Monday, August 25, 2014

Am I in love?

I just had an amazing weekend. Two days, three nights of vacation. Seeing places I have never seem before even though they are less than four hours from home. Incredible hikes and drives. Unbelievable cabins. Great company. It was so much fun. My girlfriends were pressuring me or details. First about the sex and then asking if I was in love. I avoided the sex answers immediately. (The sex was both incredible AND disappointing, a mix of both. I'm quite confident it is going to get better for a variety of reasons, though it will likely require me to communicate about it which won't be easy and will force me to grow.)
So, here's how I responded to the love question this AM:

"I'm scared to even think I know what love is. I don't think I do. You can't come out of a 12-year relationship where you thought you loved but realized you were actually in a disfunctional relationship without being very confused about what love is or isn't. I know that I want to tell him I love him, but instead say things like "I'm growing rather attached to you," or "I LIKE you D-------- G--------." I know that he is not PERFECT either as a human being or as a match, but that I am feeling very attached and extremely comfortable with him, and if suddenly he wasn't around it would leave a huge hole in my life. I don't know where that hard-to-see line is between recognizing that there is no perfect person and settling. I know I had the line in the wrong place last time, but oh well, that's how I got my boys and even with the troubles I wouldn't trade the years of love that I did feel for naught. I know that I want to be in the moment, but that I can't help but think of meeting his kids and future plans and trips together and shared grandchildren and the whole kit and kabooodle, and then I am terrified because thinking that way is not living in the moment, and I don't want to be attached for the wrong reasons and I don't want to be more attached then he is. But there's good evidence that he's feeling that way too. But he is a LOT like (my ex) in some ways, and that scares me. How much is to be expected and how much or which parts are red flags? There. That's the long answer.
As for sex. Some things about it were amazing. Other things not so much. The overall chemistry is great. So looks like I'm going to be challenged to learn how to communicate about sex, which is NOT easy.
There. Is everyone satisfied now? :). I love that you care and are thinking of me. You are good friends. :) I hope everyone has a good Monday."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

thoughts on emotional intimacy

Going to share this this evening with the man I've been dating...
Thoughts for this nice man I'm dating. First off, I'm not angry, upset, or hurt. I've been thoroughly enjoying all our time spent together, including the virtual time. This isn't a passive reflection about hurt feelings that I didn't address at the time so much as it is about me becoming clearer about what I want/need and choosing to share that with you. Giving you my cards, so to speak. Because why not give them to each other?! It's not a game after all. It's only in giving them to you that I can gradually find out if what we have is great right now or for the much longer term as well.

The other day when we were coming out of the store and them again at BV, you made sweet comments about which side of me you should be on and opening the door. You so clearly think about all those acts of chivalry. And you know that I find that endearing. But here's the thing, I'm complicated. Those little acts are just sugar icing when it comes to winning my heart. They are sweet gestures that while they do certainly demonstrate care and make me feel like I'm treated with extra thoughtfulness, they pale in comparison to the bigger ways of demonstrating and creating real care and intimacy, which is what drives me more than anything, or to extend the metaphor, what really nourishes me.

What I yearn for is someone who wants to know all of me. It's funny that old joke about how "to know" someone in the Bible meant to sleep with them. And yet, it's so true. My emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy are totally connected to my physical intimacy. (Not with every person of course, but with my romantic partner, the more the other forms of intimacy are there, the more amazing the physical is.)

I made a vision board last year at some point and put on it images of the things I want to bring into my life. One image was of a heart cradled in a pair of hands.  I liked that image specifically because it represented the idea that someone would cherish me and my heart, would treat me/it with genuine tenderness because he valued me.  For me, part of being valued is being fully known/understood.  And that's perhaps not easy because (I know) I'm more complicated in many ways then some other women.  Nonetheless, and perhaps all the more because of it, I yearn for someone who really wants to hold all of me, to know all my thoughts and feelings, who really gets me, from the trivial like how I take my tea to the deeply meaningful like WHY I love something and what I think about it and how it connects, contrasts or confirms what he thinks (a book or musical or workshop or whatever). My ideal partner will yearn to know me as much as I yearn to be known (and vice versa).

Now whether or not a relationship like that actually exists is a question I don't have an answer for yet. Maybe it's not possible at all with one person and life is about building a variety of relationships that can satisfy my need for this.  Maybe it's possible, but with someone else. Maybe it's possible and with you. That would be very exciting since I enjoy you in so many other ways.  Like I said, I don't know the answer yet. But I wanted to share this yearning with you to see how it affects how things unfold as we continue to explore each other.  

It gets more complicated because of my introvert-masking-as-an-extrovert nature.  I converse easily, I can gab away like anyone else, but the things that are most important to me, I don't necessarily feel like dumping out on the table.  I have to know that the person is really interested in them.  It makes a big difference to me whether or not I'm just spewing out my thoughts and feelings uninvited versus being encouraged to talk about things.  It's the difference between just sharing of myself without being asked versus someone really desiring to know me.  I don't know if this makes any sense.  And perhaps I have personal self-growth work to do in this area, but the first step is to know the pattern and I guess in relationship, the second step would be to let your partner know what you're feeling. 

Some of this you already do.  I've noticed how incredibly observant and thoughtful you are in a lot of ways.  Like bringing tea on our picnic.  Like asking me if I got a lot of work done when you know I was feeling stressed or asking me how I'm feeling.  You are definitely sensitive and thoughtful about the details, and I so enjoy that.  And yet, ego-centric human being that I am, I want more!  There have been many times when I've made comments or asked questions of you and found myself wishing that you had asked me back or responded more deeply or probed more, to really get to know me.  Now, like I said earlier, maybe that's too much to ask for from anyone.  Or maybe I'm just not going to get that from you.  Or maybe I might get that from you but you don't have the practice.  I can't every really know your history with Nannette.  Maybe things fell apart because she didn't feel like you cared about her on the deeper levels like that.  No amount of chivalry and superficial kisses on the way in or out the door is enough to sustain things. (I really hope that's not the story.)  It's also quite possible that she didn't need the level of emotional and intellectual intimacy that I demand.  I know plenty of women who aren't as complicated as I am, who don't need as much of that from their partners.  So, maybe you just haven't had the opportunity to practice that with someone yet, in which case, I'm really hoping you want to! 

In any event, I'll summarize by saying this.  I'm enjoying this relationship and these interactions and you.  For many reasons.  Enough so that I want to invest in any potential real future together by giving you my cards so to speak.  Here's how to play if you really want me to fall in love with you, should that interest you in the long run: If I ask you a question, definitely ask me back.  Ask me other questions.  Real and deep questions.  Catalog my thoughts and feelings so you start to see the patterns and form a 3D sense of who I am emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.  If I say I like something or that it is meaningful to me, probe. Ask me more questions.  Figure out why.  And the ultimate… share how that connects with your own ideas.  Ah, bliss!  Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it's like having my soul being invited out to play.  It's not just dinner and movies or hikes or whatever fun thing I'm enjoying with you, but it becomes so much more then.  Anyhow, that's enough.  I think you get the idea.  J  You know how I fall apart when you run your fingers across my arm or side or wherever really, that throw all caution to the wind feeling you've seen me demonstrate? Let's just say, if you can invite ALL of me to be intimate with you, well, you haven't seen nothing yet!  ;)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Get vs crush

It's 1am and I have to get up early in the AM for the first day of the summer camp I direct. What am I doing up so late? I can't do it now because of the time, but I really do want to write out the whole experience with the get. It was a profoundly significant day. So filled with meaning and ritual. Everyone who has to suffer through a divorce should have the gift or a day like that. It was the equivalent of a wedding day in reverse. Powerful. I really want to record more about it. But since it happened my emotional energy has been going instead into a distinctly different direction. I am developing some pretty serious feelings. Seriously giddy feelings actually. I maintain that I did/do not want to jump into anything, but we're doing exactly that! Oy! It's so hard not to. But relative to other people, I suppose we're taking it slowly. Second date was Wednesday. Third one was Friday night. Does a hike first thing Saturday morning count as forth then? He didn't sleep over, so technically it was a new date even if only give hours had passed since we'd seen each other last. Then he came by my office tonight. And we talk and mostly text multiple times a day. For probably at least an hour each day. I'm very attracted to him. I need to keep it under control. Or do I? He told his kids about me tonight!! That's huge!! I can't believe he did that. Especially since we both have agreed we didn't want to involve our kids until things got serious. How could this be happening so fast? We got divorced within 2 days of each other. I won't go so far as to say everything happens for a reason, which I've never believed, but it certainly gives me pause for thought. He's the invisible needle in the imaginary haystack I kept mentioning. Professional, intelligent, divorced Jewish father in MY little not so Jewish town. How is this even possible?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

