Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











My last post came off as, well… defensive.

I didn’t really answer any questions.  I feel a need to justify my choices, even when there’s no one out there to justify it to.  Even when I know that I’ve made the right choices, or done the best I could, I have this desire to garner approval from unknown entities that may or may not actually exist outside of my head.

I guess I desire that approval from within, as well.

It’s been said by some wiser than myself that it is not important to understand the things one does, so much as it is to understand that one has done them.  In that vein, there’s no sense in dwelling on the past and trying to understand “mistakes” one’s made, if one knows that pattern has existed and it’s time to do something different.

Nowhere to go but forward, right?

I had actually meant to address and embrace the truth in all those hurtful things that were said.   Because in every lie, there is a kernel of truth.  The image of an oyster and a grain of sand comes to mind.  A tiny speck of sand somehow finds its way into an oyster’s shell, which I imagine, might be a bit uncomfortable to the oyster.  But the oyster remains passive, doesn’t struggle against it (because, really, what means has it to do so?), and over time, the oyster sheds enough of itself to coat the sand and grow a pearl.

When others say hurtful things, regardless of the truth in those things, I want to turn their words into pearls.  Over time, my inner goodness will overpower the discomfort and pain those words can cause.

All that aside, I have a task at hand.  I am to explore the question: “Why did I wait so long to actively work on the divorce?”

Having said that understanding why and how the past happened isn’t as important as understanding and accepting that the past did happen, it’s a valid question that she asked, and she deserves the best answer I can give her.

I’ve taken my time to think about it because I don’t want to give an incomplete answer.

Was it because I was still in love with him, or attached to our life together?  No, oh nononono no.  I was so relieved when we broke up, and even more so when he moved out.  I’d been living a lie for years, and hadn’t known it.  He had bored me since before our first year was up, there was no challenge there, and for some reason, I refused to see it for a long time.

Actually, I was chicken shit.

I saw it in the last few years.  But didn’t do anything about it.  Confrontation of any sort gives me the runs.  I get panicky, fight-or-flight sets in.

In this situation, I think I did my part to make the marriage as unbearable as possible so that I wouldn’t have to be the one to call it off – or if I was the one, it would only be the logical conclusion.

Then once it was over, and I’d said the words, “I want a divorce,” why didn’t it follow that I jumped on that paperwork and filed immediately, instead of stalling?

What happened?

I pointed to the kids, and said, “They need their father.”  I pointed to myself and said, “I don’t need a lawyer.”  I refused to believe he was still capable of manipulating me.

First, it was money.  “I can’t afford a divorce.”  Then she said, “If you really want this, you’ll find a way to make it happen, and fast.”  I couldn’t argue the truth in that.

At first, I thought we could do it ourselves.  I bought a packet for $35 at Office Depot complete with a CD-Rom and how-to manual.  Filled out everything pertaining to me in the first week of having it, and gave him his share.  We agreed to meet once every two weeks to discuss the parenting plan and get everything notarized and filed.  Once every two weeks because it was clear that agreeing on the parenting plan was a daunting task.

After a month and a half, I realized I really couldn’t do it without outside help.  He could “understand my point of view” regarding what I feel the children need, but he couldn’t do it because, in his words, if he didn’t have the kids at least half the time, he would have to pay child support and he couldn’t afford that, and if he had them more, he wouldn’t be able to work because he couldn’t afford child care.

I stalled again.  This time because I was so uncomfortable with the struggle at hand and tired of struggling and I just didn’t want to face it.

I’m like a turtle.  I move slowly, and when I feel endangered, I pull my head and limbs into my shell.

This time, though, my best friend was having trouble with her ex-husband and the way he was treating their children, and she got fed up with him.  I took inspiration from her, and decided to grow a backbone myself.  I’d made up my mind to tell him what the arrangements were going to be, because I know what’s best for my kids, and I can point out how this arrangement is hurting them.  And then Pickle and my mom, while both admiring my nerve, suggested that I go ahead and get a lawyer lined up first, before telling him, just to be safe.

I called Legal Aid and got accepted, and got the paperwork.  I filled out most of the paperwork in the first few days, and only had  a few financial details to fill in before notarizing.

