After the discussion with my friend yesterday I was filled with a heavy sense of wrong doing. In any relationship there are sides, versions of the truth as the wounded parties understand them. Before I got married my grandmother sent me a letter. My mom came and told me she had terrible dreams and begged me not to go ahead with the ceremony. My grandmother was upset because my parents were getting divorced. At the time I saw it as a mostly good thing since it was clear to me that my parents had a strained and pointless marriage. My dad didn't have anything so my mom was left with five kids and a job that wasn't going to meet anything other than the most basic of living expenses.
The highlight of my day is when my youngest daughter crawls into my bed to snuggle. The hardest part of reviewing the past and looking ahead to the future is to think about mornings when I won't be holding her. I have been a party to the ruin of her four member family. None of us will get out of this unscathed, the weight of the realization feels like it's going to crush my chest. Never did I imagine how hard it was to parent, or how deeply a child can be loved even when the frustrations and annoyances mount. When I was fourteen my mom told me she was going to get divorced. I had to wait until I was twenty-two for it to actually happen. I came home from a concert, found everyone up at two in the morning and heard that news.
My husband owns a condo across town. He bought it for me almost eighteen months ago when we thought that I was going to move out. The condo I wanted was a single bedroom unit on the main floor. He insisted that I get a two bedroom place so I would have room for the girls. I don't know how much time and money he invested in updating the flooring, tearing out the carpet that I would have left until I could afford to replace it. His tools are still sitting over there. I've never spent the night there. He priced me out of housing so I didn't know how to feel when he said that the condo was mine, if I could afford to live there on my own when he knew that I didn't have those financial resoures at my disposal.
As scared as I am right now, I know that this will be very hard, but I am a strong person, and I will do more than survive. I felt like laughing when he says that he wants to start dating as soon as the divorce is finalized. He wants someone in his life, I do too, but I need some time to learn what it's like to live on my own for a while. I read a couple of Psalms this morning. They were very comforting, and I sat there feeling grateful that I have the knowledge and priorities that I do. They haven't been wise in the past. I will always make mistakes, but I'm learning more every day. He told me it's time for me to be self sufficient, he's right, but I am going to get an attorney and see what the court decides.
In the past I would have thought that an attorney was a luxury I couldn't afford. That's true, but I already signed off on the house which I can see was not a good move in retrospect. Someone I know once told me that I have no instinct for self preservation. Unfortunately this is true, but fortunately I am figuring out that I need to be taking better care of myself so I can be the type of parent that I would like to be. I can understand his hurt and his need to distance himself from me. The idea of condo life scares me because I hate things like clogged sinks and dealing with the furnace. I guess I'll be reading up on how to fix those things if and when they go wrong unless there's a way he can keep the condo from me in which case I'll have to find someplace else to live.
Pride is so stupid. I saw my dad suffer from an advanced case and I seem to be taking after him in that respect. I never understood why his aunt or my mom stayed for the kids. That makes more sense to me now. I pushed him away and was harsh and unloving. I cheated on him, made fun of him, and tolerated things that I shouldn't have. I went to counseling with and without him, I let his daughter stay with us and treat us like garbage when I should have kicked her to the curb for her insubordinate behavior and ugly attitude. I told him that there's a difference between accepting someone for who they are and putting up with behavior that is unacceptable when it's clear that it's a pattern and not one or two isolated incidences.
Mostly I want to spend some time grieving for this is a loss and the destruction of something that wasn't beautiful is leaving a void in my life. I'm trying to think about practical things when inside I'm shrieking that it's not fair. Life isn't fair and I know that. So I just have to accept my part in this, but I am not going to show up in court without an attorney the way that I did when we were legally separated. I'm too nice when I should be taking a firmer stand so even though I'm not sure where I'm going to come up with the money for an attorney, I'm going to get one. I can be frugal. I can bloom where I'm planted. I'm not going to sit there and trash talk him to the girls. That's between us and hopefully he won't say or do anything to try and sway them against me.
They're old enough to have seen the faults on both sides. This isn't fair to them, but it is the right thing to be doing if we can't move forward together and I'm unwilling to do that. I don't know why I haven't left. Fear mostly I think. I was so naive, I still am in many ways. I don't see things that others do that I wouldn't. It's like preparing myself for physical assault when I should have been anticipating a psychological attack. My daughter is getting confirmed tomorrow. Her birthday is Wednesday, school will be out in a couple of weeks. I'm going to start moving things to the condo and talk to him about my expectations for financial support. That will be an interesting conversation I'm sure, but I can say what I need which has been a problem for me for most of my life.
Mostly I'm ashamed that I let it get to this point. I've lived in crisis mode for so long that it doesn't seem abnormal. For the things I've discovered about myself these past few months, I am thankful and appreciative. It's going to be hard in ways that I will get to know. I'm trying to focus on the things I'm letting go of rather than think of this as a loss. I have a car, not much debt unless I get stuck with half of the car payment we have for the vehicle that he primarily drives. I don't have a lot of retirement savings, he doesn't either. I'm sure he'll update his life insurance policies so I won't be getting that money if anything happens to him. I don't really care about that. I've never had money, and from what I've seen, I'm not missing much.
There are always opportunities. America is the land of opportunity, this is a domestic hurdle that I need to get through before I emerge on the other side. Something I've thought about doing for a while is going back to get whatever training I need to become a dental assistant. It isn't the job of my dreams, but it's a field that interests me, it's only a ten week program, and I know I would be good at it and the material won't be overly challenging for someone who has most of a nursing degree. I could go back to school to get that degree. I'm not sure if I will or not. It's something I need to think about since I don't know if I want to be a nurse. I suppose the degree by itself carries benefits, but I already have a college degree that I haven't really ever used.
The good news is that I won't have to buy much. I will figure this out and it won't be ideal, but when is life ever exactly what we ordered or could wish it would be? I'll probably give up a lot of the things that I've become accustomed to, that will be a valuable experience since these are things that I can live without and be better for it. I have family and friends that love me. I have ideas, courage, and no matter what life hands me, I know that I can embrace the lessons that accompany various types of hardship. I think that this will be the best thing for everyone in the long term. I wish him well. I know the girls will be upset, I don't know how to explain this to them without getting into why adults don't act the way that they should at times.
I hope that our family can go through this and become stronger for it. I've had years to spend at home with the girls. I didn't appreciate those stolen moments when I had them. But I can't sit here and wallow in regret and self pity. I have a lot to think about, but I'm not going to ignore the feelings the way that I have in the past. I can get the girls in to see someone. I can love them and I can build a new life apart from him. I can learn to unclog a sink, I may have to take a few steps back before I can move forward again. But I'm not going to let myself be as passive and as self absorbed as I have in the past. I chose this life, now I have to live with the consequences of my actions. But it's okay. It's not all bad. There is beauty in my life, joy in the hugs my daughters give me, meals to be made, fun to be had. My life is as rich as I can imagine it to be, and this too shall pass while we adapt.