First post-marriage kisses feel like FIRST kisses

Second date last night. Eight hours. Nice, good man. First kisses for each of us since marriage. Sweet sweet kisses. Then we hugged and held each other close because it was a clearly a big deal for both of us. This is right after I told him that "I don't know what 'this' (the relationship) is, and that's ok with me, but it's definitely getting my feet a lot wetter than I anticipated, and I'm ok with the lack of definition so long as he tells me if he sits with anyone else on a porch for hours and hours in the middle of the night. :) He is welcome to do so, I just want to know where I stand. Reminds me of that old popular poem from high school or college, "a kiss is not a contract." I don't want a contract or relationship at this point. I just want to know where I stand. And then he said (among other things), "well would it be ok if I kissed you goodnight?" :)
Oh my!!
Really really don't want to rush in to anything. Feel like I already have more than I should have. But it's awfully hard not too when it feels so satisfying.

In other news, getting the get today. Then going to bury the ketubah, then mikveh, then special little blessing ceremony. Big big day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Parenting is damn hard work

Extremely hard bedtime tonight. It seems when they "need" you the most is the same time when they can act the most frustrating. If only they could just calmly say, "mom, I'm feeling insecure right now and really needing some extra love from you," but uh, no. They throw their absolute worst at you making it so much harder to find your compassion and patience to give them what they really need. Ah, parenting.

Friday, July 11, 2014

First dates and live-in partners.

Next Thursday we'll have the "get" ceremony. Afterwards I think I'm going to go bury the ketubah somewhere in the forest and then have a mikveh and then maybe some kind of little ritual to bless my new life. I still get teary almost instantly when I think about the get and all of this.
What I won't be doing next Thursday is going on a second date. But I was invited on one!!!!! Went out last night on my first date. All started because I accidentally (truly, accidentally) hit "flirt" on this man on jDate. I guess it was just instinctual and reflexive. Couldn't help myself. Honestly didn't think it would really connect with him as I hadn't even subscribed yet. It was just on my phone in the Home Depot parking lot if I remember correctly. What else am I to do when a professional 42 year old Jewish vegetarian shows up in my email and he lives in MY TOWN!! There was no going back. I had already hit "flirt," and it didn't give me a second chance. No "confirm" or "are you really sure about this" button. So later that evening I was on the site, and he instant-messaged, asking if I wanted to chat, but of course I couldn't without subscribing, so after some debating, I plunked down my money and did just that. We messages quite a bit that night and the next and set a date to go hiking on Wednesday. It was lovely. A perfect first date post divorce. Exactly what the sensible responsible part of me wanted. Nice man. Cuter in person than photos. Sweet smile. Kind eyes. I liked his voice. Articulate. Conversation flowed easily. Hike was beautiful. NO sense of OMG I'm in love, which I didn't want to have. Just a pleasant time that I know was a mutual feeling. And we both are clear we're not looking to jump into a relationship with anyone. And then we've already messages each other several times since last night. As in again late last night and then this morning and this evening. NOT JUMPING INTO ANYTHING.

So while all that has been happening, other less pleasant things have unfolded. My EX (oh wow, gone is the STB part of it - and I know I'm supposed to call him my former husband or even better my children's father, but this is faster and easier) informed me Monday that he told the boys over the weeks that she would be moving in with them this month. That's right, get a divorce one month, have your "affair partner" girlfriend move in the next month!!! I'm not even hurting for me personally anymore. In fact not at all. I think she's a crazy fool. In many ways doing the same damn thing I did. Moving into his trashed run down shithole of a house and presumably going to help him fix it up. And to think that I said before we ever got married that I didn't want to have to raise a family in that house! That I didn't want to have just one bathroom that I had to walk downstairs from the loft to use in the middle of the night when I was pregnant. (I can remember saying that yet how odd, because how did I even realize that would be an issue when I was pregnant?) And here she is sharing that single falling-apart bathroom with my three boys, who pee all over the toilet and don't flush their poop!! Meanwhile, while looking for my new house that was one thing I was adamant about. There would be no sharing of bathrooms with my boys! Mama MUST have her own bathroom.
But I digress. The issue I'm feeling is how this affects my boys both in their short and long-term and how it affects my relationship with them. And most of my feelings are definitely coming from a fear-based place. I fear that they will grow up to be like their dad. I fear that my ex and his girlfriend's relationship will be successful in the long term and that that will mean that they really were meant to be together and that will somehow be a reflection of me. (I know this is irrational, but can't change the feeling.) I fear that their success will teach my boys the wrong lessons. I fear that I won't be able to compete as a parent because two of them are inherently going to do a better job than I can singly. I realize that's bullshit, and I'm an awesome mom, but I still feel that way. I fear that I'm going to have to be EXTRA protective of them as a result and it will take even longer for me to feel comfortable exploring a new relationship in front of them for fear of the impact on them. I fear that they will like her better than me and perhaps because she will be lovely and patient and charming or just a pushover (or they just won't push her in the same way as they do their mom) and I can't compete with that. And it's little consolation to be told that, "they'll understand in the end, they'll know what you did for them, they'll respect you more, etc." It just sucks.
Furthermore, she went with them on their trip to see his family in the Midwest. Not that he told me. And he was deliberately deceptive about it, picking the boys up from me at my uncle's house to go to the airport with her hiding out temporarily at her sister's house since she drove the two-hour trip to the airport with him and flew with him, but didn't show up to get the boys. 'Cause that would have been a little awkward. Not like it isn't going to be a little awkward when I see her when she is living at his house. But it's the deception that makes me so angry and that without actually asking the boys to keep it a secret from me, he put them in the uncomfortable position of having information that they felt uncomfortable sharing with me. Damn him. He's such an ass.
Ok. Better get some rest. Need to make challah in the morning and still be out the door with three boys packed for day camp by 8:45.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Giving and receiving

I've just picked back up Rabbi Irwin Kula's book Yearnings. Such a good book. This chapter was about giving and receiving. Summary: "Our yearning to give generously and receive gracefully is at the heart of our quest for intimacy."
This is one of my goals. To be good at both giving AND taking.
Watched Labor Day with Kate Winslet tonight. Good movie. But I'm left trying to get too much out if it. Over analyzing AGAIN.
No point in writing out all my thoughts on the matter at 2am. Sleep would be more valuable.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Sometimes inertia overpowers me.

That's what I was starting to write when the phone rang and I spoke with my good friend R for an hour. Now I feel like I can get up and get busy with all that I need to do. Of course now it's 11am!!! Don't know when I was last in pjs at that time of the morning.
Which means I don't want to spend time now filling in the big details of the last month like finalizing the divorce. (It's official. I'm divorced. As of June 18th, 2014.) And everything else. Another time. I need to get back to writing here though. I reread a little bit this AM when the inertia was keeping me in bed and realized that I've learned some of the lessons I was needing to learn when I was writing about them. So this is a helpful tool. Better than moping in bed. But no moping now. Get up and make a smoothie and then MORE painting!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Last night

I've been working at a break-neck pace for more weeks than I remember. Work, remodel, pack, parent, repeat. No sleep. 1am every night. 2am not uncommon. And there's sleeping is now defined as 7:30 and that's rare!!
But I've made it. It was a gargantuan task wrapping up 12 years of a family's life from this house. And the STBEX did NOT do his fair share when it was his turn to clean out. Not a surprise. Of course I can always argue the other side and say I guess it's fair because I kept most of the furniture. Anyhow, I digress. It's 2am and I desperately need sleep but I wanted to acknowledge that this night feels really significant. Last night in the house. Movers coming in the AM. Feels heavy. Pretty different from the first night. I would have never been able to predict this. We were going to be here until "we were carried out feet first."
So much more to say, but I am falling asleep. That's good actually. Better than awake with grief.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

separation, divorce, and adultery

P.S.  One more thing for the night…. the other day, spurred by a camp scholarship application a conversation came up with my boys about separation and divorce and I said, "You might not even realize that Daddy and I aren't actually divorced, but still only separated." NO said he knew. I followed up saying that the divorce would likely be final this month. MC who was sitting on my lap at the time chimed in without missing a beat, "unless you decide not to." We talked about that a little.  I tried to validate and honor his feelings (as much as he would even admit to having any), while still disabusing him of any notion that there would be a change of heart. I was surprised a little, because even though I know better, he's the one who always acts like this doesn't matter to him.  I asked him about that at the time. He indicated that he did care and then he said a couple of other incoherent things and the conversation ended. Incoherent not because he was too quiet, but because his words didn't form meaningful sentences. And yet I think his tangled thoughts spoke volumes. He DOES care about all this. It's just so big and amorphous and tangled up in his brain he doesn't know what to think and doesn't know how to identify his feelings about it.

P.P.S.  NO had to do a research project and speech on a famous person. He chose Einstein. I guess I hadn't realized that Einstein, brilliant genius of a man that he was, was a real schmuck of a partner. He fathered an illegitimate child with his first wife. Made a list of obnoxious rules for his wife. Left her for his cousin. Cheated on both of them repeatedly. I ran across all this information while helping NO gather information for his speech. We didn't go into much conversation about all this.  We summed it up in his 1st person speech by saying (in regards to Einstein's first marriage): "We weren't really a good fit. I guess I wasn't a very good husband in some ways." We kept our conversation about the topic very specific to Einstein and didn't veer into generalities. I can't help but wonder if he has made the connection or not. I wish he would just out and ask the question, "did Daddy have an affair." If he asked the question I would answer it. I won't lead him to the question. I intentionally tried to keep us in safe territory while discussing Einstein. But it drives me crazy to not know whether or not he suspects. Not sure why it matters. I don't want to burden him with the truth, but I want him to have an emotional response to information such as Einstein was a philanderer. If not about his father, just about developing a moral compass about right and wrong.  In fact I almost feel like I have to avoid conversations that potentially touch on adultery just because they might lead him to ask the painful questions and how do I teach my child that I am passionately opposed to such behavior while not making him feel crappy about his father?  So long as it doesn't come up I don't have to deal with it, but not dealing with it feels like avoidance.  I don't mean our story in particular, but the topic in general.

Sick and miserable

Sick. Lonely. Heartbroken. A lovely puddle of snot and tears.
I've succumbed to the germs. I held them at bay for several days, but by Monday night I couldn't ignore it and by yesterday it was all I could do to get to 2:00 at work. Thank God my mom was here and able to take care of the boys because I came home and napped from 2-5. With a few interruptions notable because, really, why, why did my sister really need me to get up and print something for my mom to sign for her apartment lease so that I could then take a picture of it and send it back to her. Really, it couldn't wait?  She said how sorry she was because she knew I was sick, but would she have asked someone else?  Maybe I"m seeing everything as relevant now when it isn't all relevant.

Anyhow. I feel like crap. I do not have time for this. I have a whole house to pack up and move and clean in the next three weeks. And a massive remodel project going on at the new house.  I feel like I don't have an hour to spare and yet, here I am. Stopped. Maybe this is my body's way of telling me to deal with some of these emotions.

I feel like I've been doing so well, and everyone looking in from the outside, including me is impressed at how I've rebounded. When people remark about it, I respond honestly, saying, "Yeah, I'm doing well, in fact if anyone would have told me a year ago where I'd be now, I wouldn't have believed it." And there's truth to it, but there's also more to the truth. It's complicated. I am doing well in so many ways, and the heartbreak is still right beneath the surface. It's a fragile scaffold.  Like a butterfly I guess.  I've emerged in some ways, but I'm still incredibly delicate. Though I don't think I look it from the outside.  It doesn't take much to trigger tears though.

This evening at the end of work, my friend and colleague walked into my office and we were talking about things and one thing led to another and I shared with him that the dissolution was nearly finalized. That STBEX and I had replied to the mediator's draft with comments back and forth and we have come to agreement on everything it seems. And as I said it I started crying. And now I'm starting to again typing it. Why? Why does that make me so sad. What about finishing the mediation is making me sad?  It's not that it finalizes the dissolution. Not only was there absolutely no chance that things were going to end in anything other than dissolution, but I don't even WANT them to end in anything but that now. So, why the tears? Why not relief that we have reached agreement (and I've largely gotten what I've argued for).  Satisfaction? A sense of accomplishment? Victory? Nothing close.  Just sadness.  Grief. And while I've learned enough to stop myself from saying, "why don't I feel ____, I 'should' feel…," I still don't understand why I'm feeling it. And I get that I don't need to. I just am. I'm just sad.  It doesn't have to be rationale. It's grief at the loss of the life I wanted. But naming it or even understanding it doesn't make it go away.

I am so filled with gratitude for my parents assistance on this house remodel. It's going to be fabulous, and I couldn't possibly manage it without them. They are beyond helpful and are working their tails off.  I'm worried that they're working too hard actually. My dad pushes himself too much, works too long of days and takes on a lot of physical work like framing, and putting up sheetrock. We are all very excited about the house and even more so about the prospect of living together (when they are in town in the summer). And yet, part of what made me melt into a puddle this evening was coming home to this empty house of mine at 7:00. The boys are with their father and I worked until 6:30 and then my parents had already gone to their temporary home across town after working at the new house all day.  And I felt overwhelmed with loneliness. This was the right choice. To come home and have a can of soup and go to bed early. No better choice. And yet it felt lonely. Even more so because they are here in town, but not here. And then I feel badly for feeling like they should have been there for me because oh my God, they were there working their nearly 70 year-old tails off for my benefit ALL DAY LONG. But, I'm learning not to tell myself that my feelings are wrong. Instead I can realize that while their choice was the right choice (this is not hard for me to accept), it's also ok that I was FEELING like I needed even more (that's the challenging part to accept). I have a rather insatiable need to be cared for right now, and that's ok. I might not get the amount of care I crave, and that may result in loneliness, but that's ok too. I don't need to feel guilty about that on top of it all.

And while I'm feeling all this authentic gratitude for my parents, they are also stressing me out. My sister and I have been mildly concerned for some time now about my mother's mental activity. She doesn't seem to really have anything to keep her mentally fit, and we have seen intermittent signs of forgetfulness or confusion. Nothing really serious, but enough that we've commented on it to each other a few times and wondered, unsure if this was something new or perhaps just the way she's always been. And then my father corners me the other day and says, "we need to talk." So, we've had several little conversations in stolen moments, a trip to the hardware store together, while doing some work at the new house when my mom was out on an errand, etc. He's frustrated and concerned. For some of the same reasons that my sister and I have been, but he's also frustrated because he is bored with her lack of mental vigor and feeling the need for space. I asked him if they've talked about all this. No, they haven't. He said it's too hard. The next day he approaches me again and among other things he uses the words, "it's gotten to the point that I'm not even sure what the point of being married is." I can't get his words out of my head. They just keep orbiting back into my thoughts. I haven't been alone with him yet again to ask him just how serious he was with a comment like that. Was this just a flippant way of describing the real frustration and concern he is feeling or is he seriously questioning his marriage.  FUCK!!!!!!!  I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS!!!!!!! I told him that they have to talk, as hard as it may be.  That this is not all that surprising given their age and the transition they are in the midst of. No wonder so many post-retirement is another peak time people get divorced. I can see their frustrations and how they drive each other crazy and I can also see just how they need to be more giving to each other. My mom is pretty good about giving my dad his space, but he needs even more.  She needs to expect that she isn't going to get any more of him than when he was working all those years. He still needs to be using his brain in all the ways that he was before. So, a few hours a day is all she's going to get. And my dad needs to realize all the ways that my mom is helpful to him and all her labors of love, going and getting lunch, dealing with phone calls, organizing and managing everything with a smile. He belittles her impact. And yet, I know they love each other. There's been plenty of evidence of that over the years. But I don't think he's feeling that right now, and that scares the shit out of me. He is asking me for my help to solve this problem and I don't want this emotional burden. Do they need counseling?  They definitely need to talk and have some hard conversations they have been ignoring. They need to remind each other why they love each other and do some reconnecting activities.  They need to do the hard work. It doesn't end, even after 45.5 years of marriage. But is it my job to get them to do this? I just can't take on. And yet I have no choice. It was dumped in my lap. And now I have fear over my mom's health and my parents' marriage piled on top of my own grief and stress. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's at 80. I can't bear the thought of losing my mom in the next ten years.  She's my best friend. And I can't even fathom the thought of my parent's marriage imploding. The death of my own marriage has nearly taken everything out of me. If my parents' fell apart it would be far far worse. They are all my hope. Their marriage isn't perfect. It's not a fairytale by any stretch of the imagination, but it's enough to keep me believing that marriage is possible. Even after infidelity, really rocky shit. When there's love and will.

So there I am. Jason Mraz's stupid song about not giving up comes on Pandora and I am reduced to a sobbing puddle of tears.

So much has happened recently and so much more is happening. I'm sitting on my bed. It's not even the same bed. The mattresses are the ones from the guest room. All the bedding is new since his departure. The beautiful cherry sleigh bed is gone. Night stands gone. Sold them all for a total of $400. Yeah. I wasn't about to bring my marriage bed (and coordinating furniture) into my new home. It really did feel like my marriage bed as we got it just a little before our wedding. A nice couple came and bought it. They left and I sat on the floor looking at the big empty space in the room. Heavy. "This shit is getting real," I texted a few girlfriends. I couldn't get up for nearly 30 minutes. Not exactly crying, just not really able to move from the spot.

How am I going to get all this done? All that's on my plate at work. All that needs to be done at the new house before moving?  All the packing and preparing for leaving this house. On one hand I don't think I can make it. On the other hand, I don't see what choice I have. I guess sleep is probably a good idea.  Imagine going to be before 11 two nights in a row.  What a concept.  I'll try it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wise words from Momastery

Haven't posted in over a month!  So so so busy. Sorting, purging, packing, moving loads, working (including some really hard personnel stuff at work that is trying me in new ways), Passover, coolest ever birthday party (of my whole entire life), demolition of parts of the new house, remodeling, oh my GOD!!!  Way way way too much on my plate.   (And the dissolution should be completed this coming month also.) I said to a colleague today that I really could use a vacation.  Not just the two or three-day kind, but a full on two or three weeks of detachment.  Ha ha.  Don't see any chance of that happening for a LONG time. And  besides all the logistical stuff in life, the emotional waves keep coming.  They aren't incapacitating at this point, but the flotsam and jetsam of these emotional tidal waves is still plenty overwhelming at times. Tonight with three minutes I went from joy to determination to rejection to grief all because of hearing Phillip Philips' song, "Home." 
Can't possible try to fill in all the unrecorded details, but I just wanted to put this here because it really struck me as profound.  This was from a posting from Momastery on fB: 

From Momastery:
...In other news- I'm in a funk. A days long, relentless funk. Cannot catch my groove. I've done all the things I'm supposed to do like exercise and prioritize and rest and pray and eat better and get fresh air and etc etc and no matter what I do I am still funky. I am funkier than cold medina. And so I am telling myself that this shall pass. I know it will. But even though I know that- I'm just really DOWN and so I thought if I couldn't get anything else good done - at least I could come here and say "Hey- I'm BLUE and If You're Blue too, you're not alone. We can be blue together, maybe. "

And I also wanted to say that if you're blue but afraid to admit it because you're supposed to be grateful for what you have all the time since there are so many with less - listen. I hope you know I'm all for gratitude. Good stuff. But- sadness is not a "first world problem." It's just part of the human experience. And we are all blessed/cursed with the ENTIRE human experience no matter where we live or what we have or don't have. So please don't tell yourself you can't be sad because someone somewhere is probably sadder unless you're also going to refuse to allow yourself to be happy because somebody somewhere might be happier. 

I love the part highlighted in blue! What a concept!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


My heart and indeed my physical body feels a little nauseated and overwhelmed from holding so many competing thoughts and feelings at the same time. This is going to be an overwhelming month I predict.
At the moment I'm descending to my home airport after being away for three and a half days. And the turbulence is shaking the whole cabin making me feel sicker than usual, but there's something larger at play emotionally as well.
Honest joy and excitement and gratitude mixed with GRIEF, huge grief, and trepidation and residual anger and judgement.
I will be closing on the sale of my home this week and likely closing on the purchase of a new one next week.
The divorce agreement is being written up by the mediator right now, and we will be signing soon.
I've been slowly reading Irwin Kula's book, Yearnings. It's so very good and yet challenges me at time. Just finished a chapter that made me angry. Probably even more so because I agree with it to some extent and agreeing with it forces me to let go of anger and judgement that I don't want to let go of. Righteous anger. Or is it? Such soul wrestling. This awful turbulence I'm experiencing right now is nothing compared to my heart.
On the ground, will write more on the matter later. First I get to see my sweet boys and be fully involved as a mom for the afternoon and evening.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Uncomfortable questions

"So neither of you really like the divorce so why did you get it," asks the MC innocently enough when both his father and I are standing there together."
I wait to see what his father answers. More silence.
The MC asks again, while swinging on the play set with his brothers and a tootsie pop in his mouth like we could be talking about anything casual.
"If neither of you like the divorce, why did you get it?"
I finally decide to answer with the old line about how it's hard not to understand and how I know he is wishing he had answers, etc.
He pushes his father for an answer who says, something like "we've talked about this before and that's what I've said before," or something dumb.
The MC is understandably unsatisfied and prods again.
I answer this time that "Daddy and I probably have really different perspectives on what happened," and then I excuse myself saying I need to go to the bathroom and change out of my Purim costume. I go in the house and then I hear my STBEX (really it is soon now, hard to believe still not actually just ex, but still "soon to be") tell the boys he's leaving and going to get in his car. Not a surprise.
So much for that conversation. What am I supposed to say. :( I hate not giving my child any answers, because I feel like he learns than that I have no answers when life gives hard questions, but what am I supposed to say with his father standing there. Not that I would have given the real answer had we been alone, but the context was all very uncomfortable.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy Day

Texted to my girlfriends:

I'm just so fucking happy right now I had to pull the car over and text you to say it. I would have never believed a year ago that I would ever be this happy. And certainly not in just a year! Thank God. Thank you. Thank my boys. Thank my family. Shit, thank J----- even. That bitch may have been the best thing that ever happened to me. :) Gorgeous sunny day here to match my mood!!

Addendum: just drove by MY NEW house. Could barely contain myself driving up there! So excited for this positive change. I'm ready to manifest some happiness. :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

house shopping and too tired to type

I've spent the last three hours house shopping the RMLS.  I had other things I wanted to accomplish this evening, but this took precedence.  So, now it's too late to process some important thoughts about how I frequently find myself worried that if I'm assertive about ANYTHING, that people will think, "well, see, that's what she's like, no wonder he left her."  I realize how irrational this is.
Would like to explore this further, perhaps in therapy, because it won't be here, at least tonight since I've fallen asleep a half-dozen times in this paragraph.  Must sleep now.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Four and a half months

It's been 4.5 months since we last met in mediation, but the day is here tomorrow. I'm feeling anxious and unprepared, despite the fact that there's really nothing I need to do to be prepared. It was his job to come to the table with a response to my proposal. Going to bed and getting some sleep would be the best possible preparation. But at 12:30am It's too late to have even done that much well. Even though there's anxiety and apprehension about tomorrow, I know it needs to happen and whatever the outcome, moving out of limbo into the next chapter with answers will help. Hopefully this stage won't drag on forever.
Hashem, help me tomorrow. I don't even know specifically what help I'm asking for. But... Help things fall favorably into place in such a way that creates the littlest acrimony and the most easy possible future path.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Post Massage Musings

I got a massage today. Started crying before the massage therapist was even in the room. All it took was the act of sliding between the sheets on the table that got the tears flowing. I don't get massages very often.  I've had maybe four or five over the last 15 years, but I predicted that it would be both draining and satisfying.  I was right.

