Thoughts on “Maybe” Divorce

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“As you become more attached to yourself you will become less attached to the outcome,” my therapist says with a smile.

Sometimes I wonder about this statement. Although it seems true enough as I continue this journey of the “maybe divorce” sometimes I wonder if this attaching to yourself, this honoring your self and your desires, really means at some point that you just dial back the caring…maybe you just begin to not care anymore because the fight for keeping your marriage has cost you too much personally. Your anxiety has increased to the point that everyday you wake up wondering “if this is the day.” And while once I believed that this thought might kill me, now, sometimes, I just wonder if it would be a relief for it is difficult to live with a man who no longer loves you the way he wants to and the sadness plays out like recessed shadows etched deep into his face.

I know when this began two years ago I felt like the world was coming to an end. It seemed as though my heart was being ripped out of my chest and I couldn’t sleep at night. After all this time my anxiety about divorce and what it would do to my children has decreased but is it because I am working really hard on integrating all aspects of myself and discovering more about who I am or is it because I am shutting down? Perhaps I see the train wreck in the distance, so I move away, because I don’t want to witness the carnage firsthand. I also don’t want to deal with the repercussions that it might have on two boys with autism and one with mental health issues much less the fact that four of my children are adopted and have already suffered so much loss in their young lives.

And so I continue to work on myself. To find corners of sunlight and to open the shutters wide to let the sunshine flood into my life. I work to make myself more aware of what I am doing and why I am reacting in the ways that I do. I am practicing ways of building up my resilience and incorporating peaceful ways of thinking as a habit that I can rely on to keep me centered. And I am trying to learn not to allow negative self-talk rule my head and my heart even though it still wants to.

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So if this work, if all this trying to find better ways of attaching to myself, is going to make me wiser, happier and more peaceful; I am all for it. For I am becoming a better me and I am finally doing all of this psychological work for greater self understanding of what makes me tick.  And if the “maybe” divorce comes to pass I think I will be in a much better position to retain my own dignity and grace during the process. And for me, that is what is important.

So be it.

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Stilettos

“Mom,” says Gracie. “I have an orchestra competition and I need black shoes with heels.”

Heels? I think. She can’t be old enough for heels, can she? There is no way. Just yesterday I was rocking her to sleep, picking out her clothes and teaching her to ride a bike. Heels? I am not ready for this! Heels means makeup, makeup means proms, and proms mean BOYS. Crap…not boys! Not yet! Not EVER!

An hour later we are headed for the store doing the joint mother/daughter thing to pick out her first pair of heels. As I drive a feel a pull in my gut warning me that I should just turn around and go home.

” I like these,” she says as she holds up a pair of 5-inch stilettos that any good hooker would covet.

OH HELL NO! explodes like white lightning throughout my feeble brain. My mother’s words of “No daughter of mine…” come flooding back to me and trip over my tongue on the way out of my mouth.

I feel compelled right here and now, in the middle of the shoe department, to the have “the talk” about what is appropriate and what is not at her age. As I drone on she grimaces, “oh moms” and rolls her eyes more times than I care to count but I think my point has been well taken until she whines…

“I’m not a little girl”

“You’re not twenty-five either nor do you have a job and you don’t earn your own money to buy the things that you want.”

“Of course I don’t have a job,” she shoots back. “I am only 12! But if I did I would be buying those shoes!” her hands gently caressing the soft black velvet.

I take this as a cue to hold up a pair of ballet flats figuring if I show her THESE, knowing she likes THOSE, perhaps we can find a compromise somewhere in this warehouse of shoes.

Gracie holds up a different pair with four-inch heels that climb up her legs like a vine on a tree.

“How about these?” she says with a smile that looks more like a dare.

“How about not.”

And so it goes until she shows me the 10th pair with heels that shoot you up towards the sky.

“Honey,” I ask. “Why is it that you are drawn to shoes with such high heels?”

“Come on mom, think about it. I am the shortest one in my class and on the diving team. No one sees me. Just once I want to look up at someone instead of them looking down on me.”

Finally, I get it. Her need for height is a need for being seen. For being like everyone else, in a world where Asians are often not seen nor heard. For being “looked at” instead of being invisible.