Then tax time came, and I decided to wait until the tax return came before filing it.  And I cleaned the house and accidentally threw the paperwork away.

It was about 3 weeks before I called the lawyer for new paperwork, because I was working during his office hours.  Why I didn’t think to leave a message in his off-hours, I don’t know.  Pickle thinks that, subconsciously, I was stalling again.

Once I called though, the paperwork arrived that week, and I had it all filled out, notarized, and turned in less than a week later.  Now, I’m waiting on the lawyer to file with the courts.  It’s in motion.

From the first DIY divorce packet in December to now, it’s been five months.  Pickle and I had been together for six months in December.  Her question, “If you were legitimately broken up with him before I came along, if that relationship was really over, why did it take you six months to start the whole process, and why has it taken you five months since that point to actually file the paperwork?” gives me pause.

I understand the first six months.  I was in a spirally, twisty place with no perspective.  Completely ungrounded, unbalanced.  I had no business being in a new relationship, and I knew it.  However, things happened as they did, and I didn’t have the strength or confidence to change it.  In retrospect, it may have been better or easier for Pickle if I had said, “Whoa, I’ve got baggage I need to sort through.  Let’s wait until my divorce is final, let’s just be friends for now, love each other from a distance.”  Heaven knows it would have afforded me the space (and motivation) to work on my shit.

Shoulda coulda woulda.  I don’t believe in regrets.  If anyone were to find themselves in the position I found myself, I now know what kind of advice I’d give, if asked.  But I don’t believe in regrets, and I do believe that things happen as they’re meant to, even if there are multiple paths one can take.

She and I had a lot of hurdles to jump.  We have a stronger relationship now for it.

But the last part of the question – why did it take me five months to get established at Point A?  Life happens and I’m a scatterbrain and blahdeblah… none of that helps me to be accountable for myself.

Filing wasn’t hard at all.  Once I got it done, I was amazed at how easy it was.  I’m known to make things harder for myself, a form of sabotage – when things are good, I have to go and complicate them.

I’ve known from a very early age that when life is going well, and everything is as it should be, I get very uncomfortable.  It’s like… something is going to go wrong eventually, so, subconsciously, why not just make something go wrong so that, at least, I know when it’s going to happen and how, and I’m the one in control.  I fear being out of control.  It’s probably my biggest fear, next to creatures with stingers.  But that one, I’m learning to conquer – and it’s related.  Bees and wasps, to me, are extremely unpredictable creatures, but I’m learning to watch them, to be able to predict their next move – and to be ok with it when I’m wrong and they land on me.

I want to be ok with it when life is good and things happen and it’s not my doing.

Even when it’s not my doing, I somehow find a way to make it my fault.  I know how to be sorry.  I know how to fix things that I’ve broken.  I don’t quite get plugging away through adverse conditions that I didn’t create.   If I don’t have myself to blame, I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to hold someone else accountable (well, on paper, I do, but practically speaking is a whole different matter).

Self-sabotage.  I think that’s what it is.  How much does she love me?  Do I even deserve her love?  Putting her emotions and psychological health through the wringer because, somehow, I don’t think I’m worthy.  And then… if she leaves me… it’s because I did something wrong.  And because I don’t deserve her, I knew it was coming all along.

Oh I know it’s horse crap.

I know she’s perfect for me, and we belong together.  I know this, my logical brain is very smart, and it tells that broken little girl inside me just how silly she’s being on a regular basis.

But even still, she’s still there, and she deserves her recognition, too.  That broken little girl.  And the more I’m aware that she’s working on me, the more I see how her patterns are affecting me and the choices I make, the more I can find ways to hold her and calm her and show her she’s worthy of love – from within and out

The other day, I had a dream.  I was riding an escalator up and passed an advertisement that I’d seen a few times already, earlier in the dream.  The ad featured a polar bear exhibit at the local zoo, and had the tagline, “Do Polar Bears Need Hugs?”

I woke in the morning with the strong feeling that my subconscious was trying to sell me on something.  I googled the question and got wonderful pictures of polar bears playing with each other and with other animals, hugging.  Heartwarming stuff.

I asked friends, what do you think?