I don't ever remember having a massage that wasn't ticklish on my back. I tense up so much when someone massages my back.  I enjoy it, and yet it can also make me tense up all the way down to my toes. I wonder what it would feel like to not do that. The massage therapist said with practice I could learn to relax those muscles.  It was really clear to her that I was carrying a lot in my back and shoulders.  She said I seemed very "guarded." I recognize that we carry emotions in our muscles and tissues and that there's an emotional-physical connection.  If you can learn with practice to be physically relaxed, what would the emotional counterpart be?  That might be an interesting goal. Where might I go on this journey of personal discovery and growth if I learned how to be relaxed physically for a massage.  If I was able to do that, what would that mean for my emotional health.  Then on the flip-side (in a completely contorted tangled acrobatic flipping kind of way), I wonder what it would be like to be so emotional healthy?  I feel like I'm pretty emotionally healthy now. If you've got it ALL figured out, then you don't really need anyone's help.  I realize even as I'm typing this that I've got faulty logic involved here, but this is the internal argument that I'm struggling against.  

I had lunch with my friend R today. We talked about how my divorce situation is different from hers because I have to, as she said, "buck up" for the sake of the boys. That's largely a good thing because it gives me a reason to be positive and move forward with my life. But when she said that, I instantly realized the connection between my tendency to "buck up" and my guarded back muscles carrying all that grief.

My dear friend who just broke up with her boyfriend (and who shares many of my same growth areas) is reading a book called Why Men Love Bitches.  Aside from my really not liking the B word, from what she's told me, the book makes sense and seems to corroborate some of the ideas that have been percolating in my mind about the failure of my marriage.  I was too nice. I didn't make him work hard.  Not in the beginning or anytime throughout.  And in theory, men need to feel needed.  They need to feel like they're winning something.  Now, given who he is, I don't think that he would have worked hard, but I would have gone through this all much sooner.  This is not about regret, I don't regret that I was in a 10-year marriage that resulted in my three beautiful boys.  But it is about learning from the past  for the sake of my future.  It seems like I need to learn to be more needy.  I know that's not quite right, but it's something like that.  And I should also learn how to fully relax and receive a massage.  I guess I need to learn how to receive.  That's the ticket.  Not to be needy, but to receive.  

Tonight, my divorced male colleague texted me at nearly 10 asking if I wanted to go out on a platonic date.  That was interesting and worthy of a whole blog entry in and of itself.  I drove him back to his apartment at the end and was talking about how I need an oil change, and he offered to do it for me.  I told him that wasn't necessary; he didn't need to do that for me.  He seemed quite sincere in offering, reiterating more than once that he would be more than happy to do it.  I of course told him that was very kind but unnecessary, that I could pay to get it done, he didn't need to spend his time doing that.  Now, this is a platonic work friendship, but I started wondering, how should I have acted differently if this was a romantic interest.  Would I take him up on it?  Would I have taken him up on it before?  I think taking him up on in it might be the right thing to do if I was trying to advance a romantic relationship (which I'm DEFINITELY not in this case).  Did I do that kind of thing with my STBEX?  In the beginning?  I can't even remember.  

The theme here is in learning how to receive, from oil changes to massages.  I'm understanding at a theoretical level that men need to feel like they are achieving something and feeling needed.  They can't feel needed if you don't need anything. 

When I dropped him off tonight, past midnight, we hugged goodnight.  I had double-clarified when we first got to the restaurant that this was indeed as he texted, a "platonic" date.  We were on the same page.  We talked about a lot of different stuff.  He's a nice guy, but even if I was ready to date someone, and even if we didn't work together, there would be no interest on my part.  There's zero chemistry for me.  Zero.  And yet, as we hugged goodnight, I thought to myself, how very much I would like to be held by a man and tenderly cared for, even just for a night.  If I didn't know him from work and if there could be such a one night stand, I just might have fallen for it, even with the zero chemistry.  What does that mean, just that I'm lonely?  

Crap. I'd better go to bed.  It's nearly 2 am, and I have a school to lead in the morning.    

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quiet Friday night

Last night continued into this morning with very nice agreeable behavior from my boys.  I was/am feeling so proud of them this week.  (Except that I got their report cards today and that's a whole other story - quite frustrating, but I'm as much frustrated with the school as with them over it all.) The last week has been so relatively nice that tonight with my boys gone I'm back to feeling sad about missing my family rather than relieved at the break. Wish I could have Shabbat with them (with someone else cooking the dinner and helping make it all happen). Sure goes in waves. Didn't anticipate feeling this way tonight.
I went to Zumba and now need to quick clean up and eat a little something before heading to shul, but I've gone from high spirits to melancholy. Not wailing on the floor like I have been at times along this journey, but there's a sadness there. :(

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nice normal night

Such a nice night with my boys. Just a regular night. Nothing special. Chores, homework, super simple dinner, swim lessons, bedtime routines. But all relatively smooth and feeling like a team. Hallelujah. Baruch HaShem.

"I'm well, thanks, how are you?"

"I'm not unhappy, I'm just not quite ready to be happy."
That's what Downton Abbey's Mary Crawly said in describing her grief process after losing Mathew about year earlier.
That's such a good description of the space that I've been in for the last few months. An oversimplification of course because some days have indeed been very unhappy. But largely that describes where I've been since late fall. I might be having a perfectly good day but the best I can muster is "ok" or "fine," if someone asks how I'm doing. Now I think I'm moving out of that stage into the next one. Into the I'm ready to embrace life fully and be happy again stage. Several times in the past week I've consciously thought about it and answered "I'm well! How are you?" when asked in passing. I just may actually be becoming that iridescent butterfly for God's sake. (Spiritual double entendre unintended, but it works.) Part of it was the trip with the boys. Part of it may be the pending sale of the house. Part of it may even be the year anniversary of his departure in the sense that a cycle of grief is closing in a ritualistic sense. And a big part of it in the last week has been an issue of perspective as two very awful things have happened to members of my community, as a friend has been diagnosed with cancer AGAIN after she has already lost her entire tongue and a good portion of her face to it. And another wonderful family is losing their daughter after a surgery went horribly wrong and she suffered severe brain damage. Puts everything into perspective. My heart is sad for them, but I'm also realizing how much I have and feeling such gratitude. 

As I type this, Dar's "It's Alright" came on. And it is alright.  Favorite lines coming true:

Because I have seen insane things,
It's a sad and a strange thing.
But it's time and I am changing.
Into something good or bad, well that's your guess.
I'm my own sovereign nation,
And it's alright, it's alright, it's alright.
And it's alright, it's alright

Now, I'd better get up off the foot of the stairs where I say down to check email after my run and shower and get to work!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oy, what an idiot.

A few months ago we started this every other Monday night one on one routine where, after I've had the boys for the weekend, STBEX gets one of them for the night to give him some one on one time with them. In theory it's because he has less opportunity for one on one time and so this helps make up for some of that. The idea was that it wasn't necessarily an extra special event night but just a regular night with a little not more attention. He of course has turned it into dinner out and movie night for our NO. I wasn't even flipping out about that because I could understand the argument that NO might make that there are some movies he doesn't have the opportunity to see with his brothers around. But the events of last night are real evidence of my STBEX's lack of emotional maturity and authenticity. What the fuck is he thinking?!?!?? As if he and his girlfriend don't spend enough time together every day at work, he takes her along to go out to dinner with NO last night. After he commented that it was a long spell to not see the boys over the three-day weekend because he didn't get his normal Sunday spell when I'm working. After he complains that he doesn't get enough time with them in general. So he takes the time he does have, some precious one on one time at that, and shares it with her? I wonder how much NO has really expressed to him that he doesn't like sharing him with her. He says he has tried, but who knows what has really transpired. I've tried to be supportive of NO without enabling him or trapping him in an unhealthy dynamic where he feels like he has to pretend he doesn't like her just to be loyal to me. Last time this issue came up he seemed pretty upset, and I tried to be empathetic without being critical of his father (NOT EASY). This time, he didn't seem upset about it at all and so I took my cues from him and just tried to be excited with him about the sushi restaurant they went to that he was so ecstatic about. I was so tempted to ask, we're you ok with J-- going, but I controlled myself.
But how could his father do this? That the big heartache. How could he fritter away this precious opportunity for one on one time with his son? I would relish it. What an idiot.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wait for it

"Mom, you know you don't always have to put it that way," says my middle child (MC) as I tucked him in tonight. He had indicted he was cold and so I was putting his baby quilt that I made for him over his other covers. He indicated that he meant I could put it with the back side facing up and then explained,"You made it with it in both sides so it can go either way. I've never seen another blanket like that." And then with a grin and twinkle, and utter sincerity, "It's pretty awesome!"
What more can a mom ask for? He's so funny. His cousin, same age (within three weeks), has loved his baby quilt to pieces that I made for him. I've re-quilted it three times. It is literally in tatters. My MC, in six years, has never indicated any real connection to his, until tonight. Sometimes you have to wait for it.

