Not very many people write about this topic. I understand why.
It’s personal. Sooooo personal. Boundaries are a tricky thing when writing for the world wide web. What will my kids read someday? What is okay to say that will be still considerate of my ex? What is just too close and raw that it can’t yet be said out loud?
I’m still navigating these boundaries. Carefully and slowly as I feel compelled to write and share. Divorce can be like a dirty little shameful secret that a HUGE population of people deal with, but no one wants to open up about. All I can do is write from my own perspective.
The divorce is final now. Papers have been signed and sealed. Getting those divorce papers in the mail and seeing them stamped from the court was a moment simultaneously filled with feelings of relief and a stab in the heart. The grief is real. Families are all around me reminding me of how wonderful it is to have a loving husband and wife together, raising their children, and being a cohesive unit to travel with through life’s ups and downs. I don’t have that. I actually really never did. It hurts. Still.
And yet, another part of me is opening up to the reality that there are a lot of different ways to have a happy family. It’s not necessarily the cookie cutter version I saw in my head while growing up of mom+dad+2.5 children. Growing up I always had a loving family of mom+dad+3 kids. It was a lovely way to grow up. Overall I had a ridiculous advantage of being in a loving, healthy, emotionally available, financially-stable home in SoCal. I took it for granted and thought it was kind of a given. I got married really young because I believed that wanting that life and having faith and working to make it happen was enough to make it happen. I was wrong.
I’m learning that my family is happy now. We are ok. My family now consists of me+4. We are finding our groove and filling our home with laughter, routine, dance parties, paleo foods, yoga, messes, neighbors whom I adore, grandparents, loving nannies, art projects, lego building, bike rides, and major KonMari wonderful madness. I work full time at a real estate firm and still do photography/write on my weekends without kids or whenever I can schedule in a client. I play my yellow painted piano every single damn day. My favorite days are when my daughters put on twirly skirts and dance up and down the hallway while I play. My son is even starting to play by ear which amazes me. There are hard times. There are times when I crash into bed at 9pm after my final kid is asleep and I don’t really want to wake up in the morning and do it all over again. There are times when I don’t know how I can do all of this by myself. But then I realize that I’m actually not by myself. I’m alone but I’m not lonely. I have an amazing village of family/neighbors/friends/therapist/nutritionist/chiropractor that are ALL helping to keep me sane. I have goals and need to do better in certain areas. There’s always room to work and grow. There are times where I sob. There are times where I dance and twirl with my kids and feel like I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Basically, I’m realizing that it’s all going to be ok.
And when all else fails and everyone is throwing a tantrum (including me) then I decide to have a movie night – feed the kids popcorn and candy – pour myself a glass of red and we sit and cuddle/cry/watch it together. It really is all going to be ok. Together is the best place to be.