The answers I got varied and really the concept that resonated with me most was this: No matter how strong one is, everyone needs a hug sometimes.  That is what keeps us strong.  One of my tasks right now may be simply to acknowledge a challenge, acknowledge that the source of that challenge may need some love, and move forward.  It may not be for me to give that love, but the simple task of recognizing the need for compassion or affection may be all it takes for me to go on.

That broken little girl in me needs a hug.  She tries so hard to be strong, and feels so bad when she’s not.

My Pickle needs all the hugs she can get.  I’ve put her through hell and back just to prove she loves me, and not even been aware.

This divorce needs compassion and love.  I may not be the one to give it, but I won’t stand in the way of it.  It’s a process of growth and change, and it’s fraught with challenges.

I’m on the escalator and moving up.

Life is good. Pickle loves me, I love me, our kids are amazing, and we’re all growing so fast.



I’m not sleeping so well these days.

I go between lumbering about in zombie-mode and shutting down completely, trying to keep all my pieces together.

It seems I only write when things are not so well. When things are good, I don’t have anything to puzzle out, so writing is the farthest thing from my mind. I want to milk the good times for all they’re worth.

I don’t even know where to begin this time. It started on Monday, when she had a bad dream that involved me cuddling naked with my ex on a couch, right in front of her, and looking at her like, “So, what’s the big deal?”

Neither of us takes our dreams lightly. We believe our dreams carry messages from our subconscious, answers to our deepest questions in a sort of code form.

She feels like she’s been taking a backseat to him all this time. She feels, at times, like our whole relationship has been built on a lie. She wants to know what I haven’t told her about the nature of my relationship with him, why he felt the need to hang on for so long. She wants to know why, if in my mind, the door is shut and bolted, have I been dragging my feet on getting the divorce done.

She’s asking so many hard questions, questions I don’t have ready answers to. I need to think, and I’m a thinker-out-louder, and I don’t have anyone to think out loud with besides her, and oh, that is a recipe for disaster. I do have the answers, but they’re buried under a bunch of garbage and baggage and things that don’t matter, and I have to uncover them.

I’ve been accused by more than a few people of inconsistency in answers of an emotional/psychological nature. It’s not because I’m throwing out answers until I get the one that seems to be what they want to hear, as some people have charged me with doing. It’s because it takes awhile for me to get at the root, to sort through the pile of dog crap and dead leaves that covers the root. I protect my heart by being excessively open – if I tell everyone everything, no one can hurt me – about everything in my life except emotions. I play them off. Depending on how safe I feel, I express myself passionately and vivaciously, or I play my feelings down, avoid burdening those close to me. When I do that, I cover my injured spirit with a bandage of sorts, a little piece of scrap cloth or rubbish. And then I leave it alone, until I can’t ignore it anymore.

And then there’s just so much piled on top of it, that thinking in my head is incoherent and confusing, and writing isn’t a whole lot better, except that once I lance that festering wound, I can examine the contents of what was inside visually, and try to sort it out from there.

My close friends number two. I used to have a lot more. I’m the kind of person who has a hard time making close friends, but once I do, it’s for life. But a lot of my friends turned away from me when I separated from my ex. For the most part, I’ve made my peace with that and am moving forward, making new friendships. I’ve been given a new perspective on what really matters, and I enjoy that. One part of growing up that makes so much sense: experience leads to wisdom, and I don’t have to make the same choices I made in the past because those lessons have been learned.

A week ago, I would have said I had three close friends. Two days ago, the one who has been the most supportive of me throughout the relationship with my ex and the separation from him, had a little too much to drink and vomited words all over my partner that ended up angering her and bringing me to my knees in pain and frustration.

I think I have a handle on things, I’m ready for the next challenge to come my way, I’m going to be the calm in the storm, I’m going to be ok… and another one bites the dust.

Let’s call her Cupcake. This friend of mine. Cupcake helped nurture my children when they were very, very small. She was the only one, aside from me, who could soothe my daughter to sleep – even her father couldn’t. She was the one who came over, and when she saw the pigsty of house we lived in, helped get the kids down for a nap so we could clean together, or would take them out on day trips so I could work on tidying up all day, with no interruptions. She never judged me, never made me feel inferior for not being able to keep up. I can’t count the number of times she sat me down, though, for a heart-to-heart, to tell me she thought I deserved more than my ex was giving me. He could be a more involved dad, she’d say, he could help around the house. How can I help you? she’d ask. How can we work together to give you what you deserve?