I'll wait for it with my boys. I'll wait for the validation that I've done right by them. That I've handled this all in the best way possible for them, to help them develop into responsible, emotionally healthy young men. To teach them (to the best of my ability) how to be emotionally authentic while not robbing them of a positive relationship with their father. I can do this.

I had such a great weekend with them. I felt so brave and bold. I took the three of them on my own to the mountain for three days of cross-country, downhill, and sledding. It was quite the adventure all by myself. First time they've ever been skiing. Not something we've ever done, so it wasn't even about doing something by myself. It was about doing something very new and challenging by myself. And I'm so glad I did it. There are so many things I want to show them. That if we work hard we can play hard. That we can do all sorts of things when we put our minds to it. That their mama is smart, capable, confident, cheerful, and wants them to have a happy life. I'm so proud of our adventure, of me for taking it on, and of them for their great attitudes while trying new things. They are great little novice skiers. :)

There were several moments when I was there that I felt so fully satisfied with my life. I thought, what would I have wanted him here for? He would have just held me back from all of this. And in fact, looking back, there wasn't a single moment when I was sad about not having a "complete" family. I've come a long ways. As we drove home today however, I found myself getting slightly melancholy at the thought of re-entry. So many things that I need to deal with that I haven't given a thought to in the last three days. So very satisfying. My eldest's teacher and educational situation that I need to follow up on. The house sale. The mediation process that I need to nudge my STBEX about. Work. That overwhelmed feeling kept coming back with each mile. But it didn't completely wipe out the positive feeling I have about our weekend.

And the best part of the experience was that I really feel closer to my boys. I feel like we were a real unit. Not that we weren't before, but it's continuing to unfold in new ways. I'm feeling more and more like we have a group identity with each other. We see ourselves as part of a team. That's what I've been saying for a year. And it's working. We have family meetings sometimes and other moments that are pulling it all together. And experiences like this will be part of that unfolding tapestry that describes and defines us as such. I feel like I'm both waiting for it, and building it at the same time. And it's working. I'm not saying it's perfect. The MC was a pain about helping bring things in from the car today, both NO and MC were embarrassingly obnoxious at dinner last night at a restaurant (we were the only customers), and there were other less than fabulous moments, but the good, happy, and/or proud moments far far outweighed the bad ones.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Same old same old

At what point is it going to stop being so awful that my boys are doing so much with HER? I guess, it's getting easier in a way. It's not overwhelmingly painful, just head-shakingly annoying. Not that they see that. I was the perfect co-parent today. Fuck yeah. I listened with enthusiasm as they told me about going to the movie with Daddy and J---- that they had said they so wanted to go see with me. "I understand," I say, "We'll go see another movie. There are several you've said you want to see."  "Sounds like fun," I respond when I heard that they went bowling with Daddy and girlfriend. But the winner was hearing that they when the winter storm caused a power outage at his house, they all got picked up in her car and had dinner and a sleepover at her apartment. Calm. Breathe.  I took it all in stride.  Didn't freak out.  Because I don't.  I take my cues from them. They seem happy? Great. "Well, it's nice you didn't have to sleep in a cold house," I say.
My MC says with enthusiasm that he likes her. He doesn't get it. Just as well. Better for him in the short term, and maybe the long term. The LO doesn't really seem to have an opinion. He's too little. He doesn't use her name, just calls her "Daddy's friend."It's my NO that is struggling. He has expressed repeatedly that he is unhappy about spending that much time with her. Wishes they could have gone to the movie with just Daddy. Didn't want to spend the night at her house, blames his little brother for refusing to go back home because he didn't want to spend the night in the dark cold house. I've gently asked him if he's talked to his father about how he feels.  "Kind of," seems to be his answer.  I don't know how much I'm supposed to sympathize.  I want to say something like it's hard, all these changes, isn't it.  But I'm worried even that might make him think I'm wanting him to think it's hard, to not like it.  But I think at some level he gets it.

And at some level, so does the MC. He is such an enigma. We were cuddled in his bed talking one night last week (in a rare intimate moment discussing the divorce experience) and he asked me questions again about what caused it. And he said, "is it because Daddy didn't talk about his feelings?" Where did he get that? I know I have NOT said that. I have said that one thing I've learned in this experience is how important it is to talk about our feelings and how I want them to learn how to be good at that. I have never made the connection with his father. I asked him where he got that idea.  From me? "No,"he answered, "Daddy said that."  I questioned a little bit more, and then he wasn't sure at all if Daddy had said that or if he just came up with that idea.  Interesting I thought.  That isn't the obvious reason for the divorce, but the fact that my STBEX refused to confront scary confrontational feelings MOST DEFINITELY contributed to the mess he got himself into which was part of all of this.

Anyhow, my big internal question for the evening was whether or not I should send him a simple text saying, "in the unlikely event that you find yourself with the boys and without power again, please let me know, and I'll take the boys and trade you a different day rather than taking them to her house." I decided to let it rest. Not at all easy to do. But I see no potentially positive outcome from it.  He doesn't abide by his agreements to me, so what does it matter if I ask him to respect that anyhow.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Found out that not only did my boys go to a movie and bowling with the girlfriend this weekend, when the power went out at their father's (on account of the ice storm), they spent the night at her house. Is this just to be expected right? Nothing I should be upset about? That's just how it's going to be?!? Do I say nothing? Do I send a simple text saying, "if you are ever in the situation again where your power goes out, please see if I'm available to take the boys in trade for another night rather than taking them to her house." Or is that not my place as a co-parent in this new fucking unbelievable paradigm?

Laziest weekend ever

I've just had the laziest weekend of my entire adult life. Lazier even than a vacation. I haven't ever gotten dressed today. I haven't done anything, except make eight quilt blocks last night for my cousin's twins' quilt project. I've read Time magazines and the newspaper (not even books!) and napped and watched movies. I truly can't remember a weekend this lazy in the last 10 years. It was needed.  It wasn't depressed; there wasn't crying or overwhelming sadness.  I wasn't paralyzed, just very still. Not still in a spiritual way with meditation or anything, just in a slothy kind of way. And it was good. Not fabulous, but like I satisfied some need. A need to be nothing to anyone, not even myself.
It was aided and made possible by the snow/ice storm.  Yesterday I only ventured as far as the corner store for milk and potatoes and then later at night went to my good friends who live right across the street to share dinner with them.  She's sick and I offered to bring over matzo ball soup.  It gave me an excuse to make and eat an actual dinner and to see some other humans.  Today, I never left the house, hence the not getting dressed.  I can't remember ever doing that as an adult.  Seems like even when I've been sick I got dressed to some degree.  Even with brand new babies there was some degree of getting dressed.  But when I didn't have to get up and go to work today because of the snowstorm, I just took it as an excuse to be utterly lazy.

There's been so much that's happened lately I find that I haven't written here because I feel the need to update.  But that's silly if it's just for me and not an audience.  I already know the big events of the past few weeks.  An offer on my house, the county-required parenting class for divorcees, the awful conversation about resuming the mediation process, the fear over not knowing where to live next and what to do, the frustration with my eldest son's education, the wii that is now part of Disneyland Dad's house, the argument/confusion over the parenting calendar, and so on and so forth.  It's been an exhausting emotional week or so.  No wonder I just had to not-exist in a way this weekend.  Tomorrow, back at it.  Exercise, work, parenting, etc.  The school's are on a two-hour late start schedule in the morning, but I'm going to be unavailable.  I'm going to go exercise before work.  He can deal with that late start.

Then next weekend I'm going to take them to the mountain for two nights and two days.  I've rented a room and we'll cross-country ski, sled, and downhill.  They've never skied.  It seems like a big adventure to try to take on my own, but I want to do it.  I want to use those new ski clothes I bought last year.  I want to show them that moms can make all sorts of exciting adventures possible in addition to making them work hard.  I feel intrepid! I feel mighty.  I feel adventurous.  What I really really wish is that someone was doing this with me, but alas, there's no one.  I won't let that stop me though.  And I asked another single mom friend and son to come join us on Saturday.  They won't be staying the night but will come play on Saturday with us.

