Just a little Quneacation, enjoy!
Have you ever had one of those days weeks years? Where you just feel like sleeping and eating and basically embracing your inner Garfield but more sarcastic?
It’s spring which means my tiny humans are over school and routine and getting up. I swear Claire all but said f*ck you to me today, she’s a lady and wouldn’t speak that way but she managed to say it with her eyes and sloth like movements. Her ability to flip on sloth mode is impressive and she does it to make her older sister mad and late or late and mad. It’s a vicious cycle and usually ends with me completely spent trying not to think about how many more of these arduous mornings I’ll have to grind through.
Then something magical happened this afternoon. I was volunteering in Sasha’s classroom and needed to use the loo, I walked into the bathroom and bumped straight into Claire. It was such a surprise and like seeing your long lost best friend or a really good sandwich. We both giggled and it was just weird, weird in that we have separate-ish lives now that they are both in school full days and those lives collided today. It made me realize that I could do a thousand more and it would all be ok. At the end of this hardcore parenting gig we will morph into friends – that’s decades away but for a split second today we felt what that would be like.
written on 01/08/2015
In July of 2013 I found myself staying in an upscale private hotel/social club, I had run away from Medford for the weekend, using the excuse that I was visiting a friend who had just had a baby. I wasn’t running to anything I was running away from a disastrous month that had seen my ninth wedding anniversary come and go only to be marked with a fight and him walking out for the night and me calling a girl friend who showed up with plastic cups and a bottle of wine, no dishes necessary. It became a month in which I knew to my very core that this couldn’t go on and that more than once the phrase “I’m only staying for the kids” had been tossed my way with a slur and a glare, as casual as “take out your own trash” and “hmmm salad or fries? I just can’t decide”. It felt awful and hard and like neither of us would call uncle so I left for the weekend.
I was sitting in this hotel room, drinking coffee and listening to the city and thinking about how I ended up here. where did we go wrong or for that matter right? The girls. It always comes back to them, no one for a second would call us less than devoted, I may not be the most conventional but I’m unwavering in my devotion and love. I knew we were on the brink of irrevocably changing their lives forever and ever. Some parts for the better some for the worse. I have said it before but I will say it again, the worst part of motherhood for me is that I have no control over the memories they keep, I can do my best to try and provide more good than bad but even then who knows what other bits sneak through. Below is a letter I wrote that morning, through my tears, sealed and stuck it in my safe deposit box, I just recently came across it, one year, five months and seventeen days later. My oh my….
I am in a swanky hotel room on Salmon + Park. I can hear the city coming to life below me this morning and yet I feel myself shrinking inside, an inner storm I have fought too long. Things are changing in our lives. It is going to feel scary and unsettled but I promise it will be exciting and eventually peaceful.
Things you can count on from me:
Unconditional love – You are forever my always, nothing and no one can ever change this.
Trust – I will do my VERY best to care for and anticipate your needs, I just need you to trust in me enough to use your words when you have them, you won’t always have the right words and sometimes you won’t have any, it’s okay to be inconsolable, just don’t get stuck in that feeling. You both shine so bright, remember that and create it for yourselves.
Firmness – You’re going to test me, I know this but know that no matter what words or actions you throw at me I’m not going anywhere. I may be sad sometimes and you may feel I’m at a distance and sometimes when we have to be apart it will be hard and hurt, but we will always come back to each other.
I don’t claim to have any answers on the big things in life but I do know that it is ever changing, as people you have to keep growing, you will one day make your ways into this world, you will keep some of the values I teach you, some will fade and you will find you have strong feelings in the opposite direction of how I feel. Never be afraid to be who you are, I will love you without judgement forever. Failure and fear are two things I loathe, they tend to go hand in hand, one of my greatest wishes would be for you to see your failed attempts at things as a stepping stone rather than a step backward. At the very least striking out means you stepped up. Vulnerability will be at once the hardest and most exhilarating experience of your lives, my assvice? FALL INTO IT no matter how it turns out you will be grateful you didn’t hold back. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference, remember it takes more energy to hate than to let go and go forward.
Je ne regrette rien
You are my greatest joys,
Picture, if you will, me finding this unmarked envelope not remembering what was inside and being met with that. So many tears, so many fears and yet one year, five months and seventeen days later we are still standing.
Shhhhh Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a thick manila envelope landing with a thud in my mailbox, it’s contents will announce that I am legally single.