When that relationship was over, she was my silent sounding board, only saying what needed to be said, only asking the questions that helped to give me focus. She vowed not to take sides between the two of us; the only side she’d take was that of the children’s.

Sometimes she would complain that she had offered childcare for him so that he could go and do other things, but he wouldn’t return her calls. He never liked her – because she told it like it was and didn’t sugar-coat things for him. And, while she knew that, she still wanted an active part in the lives of the children, and tried to reach out to him to facilitate that, and he ignored her attempts. At first, anyway.

Now, suddenly, she’s drunk and has my girl pent up in a corner, and feels the need to tell her all about how happy he is to have the chance to stay home with the kids full-time when he has them, how I robbed him of that chance because I had to stay home and care for them. She said he was working 50-60 hours a week so that I could sit around on my ass and do nothing. She told her that, when he and I still lived together, I was going out so often and getting drunk so often I couldn’t deal with the kids. That he didn’t want kids but he had to make me stop blowing lines, so he agreed to talk about having a baby if I would stop. She said so many things that were the opposite of everything she’d ever said to me in the past, she said so many things that angered my girl, and my girl came home and said horrible things to me and called me a liar, and I broke.

I can’t be the calm in the storm when the waves are crashing down on me. I can’t be the lifeboat when I’m coming apart at the seams.

Pickle was angry because Cupcake had told her things I never had.

“I never told you those things because they didn’t happen!”

Pickle was angry because she was trapped in a corner having to listen to things she had no desire to hear, on the same day she had a dream that reinforced her fear that I’m going to hurt her and I’ll never get closure from him.

She was angry because everything Cupcake told her had a little ring of truth to it, and with all the emotional upset, she couldn’t narrow it down for herself, and it was all too much.

He never did want kids – that’s true. But he also didn’t know about the coke until after B.R. was over a year old. We got pregnant by accident. Plain and simple. I didn’t manipulate him, and he didn’t make any promises contingent on me being a good girl.

I originally never wanted to be a stay-at-home parent. When my son was a baby, I went back to work when he was two months old. I was nursing him, and he was an avid nurser. He nursed for comfort as much as sustenance, and for whatever reason, he needed a lot of it. So I had to work in the early hours of morning, while he still slept. I usually got home about an hour after he woke up. Sometimes he would take a bottle of expressed milk from his dad, but usually, he was waiting for me. Anytime B.R. cried, his dad would hand him to me and say, “He’s hungry, feed him.” He didn’t try any other tactics until B.R. was considerably older and easier to distract. He worked 35-40 hours a week. Housekeeping and cooking were still my responsibilities. Like many new moms, I was lucky to get a shower to myself for 5 minutes. I would hop in the shower, B.R. would cry, and less than 5 minutes later – regardless of the fact that I had just nursed the baby – his dad would come in and tell me he was sure he needed to nurse again.

With that exhaustion, and finding out that the woman I worked for was forging my time card and shorting my hours, it just seemed like a better idea to stay home for a while.

I did start looking for work again, when he was a little over a year old. And then I found out I was pregnant again. I wrestled with the idea of going back to work. I wanted to, and at the same time, my second pregnancy took a lot out of me from the start. We were also moving, and once I started showing, I worried no one would hire me because I was pregnant. Silly things, and yes, truth be told, the idea of going to work and not being with my little guy saddened me. His dad offered to change his work schedule so that we wouldn’t need childcare and one of us would always be home, and honestly, though I never told him, I was nervous about the prospect of leaving B.R. in his care that long.

I’ll admit it. I have control issues. And part of the reason that my kids don’t have a solid foundation with their father is my fault. I could have made it easier for him to be active in their lives from the start. That said, I did make it easier after my daughter was born. I gave him opportunities to be home with the kids more, one-on-one time with them.

He called himself a babysitter.