I think there should be an online match up service that matches up families, especially single-parent families using algorithms like kids ages, interests, general values, etc. to make it easier to meet new family friends during this time.  There is a single moms and dads online search thing, but it is clearly for dating, not for friendships.  I think it's a great idea.  If I had tons of time and money I would make it happen, but I can't take this on, that's for sure.  :(

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bring on two months of joy!

Welcome Adar.  I open my arms to you.  To two topsy-turvy months of looking at the world upside down and backwards and finding joy.  Adar started tonight by the light of the moon, but I think it might have started around noon for me.  My realtor called to let me know that there was an offer on my house.  I had a showing on January 8th and then again on the 28th to the same folks.  It's not technically on the market, as we pulled it in October and were planning on listing it again in March.  The offer is 10% lower than the asking price, with a whole bunch of conditions, but there still seems like a significant reason to hope.  Such mixed up feelings.  I love my house.  And I'm scared, overwhelmed, and super excited to find a new home, to move out of limbo.  I don't want to get too excited; I know it is far far from a done deal, but I've also had a pretty good feeling about this.  I think my energy and mood has shifted somewhat and it's time to see some shifts in my experience as well.  It doesn't mean that everything is easy now, far far from it, but I feel like I've made it over a hump of some sort.
Tonight after putting the boys to bed, I talked with the STBEX for a little over an hour on the phone.  I don't know when we've ever done that.  Such a long conversation. Now I feel myself starting to cry again as I type this.  I got off the phone and felt both pleased with the feeling and outcome of the conversation and quite suddenly heartbroken.  How could I have a conversation that was so devoid of heartbreak with someone who has broken my heart so profoundly and whom I loved so very much just a year ago.  It's only been two and a half months since I sent him that letter saying maybe it's not too late.  I almost feel like I'm sad simply because of the lack of sad feelings.  But the conversation was probably as good as two divorced parents could hope for, all logistics and parenting: the offer, summer camp, parenting calendars, schedules, the new wii (that he purchased without consulting me and that I'm mad about) , NO's pain and heartache (of which he sees none), chores, the proposal for support that I'm waiting on for the dissolution, etc. A good conversation.  Stayed clear of anything too emotional.  Talked very briefly about the support proposal, just in that he needs to actually respond to my proposal from 10/14/13 quickly now so that I can move forward in knowing what my options are.  I made it clear that we need to move forward in discussing it, but that I didn't want to discuss it over the phone (mediation being the place of that).  I felt good about protecting myself.  He was looking for a little sympathy about his job at one point, and I didn't give it.  A man called the home number earlier this week and asked for his cell number or how to reach him or if I could take a message for him and give it to him, and since it was work related, I told the man to call him at work.  STBEX was probing about that; I could tell he felt it would have been better for me to not say that he no longer lived here or to have taken the message.  I told him simply that I wasn't his secretary and that it seemed appropriate to tell the man to call him at work.

Not to minimize the sadness that's still quite present much of the time.  Wednesday night this week, I was a mess.  Couldn't do anything with myself.  I struggle with loneliness so very much.  And the loneliness is bad enough without the accompanying pessimism that it will always be this way.
wok up an hour later sitting upright in my bed with my laptop on my lap.  and a stiff neck.  must sleep properly now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Odds and Ends

1. This from a Huffington Post article on Happiness I read today:

Can your yearbook photo offer insight into your happiness? Possibly. According to aDePauw University study, adults who fashioned big grins in their school photos were actually less likely to be unhappily divorced decades later. “The explanation with the most support, is that people who smile in their photographs have a more positive disposition and more extensive social network. When life throws us inevitable curveballs, those with a positive emotional disposition and strong social support tend to thrive,” explained study researcher Matthew Hertenstein in his book The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are. If you can’t stop grinning from ear-to-ear whenever there’s a camera around, there’s a good chance you’re actually boasting a positive disposition.

Interesting.  It should have probably been a big red flag that my STBEX had a suicide pact with his friends in high school.  Of course, I didn't have a positive experience in high school either, but pictures of me during that time in life were actually happy.  I was happy despite pretty much hating high school.  I found joy in my life in spite of it, and photos of me would definitely show smiles.

2. This past weekend, STBEX took the boys to the beach.  It drives me crazy that he has to put up a ridiculous number of fB pictures of them doing FUN things every single time they are together.  Then I was fB messaging with an old friend today who didn't know about the events of the past year and she had this to say: "And not to be petty, but even (hubby) commented on the desperation in his constant "happy family" posts. Come on dude!" I feel somewhat vindicated with that comment.  It is desperation.  But what bugged me the most about this weekend's fB photo vomit was that he put up half a dozen pictures of our boys at the beach but not a single one of his girlfriend, who was there with them.  I know she was because the boys have said as much.  I find it sickening and completely disingenuous that he would act as if he took the boys to the beach on his own, when really he had another grownup with with him for the day. Not just any grown up, but the woman that helped tear our family apart.  Not that the boys know that.

BUT THEN… the thought occurred to me tonight, that it's fitting in a way and perhaps it spells long-term doom for them.  How unsatisfying to have a relationship that no one in your life celebrates (if they knew about it).  He certainly wouldn't get many likes for those photos if he had her pictured in them as well.  So he keeps her out of them, because that gets in the way of any pseudo feelings of support he might experience.  Which means that their relationship doesn't benefit from any kind of social support (or very little).  One of the very things that made me sad in retrospect was realizing that he never complimented me or said sweet things about me in any of his fB or twitter posts.  It's not like I was dwelling on it.  I never even noticed it until I looked back at everything, searching for clues of any kind after he finally gave up on us.  That's when I realized the absence of them and the contrast to other couples.  And now, ha ha (yes, I realize this is a little shamefully vindictive) I realize that given this scenario, she's set up to experience the exact same thing!

3. I think I want to ask my closest friends to unfriend him on fB.  There's no need for them to be friends with him.  I think I can ask that of them.  But then I wonder what's the point.  It doesn't prove anything.  Maybe they can sympathize with me more if they are still seeing his stupid posts.  And I just looked through his list of friends on fB.  So so many of those people are disgusted with him.  The majority of the list actually.  They wouldn't invite him to a party of 1,000 of their closest friends.  That's why so few of them "like" anything he posts.   I guess that's just what fB is.

4. The potential buyer who came to view my home two weeks ago is coming back to see it again next week.  This would be so so wonderful.  I'm ready for my new life to unfold.  I wonder when I'll be ready to date.  Certainly not yet.  Not until I'm divorced.  Ugh, that word still sounds so very awful and foreign.  Still.  But not until then at least.  But when, next fall?  Will I be ready by then?  Not sure.  I'd like to be, but then again the potential scene also seems thoroughly depressing.  WILL NOT WORRY ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW.  TOTALLY UNPRODUCTIVE.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Getting up and out

At one point will it stop being hard to get myself out of bed on mornings when I don't have the boys and don't have a certain time I NEED to be somewhere?? Will I always be so sluggish and unmotivated in the AM? It's beyond just being tired. I think I could stay in bed for a couple days. And then that feeling snowballs into feeling badly about myself because of it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Feelings jealous and then ashamed of feeling jealous of my acquaintance who had the same thing happen to her this past summer. She's in such a different place. Of course, she's relatively wealthy by comparison and men are asking to date her, so her experience is different in some ways and I'm jealous. Her kids (older) know the scoop and are giving their father all their anger and shit and she is feeling liberation and this great new life. And apparently they do regular family dinners and go on ski trips and spend all this time together in this new arrangement and she can just slip into this new relationship with him and I'm feeling like there's something less than about me compared to all of that. I KNOW that is not the right way to look at it, but I can't help it. I also KNOW I should not be so quick to judge my feelings and "choose" new ones based on what I want to be feeling, but it's hard. Feeling jealous feels wrong. But I am. I'm terribly jealous of her and her brand new BMW and trip to Turkey planned and ski trips and men asking her out. (And I don't even want a BMW!!) I know I need to have a positive attitude and visualize all that stuff manifesting in my life, but that just seems like one more responsibility to put on my plate. She's not having to work hard to make that happen. Why should I?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"But it's ok, right mom?"