I give her a squeeze and suggest we find something that will give her lift but not up to the clouds. We finally settle on a two-inch inch wedge that gives her a little extra notice but not in that over-the-top teenage way.

As we drive home we talk about girl things. Things I once understood but don’t quite get now. Things I have forgotten as the years have rolled by. Big feelings that once threatened to overtake me when I was her age.

“Mom,” Gracie says. “I have a confession. I didn’t really want those big heels. I just wanted to see what you would let me get away with.”

“Really? Why would you do that?”

“Geez mom, I’m almost a teen. I have to start pushing the boundaries someday you know.”

I laugh and I know that she does, but I hope she will wait just a little bit longer before the boundaries are pushed all the way to Siberia. For the truth is it isn’t the boundaries that worry me it is the fact that she is my baby and there is a small part of me, in a world that moves too fast, that wants her to remain that way forever.

Gone For Good

Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep I had a wonderful idea for a blog piece. I knew I should kick the covers off of my feet, trot downstairs, and write the idea down. But I didn’t and, of course, this morning I can no longer remember what that most excellent idea was. Believe me when I say it was fabulous because it was…the fringes of my mind tell me so.

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This isn’t the first time this “mysterious” loss of memory has happened. I have had “million dollar” ideas that would change the world in profound ways that were lost somewhere in my dreams. I have had ideas for novels fly down the rabbit hole and other important thoughts vanish into thin air upon awakening. But the worst thing about all this is that my memory loss no longer occurs only when I lay my head on my pillow but throughout the day as well. It’s getting scary.

Just yesterday, I walked into a different room three times during the coarse of the day and could no longer remember what I had come into the room for in the first place. I also call my children the wrong names to the point that they now answer to “Hey, you!”  And I have five pairs of glasses from five different periods in my eyewear life floating around my house because I can never find the current prescription pair.  One minute I have 20/20 vision the next 30/70….no wonder my brain seems so scrambled…it’s constantly getting mixed signals!

I have tried various things in an effect to improve my memory. For a while kale became my “go to” snack. I ingested so much fish oil that I started to grow gills. I increased my sleep time but than only seemed to increase the fog. I even bought one of those free improve your memory apps but it expired before I remembered to use it. Yes, I think I have tried it all.

You would think with all the pharmaceutical “cures” for this disease or that affliction that they could come up with something that would help those of us who are “memory challenged.” I have even gotten so desperate that I have considered pilfering my neighbors viagra because:

a. I know his wife doesn’t want to have sex with him anymore and I owe her big time because she has kept her mouth shut after what could be considered a blackmailable event.

b. I figure if that if little blue pill can make a dick go up then it certainly can make my memory quotient and IQ increase as well.  I am fairly certain that if it mimics what happens “down there” way “up there,” it should make my mind stronger, straighter and last much longer. And we all know that men’s brains reside in the head of their penis.

Unfortunately, “Tom” keeps this “family jewel” of a prescription locked up tighter than Fort Knox so testing my hypothesis is proving to be more difficult than I had originally anticipated. And while I would like to think viagra would increase my ability to remember things, with all my luck it would just give me “iceberg” nipples for the rest of my life.

When my friends and neighbors begin to realize the extent of my problem they tried to be tolerant and  kind but after you have stood them up for coffee five times it grows old. Yet, they still continue to assure me (I think) that this is only menopause fog and that it will get better especially once all of my kids are out of the house. These same friends have also begun to share their deepest darkest secrets with me knowing that within two hours I will no longer remember what they have said and they swear my advice is good as gold.Yes, I’m now the confessional priest of my neighborhood to such an extent that I am sure church attendance is way down and that the “Vatican mob” will be coming after me soon.

Yet, even with all my memory loss issues I still believe I am way ahead of the game and that a possible presidential run is in my future. After all, Hillary is unable to remember where 30,000 emails disappeared to and The Donald has uttered the words “I don’t remember” probably close to a million times during the hundreds of depositions he has given in court proceedings against him.

In the meantime, in an attempt to keep myself safe, I am contemplating a reverse tattoo which when viewed in a mirror will list my address and phone number so that I can make it home. And I think it might work …. if I can just remember that it is there.