He never worked 50-60 hours a week. He was lucky if he worked 40. And I never sat around on my ass and did nothing. We didn’t have a T.V. to entertain the kids – I was their entertainment. I spent my days doing messy projects with them, taking them places, working in the garden with them. When they went to the neighbor’s house to play, sometimes I would read, but more often than not, I spent the time cleaning house. And he’d come home, snooze on the couch til dinner was ready, serve himself first. He’d help pick up dirty dishes, and then at bedtime, read to the kids. Then I’d go in and snuggle them, and he’d go watch T.V., and usually be asleep before 9pm.

I had my own room. The silence of the house was oppressive, and I’ve only recently begun to learn how to entertain myself when the kids aren’t up or nearby. I felt lonely, empty, and restless. Many nights, yes, I did go out. But I didn’t often drink – certainly not to excess – and I usually managed to come home in time to get enough sleep to be a good mother to my babies. I was, however, deeply depressed. The only thing that could get me out of bed was the children, because they were the only part of my life at the time that felt right. I was miserable, and it showed – but I was never in a place where I “couldn’t handle the kids”. If anything, I was in a place where I couldn’t handle the charade we were living in which I was essentially a single mom with outside income – we were living the 1950’s nuclear family nightmare, and I couldn’t keep up appearances anymore.

So the relationship ended. I was a mess. That relationship had been a facade for years, and I couldn’t figure out what I was fronting for, what had been underneath that imagery I’d put up for so long. I felt terrible for hurting him and lying to him, but I was thrilled not to be beholden to him anymore. Even though I still was.

I made him step up and be a dad when he didn’t care and the kids didn’t want him. I made him share custody with me. And now I’m kicking myself because he now has an investment in it that isn’t about the kids, but about keeping up appearances. He has a statement to make about how guys can be good parents, about how gender roles don’t have limit one’s ability to be a good parent. It’s not about being there for the kids, it’s about showing them and the world that it’s possible. It’s a tough distinction to make… but it’s like the difference between Edison inventing the lightbulb and drawing a diagram that shows it can be done, and even going so far as to build it – but never turning on the switch.

Later, I’ll continue my musings in part 2 to attempt to answer the question, “Why did I wait so long to work on the divorce?”



{April 4, 2010}   In this season of growth…

Now that she’s working less and spending more time at home, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up with the writing.

I’m totally smitten by her. Much to her chagrin, I’m sure, I’m like a lost little puppy dog at her heels. Which is probably why she felt for so long she never got any time to herself.

That used to be a good thing. But deceptively so. It’s a co-dependent thing. We lose our sense of self-identification when we don’t have time to ourselves.

She came to me in a time when many of my friends abandoned me, when I had to pack my things and move out of the home I’d lived in for three years – the only real home my kids had ever known. She came to me when my life was unsettled, and she settled me. She was security embodied.

We decided early on, for some reason unknown to both of us, that we were It. This relationship was going to work, no matter what.

I have never been in a relationship I’ve wanted to work so hard at, or had to work so hard at, as I have at times in this one. I have never cared so much about another individual’s well-being that I’ve pushed myself beyond my own comfort – beyond what I thought possible for me – to Grow.

Sadly, even my children, until relatively recently, didn’t push me as hard as she does. Children adapt to their environments. We adults should adapt to them – at least more so than I did for a long time.

We’ll be celebrating our first anniversary in one month. It’s bittersweet. We’ve made it this far, through a hellish year, and that’s something to celebrate. But I’m also still technically married to my ex. I’ve put off the divorce stuff – had a number of excuses.

We tried the DIY divorce, but I wasted months on trying to get him to agree with me on what the kids need. He disagrees. Finally, a couple of months ago, I realized that outside help was needed, and I just can’t do it on my own anymore. Then I went to the initial intake appointment with Legal Aid and they accepted my case and gave me paperwork. I filled it out immediately – and then lost it. Probably threw it out by accident. I’ve been meaning to call and have them send me new paperwork, but I’ve been working during office hours for the last three weeks.

Excuses.

I don’t know why I put it off. I don’t want to be married to him anymore. I don’t really want this hanging over my head. I know that I can’t even think about marrying her or raising babies with her until it’s all over with. She can’t even properly consider herself a step-parent to my kids because, until it’s all said and done, there’s still uncertainty as to where she stands.