This is such an emotional workout. With exercises like choosing not to have an inappropriate emotional response when while snuggling with my six-year-old he says, "I like Daddy better than you now. I mean I love you both, but you know how when I was little I liked you better, now it's kind of the opposite, but that's ok, right?"
Give me a f'ing medal for putting up with that and still snuggling him and kissing him goodnight. I did tell him that while it was good to be honest about one's feelings that one also might want to think about what would be hurtful to other people. He's something else. So hard to figure out his wiring. So complicated. Mostly he's just wanting to spend more time with his dad. He's noticing that the schedule isn't equal, and he wishes it were more so. I feel like a traitor because I don't let him know that I don't actually want the schedule to change to benefit his father. When he says that he knows the schedule is like it is because Daddy works more and indeed they saw Daddy less than they saw me even before "the divorce," I refrain from clarifying. That's true.  It's just not the entire truth.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Just emerged from my room to find him quiet but not asleep in a sleeping bag on his big brother's floor. At first he thought he was in more trouble. "I wasn't making any noise," he said plaintively. I kissed him, patted him, and told him that was a good solution and that I loved him. He seemed soothed by that. Good God he's a challenge.

No team players here today

All three of my boys were a totally uncooperative all day today from the time their father dropped them off until they fell asleep and that leaves the MC still being uncooperative as he is awake and being disobedient nearly two hours before being tucked in with a lecture, a kiss and hug, a prayer, and no story for doing pretty much nothing that I asked all day long. I've now locked myself in my room so I don't use regretful parenting tactics.
I get that the bottom line is that he wants/needs more one on one time with me, but I'm too frustrated with him to give it tonight.
And then I feel guilty because upon reflection he hasn't had much one on one time with me in the last few days. We had a great vacation, but it wasn't one on one time. In fact, there was probably less of it then usual. And then he was at his father's last night and run when they came back today he got none of it either. And he could have had some today, but we never got to any of that kind of thing because all day they were refusing to unload the car and do a few other simple and reasonable tasks.
So maybe the lesson here is to build in one in one time with each of them when they come back from their father's, even if it's just 10 minutes per boy, before trying to do anything else.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I took the boys to the beach for the three nights.  We had a fabulous time.  A single-mom friend and her son joined us for two of the nights, which was great because I got some quality one-on-one adult time with her and there was an extra hand with the boys.  Most significantly though, I was and am happy.  Unadulteratedly happy (pun not intended, but actually, it works quite well).  I feel like me again.  I don't know how long this will last, and I don't expect it to stay like this.  I expect steps back in this two step forward 1 and 11/12ths steps back journey that I've been on.  But I can honestly say that Thursday as I was driving the boys to the beach and then Saturday morning when I went for a run along the shoreline, that I felt pure happiness.  Not happiness with a side order of grief.  Not, stop and thing about all you're thankful for and get happy - happiness, but life is good and I feel it enough to run down the street not caring who sees me bouncing along, pumping my arms in the air singing as I go.
I haven't felt like this since before the bomb dropped nearly 14 months ago.  I feel like I got my old self back.  The grief is still there, but rather than holding it at bay, it just wasn't strong enough to even try to come out.  Instead I kept feeling (not thinking, but feeling), how blessed this life is.  How much I love my three boys.  How much I love going on a trip, even if it's just to the beach.  How gorgeous the weather was, how beautiful the scenery was, how… on and on and on.  I like my life.  And maybe, just maybe, it's even better than it was.  Maybe.  That's pushing it.  I don't want to get carried away or I feel like I will spiral into grief again.  But just for those moments, it was.
I am beginning to understand that the secret here is in the word AND.  I can acknowledge that maybe this life will be even better without having to give up how wrong this all is/was.  It's really hard to do that.  I feel like being happier (as opposed to just happy), means that he was right, and that I was wrong about splitting up being the wrong thing to do, that this really is better.  And as soon as I start thinking  about it, I focus on how I don't want to give that notion up.  I don't want to give up being right about that.  Why's that so hard?  But I don't want to digress in this direction.  I just want to put down evidence that I've been happy.
Somehow, something about the above question made me think of a teaching Rabbi Y. gave recently.  He was telling a story about the Baal Shem Tov.  It was a longer story about faith than I'm going to relay here, but the bottom line is that the Baal Shem Tov argued with a critic who was telling him that he couldn't accept something, and the Baal Shem Tov argued back that the man "could believe, he just didn't want to."  Somehow that fits in here.  I can, but I just don't want to.  Is there any value in exploring why I just don't want to?  Not sure.

:) But that's a tangent….
This weekend I was an iridescent grateful butterfly.
And there's a showing for my house on Wednesday, maybe this is the one!  I'm visualizing 2014 coming together with beautiful new beginnings.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Healing the broken bits and watching the oh-so-enlightening Tudors

Facebook messaging tonight with one of my dearest friends (who at 40 and childless, just broke up with a lame excuse for a man) and a friend of hers (who is also 40 and whose husband of just a year or two dumped her for another woman)…. I had this to say…
Regarding knowing that we need to move on… If I may sound so enlightened.. (ha ha… that's what comes from having a therapy appointment today)… you'll move on when you move on. The more you push it, the more likely you'll leave behind broken bits of yourself. The more you give yourself the space and time to grief and heal ON YOUR TIMELINE, the more likely your whole heart will move forward. Wow, don't I sound wise. Here's to 6 months of therapy. The metaphor's all my own, but my therapist has been urging me to NOT just try to push past this and make myself "get over it."
Dare I say it, but I like what I said there, about not leaving behind the broken parts in a hurry.
Also, sorry about your well intentioned friend. I've found it to be exhausting and a strange and bizarre shove backwards when people tell me I'm strong or I'm doing well or I'm looking happier. It's hard to explain, but it feels like it makes my ENORMOUS grief less visible or real or present and I want to shout out, "No, trust me, I'm really still hurting here." So, I'm sorry people haven't been patient with you. 
That being said, I can tell you that I am now beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel of grief. It isn't constant, but I catch flickers and glimpses. I'm headed towards it. May you both be headed there on your own timelines as well. Night. 

And then I cozied into the couch to watch another episode of the Tudors.  I feel juvenile, plebian, and even a bit grandiose for saying this, but I can't help but see parallels between the portrayal of King Henry VIII and my STBEX.  I'm not suggesting that my spouse had the same legendary, world-altering significance as that infamous king, but the emotional and mental acrobatics seem disturbingly familiar.  
The writers have done an amazing job showing how a narcissistic mind twists and turns to stay on top, in control, and free of blame, the last being the key parallel. Sometimes there are such amazing manipulations of thought-processes that I'm left stunned at how well the writers could capture what I thought was my own personal gymnastics match in trying to understand my husband's perspective on things. Obviously they weren't life and death issues as in the case of King Henry and folks like Sir Thomas Moore or Anne Boleyn; they were usually much more prosaic every day dealings, but the moves are the same.  Watching how that kind of mind can play the controller and the victim at the same time is disturbingly familiar. They distort reality like a fun-house mirror in order to demand sympathy, be blameless, and get what they want. It makes me realize that my relationship was part of a nameable pattern of behavior that wasn't unique to me and my experience. I thought I was just watching this show for a little escapism and smut factor. Who knew it had some ah-ha moments in store too?!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Last night the boys and I said goodbye to losses in 2013 as well as things we want to intentionally leave behind in the old year. We wrote things on paper and put them in the fire. What boy isn't going to like doing such thing? But not only did they get into the pyromania of it all, but I'm pretty sure they got into the idea as well. Losses included: Great-Papa, Violet (the cat), being a family in one house together, and for me, the STBEX and I as a couple. I didn't think I would share that with the boys, but I decided to do so. To talk about how it's not something that I'm looking for anymore, it's as gone as Great-Papa is gone. It's not coming back. I thought it might be helpful for them to hear that from me so they aren't holding onto empty hope as I know my NO might be.
We also put in things that we want to get rid of such as hitting, yelling, bad habits.  (That one was all NO's.  He came up with that idea, and when pressed to define, he said farting and picking his nose. Ok, then!  Sounds like a good thing to say goodbye to to me too!) I put in being so sedentary, putting other people's needs before my own, and thinking too much about my feelings instead of just feeling them.  We had good conversations about the papers.  My LO and I put "potty in diapers" into the fire, but I'm afraid we didn't have immediate 100% success on that one.
Not to focus solely on losses and things to give up, we also made trees with wishes for the new year. Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year for the trees is coming up in just a couple weeks, so it seems fitting to think about promise and new growth in the form of trees and baby leaves.