Game Changer

Had one of those conversations with my parenting partner today that made me want to bang my head on frozen cement and stick and ice pick up my nose.  Ever had one of those?

There are a few hiccups in trying to have an “amicable” divorce.  The first is thinking that it’s always going to remain that way… like everything else in life worth having- you have to work at it. There are always “game changers” that come in to threaten the foundation of amicability every once in a while, and although usually worth an attempt at grace- other times I say:

“to hell with it- this is WHY most people can NOT stay amicable so why do I EVEN try????”

But then I come to my senses and think:

“this too will pass”

.. or not.

Here are a few game changers that stick out in my mind….( like the aforementioned ice pick)

1) The Divorce Attorney: regardless of any and all attempts to remain amicable and stay that way, the fact of the matter is that there are some negotiations, actions, adjustments and realities that need to get ironed out that NO ONE is left feeling completely awesome about.  There are lots of life changes and adjustments and lots of compromises that need to get made by all parties involved.   An Attorney by nature is set up to have the best interest of his/her client so when it comes time to put pen to paper and make everything legal is when usually the apple cart initially goes rogue.  This can be a game changer to the best laid plans to stay “friendly.”

2) Two homes = More places for homework to get lost or eaten by the dog.

3) Introduction of children to new partners, a *new girlfriend, or a few. or is it several? what’s the difference between those now?- I always get confused by “a few “or “several”  ok, never mind, which ever one is more.

4) A blogging X wife

5) A *new* girlfriend who reads said X wife’s blog and is not “happy” with what she reads  (???)

Now, I’m not at all implying that these are actual things that happen to all of us who have worked our asses off to think outside the box on this whole divorce thing….

just the lucky few.

 

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A Poem to Set you Free

The Bird Nest by Linda Apple

This poem by Mary Oliver has been near and dear to my heart since I first came upon it in the book : Ten Poems to Set You Free.  Before I was finally able to find the courage to speak up about what I wanted in my life and assert my own needs I would go to the bookstore ( B&N) which is something I’ve been known to do all my life.  Somehow walking through the shelves of books, touching the bindings, or reading the back jacket made me feel safe and comforted.

One of these many afternoons I found myself in the poetry section and this little blue book with a nest on the cover seemed to beckon me to open it.  I opened it directly to this page.  I remember my heart beating more quickly as i finished it, and a flood of emotion welling from me and I read it again and again as I just sat there on the carpeted floor in the safe haven of this poem that said it all, and I wept for joy…. it really did help set me free – nothing else could have explained what I was facing so eloquently… my family had no hope of surviving if I continued to remain a ghost.  This poem gave me the courage to do what I needed to do, and I hope it speaks to someone else out there today.  XO

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice —

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do —

determined to save

the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

One Woman’s Junk- Another’s Treasure.

I spent my night last night re-reading the many love letters my Father sent to my Mother while he was in Vietnam.  It’s so wonderfully bazaar to have access to those- and that time period in their lives.  I am so grateful my Dad wrote them… so grateful my Mom kept them, and so blessed to have been able to read them in order to learn more about who he was- being that I was only Twenty when he died … i just, never really got the chance- you know?

Coincidentally (no such thing),  I was at my old house yesterday with Mr. Goodbar and a friend for a few hours getting the third floor emptied. Although it sold in November the new owners are from “away” and won’t be here till summer so have allowed me to have this time to try to sell, move, give… all the “stuff” i’ve accumulated over the past ten years of my marriage and life.

The hardest part of moving (second of course to the sheer amount of SH*T you realize you’ve collected) is going through the “memorabilia” and deciding what to part with.  Children’s drawings and art projects, old cards and letters, books and journals…and then, well- what about the memories of our life together?  The cards between us, tokens from our wedding… the small clutch, the dress…. what do i do with those?

I ask, because here i am… an adult now, finally understanding through the tangibles of the past just who my father was, and how he and my mother built a life together.  I think about my children- will they appreciate some of these things? Will it help or hurt? There was more too of course… old yearbooks, awards, special tokens or letters from my past, from my own mother…

I think what I’ve decided to do is to keep a few sentimental things that help tell the story of my past a bit…. I think my daughter especially might enjoy seeing, touching, looking at things that represent an era, a life….  I have a trunk, and inside I’ll package these things for her to someday go through if she’d like… things she can choose to have, or leave behind.  It seems, after reading the letters from my Dad that he was not the only sentimental fool in our family….

it’s interesting the insights that these treasures from the past can bring.

XO

M

Divorce and Columbus

Sunlight by Christian Bothner

It’s a beautiful day. I wonder when winter will arrive in New England but I am not going to complain.

