I am looking for things to be grateful for. It is so easy to fall into “Woe is me” and “Life is so unfair”. Waking up for me this morning was difficult, knowing that in my place, in my family, another woman barely known to my children is preparing their Thanksgiving dinner. This is a holiday about togetherness and family and here I am, hundreds of miles away, thinking about HER bustling about the kitchen of a man she barely knows, my husband still, a man she chose to live with after a bare few months. Perhaps she is wondering if she is only that, a replacement. I try to put myself into her place but at the moment it is still too hard. I am aware at the periphery that in all likelihood it is as hard for her as it is for me.
From where I sit, this is proof that my husband was only in love with the idea he held of who I should be, how a wife should be, and not me the woman. He said, “I can replace you” and did so swiftly. So which of us is in the harder place I wonder? Me, ousted from my family for not conforming to his ideal “wife” image, or is it her, having to the fill the shoes he made available? She is expected to conform as I could not, and yet, she also has to live with the ghost of my presence lingering still in my things that he now shares with her. And, I linger in my children who will always be comparing her to me and find her sorely lacking. We are both in a tough place I suspect. I keep my distance from her for now knowing that the bitterness I feel towards my husband still colors everything.
Today I let these thoughts flutter briefly as I lie in bed examining a ceiling of a home not my own in minute detail. And then I decide enough. We make our own moods. We can change them. I consciously choose to push them aside for the rest of the day and to focus on the positive. This is Thanksgiving. I should be thinking about the things that I am grateful for, to dwell not on what I no longer have, but to cherish that which I do have.
- I am grateful that I am healthy and that my children are as well
- I am thankful that I have been able to find health insurance for my daughter and that my exhusbandtobe has managed to find some for the boys.
- I am not on welfare
- I have a roof over my head
- I am not hungry
- I have a family willing to help me despite my pride until I am able to support myself and my daughter on my own
- I have my sanity intact
- I have my integrity
- My children love me no matter who they live with or how many states away they are
- I am not broken
- I get the joy of rediscovering New England through all her changing seasons
- I have friends strewn about the country like confetti who remind me often of things I have forgotten
- My boys are doing well in school, appear to be adjusting to new lifestyle, and are content in their choices to live with their father.
- My daughter equally content with her school and her choice to remain with me
- The children show no signs of a weakening bond with each other, they phone regularly to talk about everything and nothing
- I have my photos and I have my words. Both spilling from the basket to overflowing
- I have the capacity for love still-despite the trampling. I know it is still there underneath it all because I see glimpses of it every time I see my daughter’s sleeping face, I feel it with every fleeting tight squeeze from my sons, and I hear it in my own laughter over new fallen snow.
This Thanksgiving is not the same as last where we sat around a picnic table outside of our trailer just the five of us with a box of Marie Callender’s feast to go. But this Thanksgiving I don’t feel the vague building sense of something gone wrong that clouded that dinner. I can breathe because I am no longer trying to fit into someone else’s idea of who or what I should be. I am simply me as I should have been all along. I may not be with my children on this day physically, but I am with them in spirit. I get up to go jogging on my Uncle’s treadmill to the morning news and then to help prepare dinner for the crew that is still my family if not my immediate one. I am indeed lucky. My mood infinitely better.