I want it all to be done. I want it to fix itself. I want someone else to make it go away. I fix other people’s problems. I avoid my own like the plague.

She makes me face my own reality. It’s why we’ve made it this far, it’s why I’ve grown so much.

I wish I could give her something more than Pearl Jam tickets and a long-coveted book for our anniversary. Tomorrow being Monday, I will call the lawyer before I go to work, and get the new paperwork sent to me. First chance I get, I’ll get it notarized. With any luck, the ball will be rolling before the month is over, and maybe that’s something.

I’d originally set a goal to be divorced before the end of June. I’d still like to try to make that happen. A lot depends on him and how cooperative he is. But the delays on my end are done.

I want to give her some security, settle her like she did for me.



{November 13, 2009}  

It’s been kind of a melancholy day.
Pickle and I didn’t get to spend much time together on her days off. Meetings, meetings, more meetings. We did go out, against better judgment (really can’t afford it), but we needed to get out and forget about real life for a while. This afternoon, I met with the kids’ dad and let him know that I think it’s in the best interest of the kids to live with me primarily. I don’t want to cut him off from the kids; on the contrary, I think it’s better for his relationship with them to do it this way. That way, they can segue into building a relationship, rather than trying to force it overnight. It was a rough and emotional conversation. He was very defensive and angry, and accused me of not giving him a fair chance to make it work. I held my ground, and it was hard to do because I’m so used to giving in to him just to keep the peace, but if I give into him, he has no reason to make an effort to make changes that work for everyone. He’s done no research whatsoever into what’s best for the kids, how to decrease the impact of divorce on them, and when I’ve present him with tools and resources, his reaction has been, at best, lukewarm. This is a big part of why Pickle is so angry with him, and she’s right to be. Towards the end of our conversation this afternoon, he told me he was going to get a lawyer, and this has me worried.

Neither he nor I actually have the money to hire a lawyer and go to court, which I think is a terrible idea anyway. It’s going to hurt the level of communication we’ve worked so hard to achieve, create animosity that doesn’t exist, and cause more stress for everyone, especially the kids. They’re smart and perceptive, and they’re going to know something’s going on, and not have a frame to put it in perspective. But if he were to lawyer up and take the whole thing to court, I don’t know what to expect. At this point, when the kids are with me, they have their own room and bunk bed, and they have a play area of their own. We have a car, and we have the means to save for the future and provide for emergency situations. When they’re with their dad, however, he is working part time so as to spend more time with them and not worry about childcare, and doesn’t make a lot of money. He’s living roommates to afford the rent in a three-bedroom house where he and the kids share a room, and they have no personal space of their own. On the surface, it looks like the courts would favor me, especially when considering the reason for my wanting them to be with me full-time is that they haven’t had a solid relationship with their dad up to this point, and sending them to live with him would be more like sending them to live with an uncle. The catch is this: the income that we have is primarily Pickle’s. I work part time, and actually make less than the kids’ dad. From what I’ve read so far, Pickle’s income doesn’t count as my income because in the eyes of the state of Kansas, we are nothing more than roommates; even if Kansas did allow gay marriage, and we were married, her income wouldn’t count towards considerations for child support, but it might help to build a stronger case based on my own income, because it would be *our* income then, legally. As it is right now, she has no legal obligation towards me or the kids, so it wouldn’t really help in court, from what I understand. Now, in our community, same-sex couples can register and be recognized by the city as a couple, and be given certain privileges that hetero couples share. We could do this for a mere $75 (which we don’t have right now anyway), but I don’t know how much that would help in a family court, in which the rules of the state still apply. Besides, it’s the wrong reason for us to put ourselves on a registry.

I’ve been having dreams lately where I’ve had to leave my kids with their dad because it was safer for them, or better for them somehow, and I’m terrified that it’s going to come down to that. My babies need me, and it would just about kill me not to have them in my life. I birthed them. I nursed them. I raised them. For five years, I’ve been the parent to them. I am scared to death that I will lose them. I don’t know what I would do.

