeking. Seeking someone or something to sit on the other side of the see-saw so that our legs would dangle as we sat perfectly balanced. Do you remember sitting on see-saws as a kid? It was no fun if the other person weighed that much more than you because you were left stuck in the air. And if the other person weighed that much less, well your legs would hit the ground so hard and your knees would bend to an uncomfortable angle. But when you found the perfect match, it was, well, perfect. And fun.

As I am trying to move forward to a healthier place in my life, I struggle with being wholeheartedly happy. Understand there are countless moments that bring me happiness. But…I proceed with caution. Divorce hurts. And I was hurt by others during this time. As a result, my heart doesn’t want to feel any more pain. It has become afraid. And timid. It has cracks and holes and bruised parts that are so desperately afraid of someone else taking it and not respecting all of it’s broken pieces. Or not even considering my heart at all.

Yes I am happy, but only cautiously so. Wholeheartedly?…..one day.

Christmas Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve! I would LOVE if I could just pause this day. So many wonderful memories since I was a child are wrapped up in this holiday. My boys are the same way. My youngest was given a writing prompt at school to write about Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He chose Christmas Eve. Mentioning family, tradition, his cousins – he “gets” it. My oldest loves the lights as we drive home from my parents at night. Should I even mention that their father has chosen to spend the night with his girlfriend – forgoing an HOUR with his boys and seeing his nieces (my brother’s girls) who adore him because “my time is limited with (her).” Hmmm….but his time doesn’t even exist with his youngest son tonight. The very night that T holds close to his heart. And D just asked “why isn’t Dad coming tonight?” How do I answer that? And why is that my job? And by the way, if I did answer that question honestly, it wouldn’t sound very nice. But I digress.

Tonight is going to be wonderful. Amazing. And I intend on soaking up every single minute. Some traditions change. Life evolves. Right now I am looking forward to new adventures. New memories. New.

I wish everyone a very, Merry Christmas! May your night be filled with moments that you can cherish.

Thanksgiving – Top Ten

A time of year to reflect on being thankful. It reminds me of 50 Happy Things…. and then some. When you take the time to focus on gratitude and positivity, happiness flourishes. So without further ado, this Thanksgiving I am giving thanks for…

having a purposeful job – helping to change families’ lives for the better

a strong enough body – one that carries me to all the places I need and want to go

access to beautiful, tasty, and healthy food – and the ability to create meals for my boys

my home – it keeps us warm, holds our memories tight, and safely tucks us in at night

the crisp fall air – it replenishes, repletes, awakens

connections – to family, to friends, to co-workers, and to strangers

forgiveness – the freedom that accompanies, the lightness

hope – and the momentum it carries along

moments – being present, recognizing

my boys – without a doubt the greatest gift and one I will be forever grateful for

 

I wish everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving, one filled with moments, hope, and maybe even forgiveness.

 

Who is the Expert Anyway?

Is there such a thing as an expert when it comes to divorce?

When we too often follow the opinions of others and what mainstream is doing, we lose our “expertise.” Taking bits and pieces from here and there can help, but overriding our instincts, that deep-in-the-belly feeling of what is right and what is wrong, can lead us astray.

No one has walked in my shoes, lived my life, experienced my experiences. And so how can  anyone be an expert on my life? Although in a state of weakness, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone expertly know what you should do – and all you have to do is do it, to make everything ok? Seems easier. Less work. There would be less feeling. Actually, I am not sure there would be any feeling at all.

Let me confess. There have been moments during my lengthy separation and ultimate divorce I was led versus leading. And I have fought and continue to do so against society’s norm as it relates to divorce. Realizing I stretch the limits, I can’t help but stay true to what I so strongly believe. Telling myself “If I were to die tomorrow, would I regret doing this or not doing this?”

At the heart of my choices are my boys. But my ex-husband (I can’t stand that word! Isn’t there an alternative??) can be quite flimsy in his views. And…he has had a girlfriend for several  years now. The boys have not been introduced to her nor have I. And in fact, the boys are not aware he has a girlfriend. Honestly, for now, I like it that way. Even though I am acutely aware I am playing into a state of ignorance.

Somehow in other’s minds though, she has become a priority on a level. Family holidays, car pooling to games, day trips, all must be considered with his girlfriend’s feelings. Wrapping my brain around this is beyond difficult. So I must consider her insecurities ahead of what would be best for my boys? Please understand I do not want this woman to hurt or feel hurt. And ultimately it would be ideal if she were included in large family gatherings at some point. But we are in the now. Today. My boys are only this vulnerable age once. And this is the time we emulate strength as a family or forgo that because the “norm” says it’s not okay.

So really tell me, who is the expert in this case anyway?