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Mother’s Day

Back-to-School

Today is the first day of school and it is about as good as a man getting down on one knee and slipping a diamond on your finger. For moms all over the world this day sparkles and shines like no other.

I remember each of my children’s first day of Kindergarten. Everyone was excited and a bundle of nerves, parents included. Now it’s old hat as I go through the list that is burned into my brain like a branded cow.

“Do you have your…lunch, notebooks, backpack, pencils, school schedule?”

“Where are your shoes? Did you change your underwear? (yes, this question MUST be asked in my household) Go put on your socks! Hurry! or you will be late!!!”

” You didn’t brush your teeth. Go do it. Andre…the hair…brush your hair! Wait….you didn’t shower, Andre. Don’t argue…DO IT! Paul, go wash your face and put on your medicine. Make your beds!!! What do you mean you don’t like chicken salad…since when?”

And so it goes until all questions have been answered to my satisfaction and off we go, kids slightly nervous and me, the calmest I has been in months with a smile plastered on my face that is wide as the Grand Canyon and remains with me all day. Yes, this feeling is better than any happy pill that has ever been invented!

“You sure sound chipper,” remarks my dad.

“You look great,” another mom comments.

“You have a glow about you!” says the grocery clerk.

And they are right. After a summer of sibling arguments and hearing “I’m Bored;” I have the eau de parfum Ode To School #5 floating about me, the fog has lifted from my brain, and I am glowing more than I ever did when I was pregnant. For today is the first day of school and I happily refer to it as… Mother’s Day!

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Fibromyalgia

I am a very lucky person. I have fibromyalgia but it is not as debilitating for me as it is for many. It used to be that I had tremendous pain on a fairly regular basis for days at a time but since I started following R. Paul St. Amand, M.D.’s protocols, I have found that for the most part I can live a fairly pain free life. That is why when I woke up in excruciating pain the other morning I was more than a little surprised and very disappointed.

It started with that deep ache throughout my legs as if a truck was laying across them. Moving didn’t help. Shaking my legs didn’t either. Massage didn’t work and beating on them to relieve the pain was for naught.

“Crap,” I thought with a sigh reaching for the aspirin before climbing out of bed. “I am getting old.This sucks.”

It was when I stood up that I realized what was happening. I could barely walk and when I did I looked like a 90 year old lady doing the Downtown Shuffle. I knew that the fibromyalgia had returned with a vengeance and I was pissed. Actually, I was pissed at myself because there are some things I can do to myself that trigger the pain. Yet, the day prior I  had ignored those triggers and ate myself into a sweet oblivion. Yes, sugar is one of my culprits and yet I dive into it like its a cool pool on a hot summers day.

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Usually, I don’t share the pain that I am in. Family members don’t understand why I can feel great one day and a week later be in so much pain. So I usually hide it…until I can’t. The pain makes me grumpy and I either can’t sleep or sleep to avoid the pain. I have serious brain fog (constantly) but I am thankful that with Dr. St. Amand’s help my days in pain are kept at a minimum.

I keep thinking that someday I will “get” it. That I will get tired of feeling crappy. That someday I will care enough about being pain free that I will actually “THINK” about what I am doing BEFORE I put things into my mouth that are going to hurt me later on. That I will care enough about myself to be mindful of what is going in and on my body. And it also occurs to me that perhaps this is some form of self punishment. I mean after all who would knowingly do something when they know they will severely pay for it later?

For now I will do what I can. Drink a lot of water and get out there and force myself to walk…miles. While it used to be I avoided movement when I felt this way, I have come to understand that for me, exercise, even if forced, seems to help alleviate the pain. And tomorrow I will try to stop crucifying myself once again.

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Stars

So today I was determined to climb out on the roof again to paint the second coat on the shutters. As I was pulling the heavy wood and metal blinds up, they slid out of their holders and put a dent in my head. I immediatley became nauseous, got a terrific headache… the likes of which I have never felt before… and I saw stars. The kind of stars that circle around the head of  Daffy Duck or any Looney Tunes character who has had the unfortunate experience of being hit on the noggin.

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I spent the majority of the day in bed popping aspirin, groaning, and trying to remember if my DO NOT RESUSCITATE orders were on file at the local hospital… just in case.