The winter used to scare me – a few years ago I was so overwhelmed and depressed and in denial I was unable to get out of my own way (bed).  Those days are not easy to forget, and yet… I tried every day to “feel better” – the irony is that I only started to really feel any better when I just allowed what was – to “be.”

Getting a divorce is like being in terrible storm at sea.  You think you are going out on that fishing trip of a lifetime and what you get is a hurricane of epic proportions – that was never on the weather indicator.

I have so much compassion now for those who are trying to raise sails on turbulent and treacherous oceans -and like the Rime of the Ancient Mariner  

“water water everywhere… and not a drop to drink”

Thirsting for resolution, peace, understanding, a map… solid ground.

My unanswerable question: “Is there ever going to be a time when I am happy again?” , “Will my family survive this passage to new lands?”

and then one day… after many many days of darkness, the sun finally sent it’s light to find us again… and the shore seemed less of a mirage and more of a possible destination than it ever had before.

I’d cast my net’s to fish for “a better way” of dissolving the life I knew… surely there were more productive places for that elusive catch- deeper pools where answers and possibilities swam like schools of an undiscovered species.  Could we navigate toward those? Pull up the nets filled with more humanity than the ones that come up -the “norm” –  pulling everything, including the demise of it’s natural habitat with it.  Was there a more sustainable way?

You can go out there alone I’m sure, but thank god my fishing partner was willing too, and helped me with the wild tangle on our decks to hurl and cast for deeper territories.

Thank you my friend.  Thank you my Co- Parent, Thank you my Wasband for trusting – despite the days we starved on that cold cold sea and wondered if we would ever reach the shore, and battened our hatches against the gales that threatened to destroy us all… thank you for believing that the two of us – even though we failed at the navigation … succeeded in the destination.

I will always love you.

M

Light, Love, Divorce and Family.

I am loving our new home/family dynamic since the move.  It’s always good to plan for the worst and hope for the best and frankly I was not sure how we would all fare living together for the first time.

Throughout the last couple of years the Goodbar and I had never put our need’s or desire’s over the kids.  Our old house was their house after all and so we’d wanted to be conscious and respectful as they got used to the idea that we were eventually going to go the blended family route.  He officially “spent the night” only a handful of times and to the kids it was kind of like a friend having a sleepover (it was kind of like that for mommy too). In the meantime – we did a lot of “discussing” with them what our new “family”  configuration might be like when it was time and I think it really helped them to get an idea and a visual in mind.  In addition I think it prepared them because they were able to ask questions and get answers.

I don’t think either of my kids really have much of a memory in terms of the “missing” of their Dad and it’s  Because our lives were so very different and our schedules completely opposite- they only ever remember being with one of us really, at any given time. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending how you look at it) we never really had a “family” dynamic.  We were existing, surviving, and avoiding- the kids were used to the tension, the excuses, and the hastily made and cleaned up and all to “rare” family meals… sad but true. In hind-sight I can feel a genuine sadness for all of us-  we just did not know how to “be” together any other way.   In hindsight I see that our break up was eminent… but we delayed, and tried, and strained…. “for the sake of the family”.

I appreciate and honor my wasband.  I always will- because I learned so much, and because I believe we were called to be together to bring our children into the world and be married for a period of time.   We had many many good times together and I believe that our “spiritual contract” was up long before we had the strength or awareness that it was time to officially pull the plug. I find myself amazed each day now as I experience such a different reality. One of happiness, peace, and unity- a true sense of “family.”  Both of us see now how deeply unhappy we were together when we were married, so now- we can simply enjoy each other for who the other is- instead of driving each other crazy that we are not the person we needed the other to be. He too is part of this new hybrid family, as he will always be my parenting partner. This new version is one we can all truly appreciate and that works- finally.

In the meantime I have a deep appreciation, respect, and compassion for those going through divorce. It’s heart breaking and painful- almost every step of the way.  It was one of the most lonely and terrifying experiences of my life and it was only through the support of a few select people that I made it through at all. When you decide to end a marriage a funny thing happens – everyone starts having their opinions, and judgements, and projecting their own thoughts and beliefs instead of just listening and being supportive.  Divorce can wreck havoc on close groups of friends who’ve all known and loved each other over the years.  It’s never easy to know what to do when a loved couple decides to split- it seems to threaten the very dynamic of the group- and we all have a deep need to stay in our comfort zone. So- in addition to the grief and pain the actual divorcing couple experiences, there’s so much more to it that creates all kinds of additional chaos for all involved.

Had I not gone through the experiences that have helped to shape me, I would not have grown so much, or been able to appreciate the difference of what I am experiencing now- and it’s with deep gratitude that I can now have perspective on those dark times &  truly appreciate and know the light when it shines itself into my world as it is now.

Thank you God.

New New New

New New New

Christmas was magical and my favorite quote of the season was by my daughter ( 9 years)  who upon Christmas morning as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes staring at the visual feast before her said: “Geez, I better … Continue reading

I Can Relate to Temple Grandon

I’ve moved.

It’s amazing how I can FEEL the shift ( I can see the HEAT!)  & how a location can completely alter your perspective of the world and your well being. I find myself feeling safe and contained now.. less anxious.  Maybe that’s why Temple Grandin felt the way she did when she put herself in the box to be compressed….  when the world gets overwhelming, you just need to start paring down.

I love my new house…and I loved leaving so much behind. Leaving the excess that has no role in my life anymore, and letting go of so many possessions, so many needless possessions.

I really did not think I would love it here the way I do here…. I do though… I do…

A place to make new memories, new connections, new traditions, new experiences.

Thank you God.

Thank you for my children, Mr. Goodbar, my home, my life, and second chances.

Thank you.

Photos to follow ( soon 😉

Moving On

My brood is in Alabama for the Thanksgiving holiday and I already miss them so.

I am “Moving” this week though and so it is such a blessing that I am able to actually get this done without sticky fingers and hyper extended mommy management.  I’m very excited for their arrival back next Sunday because they will arrive to their new abode and I think that they will be incredibly excited.

We’ve been preparing for months.  We’ve had countless conversations, and many goodbye big ol’ home ceremonies and even gotten nostalgic about this big beast even before leaving her~ yes, they will miss this house- she’s been good to us.

Each child processes this big move differently.  Since my son was younger when his Daddy and I separated he’s trying to process it all.
Manon on the other hand is just can’t wait to get this party started- she see’s a new bed and desk in her future… she was born ready.

I on the other hand am some where in between them… still processing all the changes AND ready to GO! This house holds far too many memories and has far too many needs.  In shedding this house I feel like I am shedding my own skin … it just does not serve me any longer… none of it.

It’s time to enjoy life now, and all of the joys that come with a smaller space.  I am feeling a deep gratitude for all of the blessings my life has given me over the past year that made this happening possible in our lives.

AMEN.

Rainstorms and Rainbows

Tonight I had one of those “divorce” experiences that must be common but that no body ever talks about.

The kids have been with their daddy these past several days (Memorial Day Weekend) and I was super missing them and just wanted to touch their blond heads with my lips and breath them in for a minute… no harm no foul right?

WRONG.

I had this tsunami of emotion wash over me that was so massive I felt like I was drowning for a moment.
There they were, happy faces, love and big mommy hugs and MAN, I miss my whole family.

I miss the times that were so few to begin with … and honestly, the rest are the visions and dreams of our family I created that took root in the womb of my own mind and grew right along with them.  It’s ok to be sad still right?  I wish for the day when I am no longer so saddened by the turn of events in my life, and can choose more naturally and quickly the optimism that is never too far behind the grief…

like the rainbow after the rainstorm.

(Thank you Mr. Goodbar for just holding me and letting me cry… you are my rainbow)

Revelation: Grace, Gratitude and Courage

Things are getting kind of exciting in business again and I find myself bumping up against my insecurities, my fear and my past.

I realize how resigned and cynical I have become as I hold myself back from believing that something good can happen to me again professionally.  Since I closed my retail stores and finally surrendered to a disaster of poor financial planning, economic meltdown, and divorce I’ve been fattening up on slices of humble pie in the meantime.

What’s most uncomfortable for me is who I had become at one point during what I considered the height of my business’s success. I had become somewhat arrogant and aloof to those around me and way too busy cutting corners with everything in my life so that I could look like i had it all handled- my real, and terrified self crouched under the surface of this superficial veneer just praying that I would not be discovered as the impostor I had become.

I was in way over my head, and had made so many mis-steps that seemed insurmountable to fix.  Struggling to pay vendors, keep up with responsibilities of family and work, and manage an already failing marriage was simply more than I had bargained for.  My thirst for success had brought pain and hurt to the people around me, and I had no one to blame for their departure from my life but myself.

These past two years have been spent trying to get back to the me that turned down the wrong one way street and begin again.

Is being sorry for the things you’ve done in the past enough to set things right?  Do I deserve another shot?  Can I make up for the wrongs I’ve committed, and most importantly have i really learned the lessons that have been offered?  These are the questions I ask myself.

All I can do is whisper my mantra I’ve adopted since this whole thing came crashing down:

“Dear Universe please grant me the grace to accept the things I can not change, the gratitude to live each day moment by moment, and the courage to begin again”