I walked out of the home with my final belongings, closed the back of the truck, and drove away. I took a few agreed upon pieces of furniture, but there was one item that sat on the shelf that I couldn’t even allow myself to touch: my wedding album. The fullness of joy I felt on my wedding day is in deep juxtaposition to the emptiness I feel on this day. It was the trigger: the thing that put me into my crying state for the past 12 hours.
I am so sad. Just so so sad today. I am sad that there was a promise that is now a lie. I am sad that I am watching my children bravely face their worst nightmare, the realization that their parents won’t work it out. I am sad that I made a choice that will have a direct dramatic outcome in three other individuals lives; not to consider the others I have dragged in this fun with me. I am sad that the dream I once thought I had is dead. And because that dream is dead, the person who once championed that dream is now dead to me too. I am sad that I continually try to over-analyze what I could have done different and how I could have avoided this outcome. I am sad that my children will always wonder if it was something that they did to cause us to give up on the promise. I am sad because I feel like I have disappointed people – people I care a lot about. I am sad on so many levels the feelings keep getting mixed with my tears and are’t coming out very clear in writing.
My 11 year old daughter came to me to remind me of something I missed. She asked me why I was crying. I told her it had been a hard day moving all the stuff out of the house. She looked at me and said “but you still have all the great memories in your heart.” I hugged her so tight. I do have the memories in my heart. I get to keep the good memories and make the choice for them not to be tainted by the divorce. I told her, “you are so smart to remind me that I will always have the memories in my heart and I have lots of good memories from our old house.” She then asked me how her Daddy proposed to me?
I had a choice to make, and make it quick. So I told the story. So I explained where we were and how her dad got down on one knee and put the ring on my finger. She got a little bored with the story as I gave some details of what music was playing, who was in the other room, etc. I didn’t cry. I told her the story. The love story. I told the story without bitterness, regret, or even sadness. I told the story with honor and integrity and made sure the theme of love was prevalent. Because even though the story has changed, that story was the truth at that time and no matter how bitter, annoyed, hurt, or sad I feel, I do not have the right to change the story now to fit my current circumstances. Even though our promise is not there now, it once was. I have the ring to prove it.
Being an “official” single mom over the holidays should be less stress for me than in year’s past. Sometimes he would come to family events, often he would not. Both scenarios stressed me out. If he was there, he was disengaged in the family activity. If he was not there, I was worrying about the fact that he didn’t want to come and making excuses for him when people asked. The difference is for the past 16 years he had a seat at the table. This year that seat will be gone. And it will be obvious. It will say, you are not invited to our family, fun holiday. You will not be here to see the kids laugh, wrestle, and joke around. You will not see them as they make up dances and songs and do non-stop handstands a plenty. And I will be sad. And I will try really hard not to cry. But I can’t make any promises. Because I am still getting over the last promise I didn’t keep.