Pickle’s been so good to me. When I came home this afternoon, she said, “Let’s just go upstairs and hold each other.” She’s been so worried about me, and where it’s usually me to wear the optimist face in the darkest times, she’s been assuring me all day long, “Everything will work out just fine.” She’s such a cynic herself, but it really does help to hear those words. In my life, I try to have faith that if I examine my motives, and follow the course of right action, and stand firm when I believe I’m doing the right thing, everything will work out in my favor. It usually does work out that way. Everything has a reason, and the PTB’s have a design of their own. I have to trust that it will work out. If not, I lose myself in worry and anxiety, and I lose my direction and myself.

So I’ll repeat to myself time and time again, “Everything has its reason. Whatever will be, will be, and right now, it is what it is. I can learn and grow from this, and I will.”



{November 8, 2009}   She’s like fingers and toes

I’m currently reading Mom’s House/Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci.  Within its pages is a quiz one can take to assess their personal resources for coping with the high stress associated with a divorce.  A score of 95 or above indicates adequate resources and successful coping.  I scored a 96.  I am just barely over the threshold.  I looked over my answers to see how I got the result, and realized that if it wasn’t for Pickle, I wouldn’t have even made it to the threshold.  She’s the one keeping me together .  She says I do the same for her, that I keep her sane, though I find that ironic because if she weren’t with me, she’d have a whole lot less stress in her life.  Most of her stress lies in dealing with my interactions with the kids’ father and being the primary money-maker in a family she really never expected to have, much less overnight. 

I have a certain amount of guilt that I need to let go of.  She chose to be with me, knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, knowing that she was committing to my kids.  I didn’t twist her arm.  We have such a solid connection with one another and we balance each other out so perfectly.  She knows exactly how to push me, to motivate me to be the best mother, girlfriend, partner, person that I am.  It’s not just about potential waiting to be released, it’s about what’s already there that I am using and need to acknowledge and maximize.  She’s smart and she sees things so clearly the first time, and me, it takes a few opportunities for slow observation before I get it.  I really have to study things.  Both approaches have their advantages, and it’s why we work so well together.  It really showed earlier this week when we undertook a major house-cleaning project.  It takes me forever to clean the house because I’m extremely detail-oriented.  I can’t see the big picture until I’ve put all the details together.  So I tend to focus on one specific area to the detriment of the whole.  She, however, sees everything right out, and tackles all the obvious things first to create the sense of harmony she needs, and the details get worked out in the process.  Together we make a great team and, may I just say, the house looks and feels fantastic!  But when the balance is lost and the responsibility falls on only one of our shoulders, the other becomes resentful, and the house falls apart – physically and energetically.  The same is said for the way we communicate with one another and the way we support one another.  As long as we are about each other’s boundaries and practicing true give-and-take, we maintain harmony.  I’d say effortlessly, but it does take some effort.  It’s just much easier with her for me than with anyone else I’ve ever been with.  It’s quite refreshing.

In the case of my separation and my kids, she’s had to repeat herself a thousand times over, to the point where she’s exhausted herself trying to point out what she feels is the obvious: their dad took advantage of me, was less-than-adequate as a father when we were together, people who haven’t changed in the past aren’t going to change in the future, I need to do what’s best for the kids and quit sparing his feelings.  She’s right, on every single count.  And I’ve known it, but I really have to marinate in it, to understand the whys and hows of every angle, and that takes time.  And she’d like me to Fix It Now.  Obviously, it would be much easier on everyone if I could wave my magic wand and do just that, but this is the real world, and I must be practical.  So it takes a balance of her pushing and me stalling to get things done at the right pace.

I can’t even describe how amazing and inspirational she is to me.  How much I love her.  I haven’t lost myself in her, I’ve found myself.  I need her, but not in a survival sense – I know that if she were not in my life, I would be fine and I would pull through and be a good mother to my kids, and I would survive.  I need her in the sense that I need my fingers and toes.  They are part of me, they are useful to me, and if they were to be taken from me, I would be in a lot of pain for a very long time, and, though I would learn to adapt, I would be limited in my ability to do the things I used to do with those particular digits.  She’s not my backbone, she’s the one that pulls my shoulders up and reminds me that I already *have* a backbone.  She’s not my knight on a white horse, she’s the compatriot that finds me scavenging in the woods and guides me in how to take advantage of the resources available to me, and by the way, I know where you can find a horse if you need one.  She’s not just a lover, and the word “girlfriend” is so inadequate.  She is my life partner, in every sense of the word, and she just boggles my mind.  How did she come into my life when she did?  The timing couldn’t have been worse, and at the same time, it couldn’t have been better.  I guess that means it was perfect.