Stars are  usually a glorious thing. When shining brilliantly at night they light our way to uncharted places. They remind us that there is something other than ourselves taking up space in the cosmos. They sprinkle the sky and our minds with hope when we wish upon them and they let us see history in its making. I still get amazed when I think that I can look back in history 20 million years just by viewing a star.

Stars have tremendous significance in our culture. We aspire to be stars in our own field of work and some aspire to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. We shoot for the stars, they mysteriously fall from the sky, and sometimes, if you are very lucky, even love is written in them. Stars really are an unpredictable and incredible creation.

Sometimes as I walk this journey through Mid-Life and through a “maybe” divorce I look to the stars for answers. I look up and see both the shadows and light which seems to mimic the course my life is taking now. I realize that looking to the stars for answers sounds like something out of a child’s fairy tale. Comforting. Magical. And perhaps that is all it really is..one big illusion. Yet, I would like to think that the stars are lighting up and guiding me to the possibilities that lie within me…freeing me… from those black spaces so that I might get my sparkle back and shine brightly once more. And thinking this way gives me hope that someday I can be my own beacon for my children and that they might look at that light radiating outwards from me to help them find their own place in this world…wherever that may be.

Growing Pains…293 Days To Fix This

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B is away on business for the week. While away, he had dinner with an old college friend and he told K that we had been having marital problems. When he told me this I reacted in a way that surprised me…I was crushed. I wasn’t upset that B talked with her for we all need someone to talk to and to help us gain a different perspective. In addition, we all need someone to just listen when the tides of life are out so far it seems they will never surge to shore. And even though I understood his need to discuss recent events I was still disturbed.

What bothered me about this entire situation was something simple and honest. It is this… Just how long are we going to continue to define our relationship by the worst point in our lives together? How long are we going to continue to act as if our marriage is on terribly shaky ground?  How long will this rough patch be our main identifier of all the things we have accomplished/survived/created over the past 29 years?

This is not to say that we still don’t have important issues that we are trying to resolve. This does not mean that we don’t have some distance to travel to make our way back to one another. And this certainly doesn’t mean that there still isn’t a chance that things will not work out the way we have planned. But we are moving forward with honorable intentions and the belief that we can make this work. Because it has become apparent through therapy that being separated from one another would bring much greater agony and suffering to each of us then any of the pain we have endured in the past three months, let alone twenty-nine years.

Thinking about all this after B’s conversation got me contemplating our marriage and our family. We’ve had six children and have watched them grow up and some grow out of the house. And upon reflection, I realized that marriages are much like children reaching puberty and going through those horrible and painful growth spurts. In fact, much like teen-age growth pains, for the past year or two our relationship has hurt and ached. It had stagnated and was no longer thriving. Then finally new growth has occurred and we’ve growth taller together and flourished. This growth spurt has stung, ached and produced much anguish but now we are growing in the same direction at the same time and I want to preserve this sense of wonder and repair. I also want to act in a restorative manner and take a protective stance in regards to the many incredible things we had done to make this relationship not just survive but blossom.

One of these ways is acknowledging that we have come a long way in 29 years:

  • We put ourselves through college without debt
  • We have moved 15 times as B advanced in his career
  • We survived serious and hurtful family issues
  • We went through IVF four times in our attempt to become parents
  • We have three home-grown children and adopted three more
  • We’ve had three of our parents die
  • We have two boys with autism which has stretched our relationship almost to the breaking point, not because of them but because of all the extra expenditure of effort to get them what they deserve
  • I’ve had numerous surgeries, one kidney donation, and the intense pain of fibromyalgia
  • We have had issues that easily would have torn others apart
  • We have had job loss and loss of a potential business that we adored
  • We have excelled at what we have created in both work and play

And yet we have survived. Sometimes even thrived. And in that miracle I no longer want to feel concerned, scared or hurt by my worries about my marriage. I want to rejoice in it and the man whom has made it a mostly incredible, exciting and truly meaningful relationship for almost three decades.

So there. I’m done. And in trying to restore all that is good about this life that I share with a man who I love, I am thinking about changing the name of this blog. Maybe it will be myhusbandwantedadivorceovermydeadbody, or Are You Kidding Me? or maybe just ?.

Whatever I decide, I know the change will be for the positive…just like those growing pains that have improved my marriage and my life.