Friday, March 17, 2017
Yesterday my Facebook feed told me a story about a girl who told all of the Instagram/Facebook/(possibly Twitter?) world of how much she loves her ex-boyfriend who she never has to ask for money and who will drop everything to be with her and their child in a moment's time.
This tends to have the effect of shattering my heart.
Prior to being divorced, I would have read such an article and thought how wonderful, how adult, how exactly the way that Nick and I would behave. I believed with all of my heart that Nick and I would remain the best of friends always, that nothing could touch our friendship. Our marriage may lay in pieces, but the friendship would stay intact. "We will be us without the sex," I told him. And he said yes.
It was a wonderful goal to have, but it wasn't realistic at all.
This is not to say that we are not friends. It is a friendship that I have worked tirelessly to curate out of tremendous upheaval and frankly, hurt, and I honestly would not trade it for the world. It is the best thing for the girls to see us co-existing together, happy for one another, being grownups and loving each other in this new and profoundly different way.
There are many days that I wish I could go back in time to that sad girl I was a year ago and put my arms around her and tell her, it is okay to feel hurt. It is okay to feel angry. It is okay to feel.
When the third big terrible happened, as I have repeatedly said, I fell apart. I fell into a dark, deep hole that was terrifying. Climbing out of that hole was the single hardest thing I have ever done. And once I managed to start making headway out of it, the last thing that I wanted to do was to fall back to that place. So you downshift into survivor mode. You live everyday with strict boundaries around your actions, your thoughts, your feelings. Because if you let yourself feel anything, you will be feeling everything, swimming in emotions that are much too fragile to handle.
I have come to view my heart as a thicket. Full of memories, of emotions, of pain and loss and grief-and full of happiness, and joy, and wonder. Being patient with myself, allowing myself to feel things as they come and go in waves-it took forever for me to feel at peace with that. But once I did-once I allowed myself to understand that I wasn't going to fall apart just because this monster of emotions seemed to be threatening my very existence-I was able to deal enough to get through a day. Through a night. Through an entire weekend.
Now, what has this anything to do with Facebook girl and her boyfriend?
Simply this. My grief is my grief. My divorce is my divorce. Divorce brings lovely side effects into your life-shattered trust, entirely new people, decisions that you would rather not be forced to make. All of this takes time to heal, to maneuver, to learn what to fight for and what to let go of. For me, with my particular personality, it is hard to not want to be the best. I want to be the best ex-wife. I want to be the best co-parent. I have to force myself-and with me, that is a daily battle-to understand that I'm not going to be a delightful ex-wife every second of my life. Nick and I are doing well, but we aren't taking selfies with each other and waxing poetic about how lucky we are to be in each other's lives.
Of course, as I am writing this, I am seeing how completely self-centered I am being. Other people are not looking at me and judging my decisions nearly as much as I think they do. But I write to figure things out. Most of my life is written on pieces of paper that no one else ever sees. But sometimes I write and put it out there because I think that it may speak to someone else. Someone on this journey, or a similar one, who is beating themselves up every time they see a couple co-parenting and envy that relationship. Because everyone's journey is different. What steps led to their divorce are different. What relationship exists now is likely not one that existed before.
I am grateful for the relationship that I have with Nick. When I look at him now, I only see him as Betsy and Felicity's dad. There was a time when I didn't think that I could ever do that, that I could ever look at him and not see that boy that I fell so desperately in love with, that man that I vowed to love until I die.
But that is the grace that I have been given. That love has changed and shifted until it has found its place of solace. Of understanding that the love that I have for Nick at this stage is that of a friend that I talk to but that I'm not especially close to. And that's okay. It may not make me the best ex-wife, but it makes me human.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Two of my loves in this lifetime are Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.
Every morning Betsy and I watch Kathie Lee and Hoda from the previous day. (I watch while doing my workout, Betsy watches while lying on my bed until 5 minutes before we have to leave, when she finally puts on her clothes. Oh, to be 12.)
Anyway, I love, love, love Kathie Lee and Hoda. I love that they talk about silly things (my favorite segment every week is when Amanda Avery, who is just a normal person who works on their show, does a recap of The Bachelor-I don't watch The Bachelor, not being snobby, I tried to watch it, but I just couldn't deal with the emotional distress-but I love to hear Amanda talk about The Bachelor because she loves it.) I love that they drink wine and make perfect food that I will never attempt and try out beauty products that I will never buy, because it's just fun.
(I am also convinced that Hoda named her new baby Haley Joy because we are cosmically connected, but Betsy thinks that this is hogwash.)
Every week, Hoda and Kathie Lee share their favorite things. So all of that is my long winded way of saying, this blog post is about some of my favorite things from this week.
Good Mythical Morning What's On My Head? featuring Mayim Bialik.
I love Mayim always. This is hysterically funny, especially if you stay for Mayim's second turn with the thing on her head.
What Should I Read Next? Modern Mrs. Darcy podcast.
I love Anne Bogel. She is my bestest friend on the internet. She blogs at Modern Mrs. Darcy, runs the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club (which is so much fun, well worth the $10 a month that it costs to join), and she puts out this podcast every week. She asks her guests to tell her 3 books they love, 1 book they hate, and what they are currently reading, and then she gives them 3 recommendations for what to read next. I anxiously await Tuesdays now, which is when the new podcast drops.
(In case you were wondering, my three books would be Anne of Green Gables, The Time Traveler's Wife, and Columbine, my hated book would be literally anything written by Nicholas Sparks, and my current read is This is How It Always Is.)
And lastly, my favorite thing this week is Big Little Lies. The miniseries is airing on HBO right now, and my dear friend Jennifer came over last Sunday and we lived it up with a glass of wine and non-stop talking and enjoying this show. I cannot recommend the book enough (several people have had to endure me saying, "Let me tell you about this book..." and then on and on in the past few weeks). The miniseries is not the book, but it is lovely, and Nicole Kidman is fantastic, and Reese Witherspoon is my bestest friend on Instagram (I have bestest friends in quite a few pockets of the Internet).
I am so ready for the weekend. It's my weekend with the girls, so we are going to the LMIS spaghetti dinner tonight and then chilling out all weekend, enjoying our delightful girl time. I am the luckiest mom in all the world. And that is my favorite thing ever.