She was supposed to be off work at 5am tonight.  As soon as she went in, her boss cornered her with the “choice” of either running to the airport and coming back at 6 am, or staying on until 6 am.  At first, I was just livid because she stayed on late last night as a favor to a coworker; besides, if this were a daytime job, the expectation that she would be able to stay on an hour late wouldn’t even be there.  People have lives.  But really, it was more than just about her being taken advantage of by a boss who claims to be her friend.  It was also about me needing her comfort tonight.  I need to hold her in my arms.  I am so very sad today.  I’ve been in a state of slow realization just how little support I have to go through this divorce, and how little experience I can call upon from my circle of friends and acquaintances.  The support I do have is awesome, and I’m lucky to have that much – there are people out there who have less – but it’s unfair to Pickle, who needs support as much as I do.  She is my main source of support now.  Almost exclusively.  I have others I can call on once or twice a week/every few weeks, but they’ve got their own stuff to deal with.  And I have no idea where to go for help.  None.  I feel very lost and alone.  Except when Pickle’s around… she makes it all go away.  What an unfair burden to put on her, right?  Except, I guess, I do the same for her.



{November 7, 2009}   Introductory Post

I’ve decided to begin a sister blog to my original, with this one having the focus on what it means to be a lesbian and a mother.  I’ve been trying to find resources that are applicable to my situation, and there just don’t seem to be too many out there.  I’ve run across others looking for the same kinds of materials, and it’s a common frustration we share: we just can’t seem to find enough. 

My situation isn’t a unique one.  I was in a hetero marriage for over 9 years, and had two awesome and beautiful kids.  My husband and I split up, and several months later, I came out as a lesbian.  Not long after that, I fell in love with the most amazing woman, completely unexpectedly – I mean this was *not* in my plans at all, I was fully prepared to be a single mom for a while and take some time out from relationships.  But the Powers That Be (heretofore known as the PTB’s) had other designs in mind, and pulled our little puppet strings every way possible, so that two months into our relationship, we were living together and she was ready to commit to the kids.  We’ve now been together six months, and though it’s been really hard at times, there’s no end in sight. 

At any rate, my partner, whom I will refer to at present as Pickle (though I reserve the right to change that at any point in time), wants to be more of a parent to the kiddos, and they love the hell out of her and can’t get enough of her.  But there are boundary issues, and custody issues, and conflicts with their dad, and it’s been really hard on both of us, not to mention the kids. 

I just got a craving for nachos with jalapenos.  Oh yum.

And try as I might, I can’t find many resources for people in our situation: lesbians who fall in love with kids already in the picture.  I would love to hear from the voice of experience on the subject, and I hope to add my voice to the collective.  I want to put my thoughts out there in the hopes that they can help someone else muddle through their own complicated issues with divorce, parenting, sexual preference, and new relationships.If you’ve stumbled across my blog by chance or by intention, please feel free to friend me.  All entries here will be public, because I want my perspective to be shared.

As a side note: The title of this journal, and the name, is borrowed from the Delerium f/Sarah MacLachlan song “Silence”.  It is one of my all-time favorite songs, and my favorite of Sarah’s.  I also happen to love Delerium tremendously, and have other songs of theirs I like better, but that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, I wanted to point out that what I took from the song was an emphasis on living in the moment, not struggling against the waves that threaten to over come one in life, but sinking into them, thereby liberating oneself from fear.  I want to hold that sentiment true in this journal.  That is ultimately my goal.  To explore these issues, yes, but to do so from a perspective of letting go, and sinking into the waves, being free.

That said, I’m going to so sink into my pillows and catch a little sleep.

Blessings,
A.



et cetera