The last time I was single social media didn’t exist…let that sink in for a minute, I’ll wait.
This is a good thing, I mean I have my own hashtag now and I hear those are hard to get. All told we made it through the process with only a mild sense of absolute failure. The kids seem to be doing okay (Sasha is having an impossibly hard time adjusting to kindergarten but that is a whole other post). I took a tongue-in-cheek approach for the most part with a sprinkle of Xanax and a large vat of Jameson.
This hike came with many new titles: single mom, co-parent, ex-wife, respondent. Let’s just say I’m glad I never purchased one of those sweatsuits with the word “wifey” or “Mrs.” on the ass, saved me sometime when I was cleaning out my closet. Speaking of closets we have relocated to beautiful overcast Portland!
To be fair when I first began meeting with attorneys they warned me that divorcing would be financial suicide and I totes believed them, as with most things the perceived reality and the actual happenings were two different beasts, I feel like there is an animal kingdom joke somewhere in there. The postwar abode is about 2000 square feet smaller than the prewar McMansion, it feels decadent in a whole different way.
I have many more rambling thoughts about this last year, there was so much I wanted to write but common sense (Hi Stefanie!!) told me to wait until matters were settled. I’m trying to find a balance between sharing these things and respecting everyone involved, including my tiny humans who will someday find this site…this is a start and it’s all up from here.
On a final note, I have been asked about my awesome hashtag, we were married on Canada Day in Banff (and no we are not Canadian) in 2004. It’s just Canada day now but feel free to still send me cards and buy me gifts.
It’s been one year and one day.
I would like to be able to say I am a better person than last year.
I would like to say I am more patient than last year.
I would like to say that I yell less at my children than last year.
I would like to say that I try to look past the outside of people to see what is really going on within.
I would like to say that my children are safer than last year.
I would like to say that I can’t still see, in vivid detail, the look of fear, pain, and grief on my friend’s face.
I would like to say I have become better at making popcorn and pancakes.
I would like to say I don’t think about it most days when I drop the girls in their shared classroom.
The truth is I still yell and burn popcorn and think about it all the time. I can still remember the sounds, and boxes of letters, and massive amounts of pain and love all coming together to form this strange tsunami of fear and affection.
I spent yesterday with old friends and new, texting with the lady who has a piece of my heart, a lady I will drop anything to be next to if she needs it… I have no doubt she would do the same, she would show up with a shovel, no conversation and no questions asked.
Speaking of conversations, there are ones that our country gave up on, conversations that still need to be had. I don’t care if you are pro this or anti that. Noah and the other twenty-five people who passed on that horrific day deserve to have these conversations continued. I don’t give a shit if you think they are hard or uncomfortable, try on the alternative for five minutes and you’ll never shut-up again. Trust me.
I’m pro-honest-love, because if you can’t be honest with love what can you be?
I’m pro-conversation, all conversations, even the yucky, vulnerable, scary kind.
I may not have accomplished all of those things above but the one thing I can say is that I love brighter and bigger and more loudly than I did 366 days ago.
One of my tiny humans came to me after breakfast this morning. She is my fretful darling, smart beyond her years and caring to a fault. She told me she was very concerned and worried (yes, those were the words she used), she had a Band-Aid on her knee and she knew it was time for it to come off but she was afraid it would hurt and then she would need another Band-Aid and then that one would have to come off and so on and on and on…
You get the picture.
Normally I would just be flip and point in another direction, “oh look at that!” and then rip it when she looked away (effective, no?) this time I crouched to her level, looked into her beautiful, blueberry eyes and told her the truth.
You will find in life, my darling, that anticipating an event, change, anything unknown will always be scarier than the actual thing you are worried about.
She looked at me for a minute, a kind of side eye look, brandished her knee, I ripped and she hopped off claiming that “was nothing”.
I was still crouched in the kitchen thinking about how I should really take my own advice; no one wants to feel vulnerable whether it’s the ripping of a Band-Aid or the fear of rejection. I have been making strides, letting go of assumptions and asking the questions I’m afraid to get answers to. I have a long way to go, I’m hoping like anything else that with time you become desensitized to that gut check fear and it becomes a habit. Could you imagine being open to new experiences without the fear of judgment or anxiety of rejection? What would you do if that was possible?
What is your Band-Aid?
Image credit: Neal