Today's chai was non-existent, but I felt the need to write after a chat with an acquaintance. You will have to wait until tomorrow to hear the truth about how good my chai was this morning. For now, I bring you lies, it was fantastic, foamy, delicious and sweet.
I haven't written since my car accident in August, but I have good reasons, I swear. Life moves pretty fast and if you don't stop to look around, suddenly two and half months have passed and you've lost your entire readership. Shit. Sorry about that.
The car is all better. $8000 worth of damage and 10 days in the shop kind of fine, but you'd never know until you try to sell her and the Car Facts pulls it up and they bump $4000 off the offering price. Shit happens.
I have so much to tell you that I will likely need to split this up into a couple posts. I'll start at the beginning, or the end, such as it was. Today it has been a year since I looked at my ex and, with a heavy heart, told him that I needed a break from us, from our life and from him. He agreed to stay at a hotel that night and the next day I left and stayed at my mom's for a week. It was what I wanted and what I needed, but it didn't make it any easier to actually say, to actually DO. But you know, for the first time in a very long time, I was putting myself first. Maybe that is selfish, maybe that was a crap decision, but it was an amazing feeling to think about ME for a change and not about my kids or my husband and their needs and wants while I grudgingly ignored my own, becoming more dissatisfied and bitter with each passing day. I'm not sure what happens to women when they get married and when they have kids, but most of us seem to lose ourselves and that person our spouse fell in love with ceases to even exist. Mixing my tenses and grammar beautifully, but I think you get my meaning. We strive so hard to be the perfect partner and parent that our essential self is lost in the journey. I needed to find myself, as hippy-dippy and flower child as that sounds.
We really fucked up telling the kids because we were both so distraught after we decided to take a break that we couldn't even comprehend their feelings. This wasn't happening to THEM, it was happening to US. We (at least I was, and I think my ex would probably agree) were absolutely immersed in our own heartache. In retrospect, I cringe that I didn't consider their feelings more carefully. I've thought about that night a million times if I thought about it once, how I SHOULD have told my daughters that mommy and daddy were taking a break and how I ACTUALLY told my daughters.
Imagined scenario: My ex quietly packs a bag and surreptitiously leaves, telling the kids he is going out for the evening to have a beer with a friend and he'll see them in the morning. The three girls go to bed, with me pretending everything is normal. The family sits down after a night of rest and sleep and calmly talks about what is happening. The kids are, of course, upset, but they accept that we are trying to figure our stuff out and we all cry and tell each other we will always love each other no matter what.
What actually happened: The kids were having a snack in the kitchen while my ex and I decided on the most monumental thing that will ever happen during their childhoods. He packs a bag and we go downstairs, both of us crying and we call the kids away from their snack to talk to them. I blurt out that Daddy is leaving for the night and Kate, sensitive little soul that she is, immediately knows that he is not just going out for a beer with his buddies. She cries out, "What? Why? What's happening? Why are you leaving?" And this is where my philosophy of being as honest with Kate as possible for her entire childhood comes crashing to the ground in failure. I tell her that mummy and daddy are having some problems and need a little break and Daddy will be back in the morning and I'm going to stay with my mom for the next week. I will never forget the look on her face as it crumpled into sobs and she cried, "NO! Don't go daddy, please don't go, please!" Oh my God, even writing about it a year later, I can hear the wounded animal in her voice and I can feel my heart tearing in two.
Let's be honest though, telling your kids that you're splitting up is never going to go smoothly or be welcomed news, unless your ex is some sort of psycho that the kids are terrified of, which mine most assuredly was not. So my anguish over my failure to tell the kids in a better way is probably useless, but it's still there. I wish I'd handled it with more tack, thought more about them and less about me. But I was selfishly thinking only of myself at that point, as I've already stated and I was on a roll I guess. We are none of us perfect and I have to accept that and move on. My only advice to you, if you find yourself in a similar situation, is to lie through your teeth to the kids until you know what the fuck you are actually doing. Kidding. Every situation is different, you need to do what is right for your family. Just keep in mind that this is happening to them as much as it's happening to you. It's no longer a relationship just between you and your spouse, it's their family and their life too.
Dates and anniversaries hold a special, sometimes sad, sometimes wonderful, place in my heart. I studied history after all and have a head for dates. As a pseudo historian, it's my passion not only to remember the past, but learn from it, to understand the significance of things that have happened in the past in order to move forward with the future. Don't get me wrong, I try not to dwell on sad things, but certain dates will always have meaning for me. November 1 will always be the day that my marriage ended officially. It is also the date that I began building a new life for myself and my girls, much of which I have shared with you here. I have accomplished so many things that I am proud of, I've had some set backs, I've acted out and done stupid things too. But mainly, I feel that I have moved on, like I'm always saying we should. I'm in a good place now and certain things have happened in the past couple months that I would also like to share with you, but they will have to wait for another post. For now, I leave you with this: