Yesterday, just 4 days shy of what would have been my 9th wedding anniversary, I sat on the front steps of my old house and tried to wrap my head around how I got here. When I say “here”, I’m referring to my life, three and a half years post-divorce. They say time is supposed to heal, but there are days like this, when it feels like I haven’t done much of it and the memories sting. But not as much as the pain in picturing what should have been.
I was waiting for my son’s school bus to drop him off at his dad’s house, which used to be mine too and for some reason, still feels like it is. I miss my house, my neighborhood, my dog, and my plants that are now dead. My car is parked in the driveway, but it’s not my driveway anymore. I can sit outside, but I can’t go in. And I all I could think to myself is that I should be standing there with an unlocked door, baby in one arm and dog at my side waiting for my son. Right after he ran into my arms off the bus, we would all go inside so I can start making dinner. Instead I sat there alone, had a good cry and when he walked off the bus silently, we go into my car and drove away. Away from everything that I have ever wanted for myself, and for him.
Getting divorced wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me, but sometimes I can’t believe where I am now verse where I expected and wanted to be in my life at 36 years old.
So I ask myself where do you want to go Marcey? And although I can see a clear picture of where I think want to be, I just can’t seem to get there. Some days I just want to be a mom who puts every fiber of her being into her child and a loving husband. Others I just want to be young, beautiful, single and carefree. The truth is I don’t know what I want. This is probably the reason I am still single. Whether it’s because I’m sabotaging opportunities on a regular basis with decent men or I’m craving the bad boys, I know that subconsciously, I’m not backing myself into a corner where I need to decide what I want, because I can’t.
I live two lives since my divorce. One of them feels like a part time mother, which I did not sign up for. School, baseball, karate, homework, dinner, bath time, every single thing my son needs for either a 2 or 5 day stretch, is all me and me alone, with no help. While I have gotten used to that, I have not, and never will, get used to the fact that following those days on, I am left by myself, childless for as much as 5 days straight. I never imagined when I had a baby that I would have to endure going even a day without my child. But now I have no choice.
The first day to myself I can breathe and rest and do whatever my heart desires, yes it feels good to a tired mom, at first. But after this, the sadness kicks in as doing things for myself gets old. I have no choice but to get out there looking my best, slap on a smile and try to live it up. This does not make me any less of a mother.
I tend to overindulge in myself on my childfree days because there is no other way to numb the pain of being apart from my son and not being able to do “mom” things on certain days. This is my second life, the one my ex-husband likes to refer to as my “acting like a 17-year-old”. While I most certainly do not agree, I admit that this other me is selfish. She wants to have a good time. She wants to be drooled over by men. She wants to go out all night with her friends, be taken on extravagant dates with above average men and she wants to brag about all of it. Part of this is just me, but most of it has nothing to do with arrogance and everything to do with feeling inferior that I am not living the same “expected” life as my friends and most people my age.
I do not have family photos on a beach, nor do I get to take family vacations anymore. I don’t have date night with my husband. I do not have a house and yard with a swing set and a doghouse out back. I do not have newborn photos and I don’t know if I ever will again. All I know is my life right now and I have to indulge in it regardless of what it is or what it looks like to others. I have my son and I have myself. Both need tender love and care.
I can’t preach about making the most out of a divorce. I have yet to do that. I am still angry at myself for all the mistakes I made that I cannot change. I have forgiven my ex-husband, but I will never accept or respect the woman who got involved with him during our marriage. Not because I am not over him, but because I hold myself to higher standards and morals to ever go after someone else’s husband, especially if I had my own along with children at home. This does not make me bitter. Better -yes, bitter- no.
At the end of the day, even though some days, like yesterday, are still hard, and I have all these thoughts, I simply don’t go forward when I stay stuck in the past. There are times spent sitting with my ex-husband at sports or school events where we still try to be a team and talk and sometimes laugh, and I have that brief moment where I wish things were different despite everything that happened. But they did and I’m reminded of this when I deal with his constant indifference towards me and listen to him still put me down just as much as he used to. It’s then I remember that we were not right, he was not right, and that’s how I got here.
When something in life doesn’t go as planned, it’s disappointing and painful. But as events unfold and situations change, I’ve learned that the only way to cope is to roll with it. Whether I’m sad and unhappy in my current situation or feeling wild and free and lucky to be able to do whatever the hell I want, I only feel better when I take it day by day and let myself feel whatever I need to feel. And when I stop expecting it to look like what I thought it would look like, only then can I see my life for what it is now. And it’s not that bad, not at all.