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.