Monday, December 12, 2011


Christmas is coming.  I have 6 kids.  So no matter where my head is these days, I still have to be thinking about them.  And making this a good season to remember for them.  We are both trying to stay focused on them right now.  What will make this memorable for them.  In a good way.

A friend advised me to stay in my house as long as possible.  It will save us money.  Or it will save me money.  And it prolongs things for the kids.  I'm torn about that.  She suggested just moving into a different room.  I've done that.  I sleep in the basement.  And even TFOMC (the father of my children) called the extra room in the basement "my room" the other day.  All the kids now know I sleep there.  I haven't completely moved in there I guess.  My clothes are still in the closet upstairs.  That's where I go to shower.

Would making the move completely downstairs change things enough for me?  Not really....  I want to be out from under the same roof.  I don't want to live in the tension.  But it's good for my kids right now.  And that's my focus for the next few weeks.

The process...what comes next....feels really overwhelming to me.  Both financially and logistically.  Emotionally?  Not so much.  I've been so good at keeping my heart to myself that we feel like really good roommates.  Who co-parent our 6 kids.  And the co-parenting has gotten a lot better in the past few months.  Even if we do have different opinions about the way some things should be.  I'm learning to voice my opinions about the kids more.  I'm learning to share the little things more.  I'm encouraging my kids to share with their dad so he can be closer to them.  All the while pulling further away from him myself.

Life is complicated right now.  I'm just trying to stay focused.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Two years

After I shard my story with some friends, I realized I'm not alone in this struggle.  There are more women out there like me.  Feeling tied to a marriage that isn't working.  But things are complicated.  It looks different for all of us.  And no choices are one size fits all.  I'm glad I can share my story.  And I listen to the story of others to remind me that I will come out on the other side.

I met with a friend the other day that completely understands my story.  It's so beautiful to be with her.  To share the happiness of the moments.  To share the sorrow of the moments.  To look at her and see where I can be some day.  Two years, she said.  Know that things will be in place in 2 years.

So today I'm working on my list of the things I don't want to do.  The things that are hard.  And I'm thinking about what my life will look like in 2 years.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I'm really good at it.  Even when I don't want to go.

I went Monday and was honest about everything.  Then I left with my appointment for next week scheduled.  Once I started thinking about what I had said there, I started to think about what that all means.  What is my motivation for some of the things I said.

I'm really good at compartmentalizing life.  It's a survival skill I learned early on.  Really early on.  It served me well when I needed it.  And it works now when I have to be a functioning mama in the midst of a crisis.

But yesterday I felt like all my little boxes had been dumped out on the floor and I desperately wanted to put all those pieces away.  Except they were all mixed up.  And so was I.

It's not that I was so quick to stop dealing with my "issues" (for lack of a better word).  But I know that my time in therapy will be very limited in this season and I need to make as much sense of things as I can on my own right now and not wait till next week.

As I put things away, I realized things I am sure of.  Things I don't want to face and need to.  And things I need to face but just can't yet.  I have so many questions about what the next season will look like.  It's not the season I'm looking forward to.  I am looking forward to what comes after that.

So in this moment I am thankful that I have the time to think.  I am thankful for those who really get me.  And I'm thankful for the love and forgiveness I get to experience when I least expect it.

making a list

I'm not a good finisher.  I leave things undone.  My bachelor's degree being probably the biggest thing I've left undone.  Two units.  That's it.  And in ridiculous things.  But that's another story.

I find myself not wanting to end this well.  I find myself looking at the future.  The horizon.  6 months from now.  9 months from now.  A year.  I see good things there.  And I want to focus my attention there.  All of it.

There are details to be done now.  Things that are hard.  Things that I am really really good at avoiding.  Really good.  But to get where I'm headed, I have to do the hard part.

I have to remind myself that it can't be worse than it is now.  Maybe like a shot.  It stings for a second, but it's for my own good?  It may be hard and ugly.  But it already is.  To get to the good part down the road, it might sting a little.

So today I will make a list of what needs to be done to finish well.  Making the list seems overwhelming in an of itself.  But I've come to far to not finish well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ready to fight

I had to be out of town for a couple of days.  It was my mother in law's 80th birthday.  My brother in law bought a plane ticket for both his brother and I to go out for the event.  It was awkward to say the least.  But I was there for my kids' grandmother.  So I tried to make it about her.

I wanted to post about this last week, but I just didn't have time.  The "ready to fight" mode.  Asking a question that he thought I knew the answer to.  I didn't know.  The answer I got was snappy.  Hurtful.  Not the words but the tone.  We have never fought much.  There were maybe disagreements but I didn't share my feelings, my thoughts.  I wanted to avoid the conflict.  I learned to push it all down and deal with it on my own.  Work through my feelings in a vacuum.  Not good I know.  Which has led me to where I am today.  I know that.  I take full responsibility for that.

But back to this conversation.  I realized that we are both ready to fight.  There is so much anger and hurt there.  From years of not communicating.  In that moment I had my feelings hurt.  Started to cry.   i tried to hide that.  He apologized for his tone.  It was very amicable.  I guess.

This is an ugly time.  It's hard and uncomfortable.  The temptation to make it comfortable, go back to old habits, smooth it over.  That used to be a little nagging feeling I had.  Maybe I should suck it up and just be secretly miserable.  But I can't.  I won't.  I've learned things about myself that I won't give up.  I've learned new ways of being that aren't compatible with my old way of being.  And I prefer this hard path.  The horizon is promising.  It's just getting through the woods now that's hard.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today my youngest had a bit of a meltdown about going to school.  He's 6. In afternoon kindergarten.  He has the morning to stay in his pj's and play.  Do whatever he wants.  I've always liked that laid back schedule for him. Kind of doesn't really feel like my baby is in school yet.

But today he didn't want to go to school.  In all honesty this happens about every third week.  He'd rather stay in his pj's and hang out all day.  I get that.  I think it's totally normal.  Except for today.

Today I started to wonder if it's because he "knows".  According to his father, every mood, every sibling rivalry, every act of disobedience with any of the kids is because they all "know".  I'm not sure how much of that is true.  The oldest one, my 15 year old daughter?  Yeah, she knows.  Because she's almost a woman enough to get it.  She has a lot of the same issues that I do....feeling like she's never good enough, unable to share her true feelings for fear of rejection.  So yeah, she knows.

The others?  Maybe.  I started sleeping in the spare bedroom in our basement a few weeks ago.  I felt like I needed space.  My need to retreat.  Have a place to be without someone coming in.  Most of the kids know I'm sleeping there.  It is quiet.  And I can sleep undisturbed.  An important thing since I work nights and I need to sleep when I can.

Is that why my 6 year old didn't want to go to school today?  Or is that just my guilt kicking in?  Should I feel guilty for sleeping away from their dad?  Is it ok to give myself physical space while I find emotional space?  Am I already ruining everyone's lives?


For a few years when he was in the pits of his bad depression, I would watch him retreat into himself.  Into the basement.  He spent a lot of time away from us.  He's stopped doing that in the last 18 months or so.  He told me it was because he didn't feel like he had a place.  I had pushed him out.

Part of that is probably very true.  He was emotionally unavailable and not interested in the myriad of mundane things that needed to get done.  But life goes on with children around.  So I did it.  And like my mom who had little support or help from my step dad, I did it on my own without pushing him to be a part. So he began to feel at times that he had no place.

I am beginning to understand that feeling.  The desire to retreat.  After school I was here.  I made dinner.  I helped 2 girls with math homework.  I made sure chores were done.  I watched the little ones make snowflakes and paper chains.  I got a stinky one through the shower.  There was a rhythm here.  It was comfortable.

Then he came in from work.  I think some of the kids said hi.  He sat down at the table with his dinner. There was a little of the "how was your day" exchange.  I cleaned my kitchen and sent some to do a chore.  But then I didn't know what to do with myself.  The radio that was being listened to was turned off in favor of tv.  The vibe that was here was disrupted.

It wasn't angry.  Or mean.  Or unkind in any way.  It was just different.  And I found myself feeling like I didn't have a place.  I texted a friend.  I went for a walk.  I took a shower.  I retreated.

If it were just the 2 of us, him and me, that would be one thing.  But there's a family.  How do I stay connected to them when I so desperately want to be away from him?

Monday, November 28, 2011

where to begin?

I told him I wanted a divorce in September.

I decided for the first time that I didn't want to be married....I'm not even really sure when.  I remember a friend talking me into staying married in March of 2010.  I was turning 40.  I thought maybe it was a midlife thing for me.  But it didn't get better.  To be honest, I'm not sure that it could be better when only one of us knows that this is the last chance to work things out and the other one thinks that the marriage is sufficiently ok.  

But it hasn't been ok for a really long time.  Since the beginning really.  How do you salvage something that was broken so early on?  I won't try to place blame and say it's all his fault.  Because it's not.  In the past few months I've realized that I never meant to marry my father.  But I did.  Not that he tried to control me.  Not so much.  But I could never stand up for myself.  I never felt that my opinions mattered.  That what I thought or wanted was important.  So I let it be whatever he wanted it to be.  Vacations.  How we spent our down time.  Who we were friends with.  I lost myself.  Early on.  Even before I said "I do".  I wanted it to work so much that I did whatever it took to make him happy.

And that has been how it's always been.  If he's in a mood, I can fix it.  Even when I'm in a mood, I try to snap out of it to keep the peace.  I've felt at times that I was always working on keeping it together.  Except when he was at work.  Or out of town.  Then it was easy.  I could be who I wanted. Do what I wanted.  Think what I wanted.

So now I'm in this place.  Of feeling totally unknown by the man I've been with for 20 years, married for over 19 years.  With 6 kids.  How do I extricate myself from this life?  And who am I taking with me?  It's weird to see how lines have already been drawn.  I'm preparing for a fight and hoping that one doesn't come.  Then again, maybe all this pent up anger needs to go somewhere.