Barry, the husband


and all through my life was a churning, tumbling, awful sick feeling.

*sigh*

I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. If there IS something I’m supposed to be doing. I feel like I’m waiting for someone to tell me that I’m doing this wrong. That I’ve forgotten some piece of paperwork. Or to sign some document. Or that I’ve failed to have some emotional outburst. Or that the ones I have had, the ones that I have felt and talked about with my closest friends, are the wrong ones?

I’d tell them: “I’ve never done this before. Have a little pity on me. This is my first time at divorce. I don’t know the rules.” I don’t have anyone who I could ask. I don’t have close friends who have divorced in this manner. Gone without the standard pitbull lawyer. Written the documents myself. Walked into the courthouse, with my soon-to-be-ex-husband, by my side.

What does one wear to a divorce? Do I dress up? Or down? Wear my prettiest dress? Or my favorite jeans? Should I have gotten a special outfit?

Should I wear my hair up? Look professional? Like I know what I’m doing? Cause I’d be a complete fraud. I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow. I wonder if I’ll be asked a whole bunch of questions? And what would they be? Or will they even know that I’m there, and just ask to see some ID to pass out some paperwork to me. That its all over.

There are a few things that I have no doubts about. Doing this divorce is one of them. I have been reminded on a consistant basis during this process, that this is the absolutely right thing for me to be doing. For me. For my kids. Even for Barry himself.

I have also been poignantly reminded that I am loved. The network of cheerleaders, and shoulder-to-cry-upon, and sound-heads-to-bounce-off-of, and prayers-offered-up; has been full and without end. I am loved and cared for by people. I just wish that I could have been this loved and cared for by my own husband.  ex-husband.

*sigh*

I have had several moments today of ‘forgetting to breathe’. In those times I can feel the space in my chest swelling up – and closing off my ability to function, think, speak, or even breathe. Its a moment of panic. A moment when I realize I am falling out of my body.

That’s when I remember to just *breathe*

That’s what women are told in the laboring pains of birth. “Relax and breathe”. Its the one thing I always try to convey to a new-to-be mom. Its the one thing that I say to my friends, who seek my counsel, at their most transitional moments.

“Breathe”

This is one of the most transitional things I have ever done. Short of giving birth. Even the 5th time was a big transition: I became a woman who gave her child to a childless couple. Or when I got married. Or moved across the country to live, and birth my child. Becoming a Stay-at-home mother. Or going back to work. Heck the only thing this might be bigger than was deciding to even be born myself. And I didn’t do that by the textbook either. I was “footling”.

I won’t be a married woman this time tomorrow. In just a short 18 hours it will all be over. 18 years of marriage – done.

*breathe*

I am so grateful that Mindy has come down from her home in NC to stay with me tonight. And tomorrow night. I don’t know what to do for her, or how to ‘be’, or what this must be like for her. I am just thankful that she came, so that I wouldn’t be alone.

That tomorrow at 2:30pm I won’t be walking into that courtroom alone. That she and my sisters will be there walking in with me. Holding my hand. Reminding me to *breathe*

*in*
*out*
*in*
*out*
*in*
*out*

Just keep *breathing*
Just keep *breathing*

Soooo, what I didn’t post about yesterday. *sigh*

I came across this musical figurine yesterday when I was moving my things out of our bedroom and into the living room. When I was born my grandmother had given me a musical figurine. Its a woman holding a baby, and while the lulliby plays, she spins around. She was the first of many that she gave me over the years. They are collectibles I think at this point. I don’t see many of them around, ever.

She gave me one a year, or more, and each one was significant for what was going on in my life at the time. There’s a ballerina from when I was 7. An Irish gal, from when Mindy was born (March, being St. Patrick’s Day, and her birth month). A little Drummer Boy from when I took up music and learned to play the song. There were at one point 12 of them. The last one of Mother Goose and her ducklings, right before we moved to Saudi.

When Momma opened up the box, after years in storage, she didn’t want to chance them coming to Saudi with us, 5 of them were damage beyond repair. I coudln’t even tell you which ones they were now. They were packed away over 30 years ago, for heaven’s sake. So there are the original 7. And another 5 that were added over the years by Barry.

There is one of Mother Nature, in a snow globe form, for my 10th Mother’s Day. That was the last one he gave me. There is one of a pair of snowmen waltzing for our First Christmas. There are 2 of birds that I actually gave to him, but he didn’t take with him. Then there is this one. A bridal pair, that play Here Comes the Bride.

This one he gave to me as a marriage present on the eve of our wedding. A gift to mark the time that we were promising our lives together.

Together for all the days of our lives.

A promise to have that Silver Anniversary. The gold. The rocking chairs side by side as we grow gray hairs.

For a bit of time yesterday I could feel my son’s little hands patting on me, as I held that gift in my hands and let my tears fall down.

Yes – regular old snail mail. With postage stamps. And envelopes. And handwritten address on the front.

Its the return address that made my heart skip a beat. The fact that there were 2 of them; one for me and one for him, that made my breath catch. My fingers trembled as I tore across the backside, opening it up, to see what would be on the inside. It couldn’t be much since it felt so light. Yet the contents were heavy.

The mail brought me a single slip of paper. It was oh so heavy.

The date and time, location and courtroom, have been set.

The clerk of court informs me that at 2:30 PM, on Tuesday, the 13th of November, in courtroom #1, I am to appear in front of the Honorable Takacs. There has been set aside 5 minutes, of his very valuable time, to legally disolve my marriage. Which means by 2:35pm it will be done.

18 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, and 2 hours, of marriage; that took 30 minutes of ceremony to create, will be disolved in a mere 5 minutes.

Just didn’t imagine that it would be this soon.

The child who was completely unphased by the news of our divorce, was as I suspected, the most hurt. She’s upset and mad. She’s choosen to take it out on me. 😦

This weekend Daphne decided to walk out of the house – claiming that she was going to her dad’s house. I texted him and gave him the “head’s up”. He wasn’t prepared for it. That’s tough. This was bound to happen at some point.

One child playing one parent against the other.

He found her – since he wasn’t at home – and she had no phone – he had to hunt for her between my house and his apartment. Not too much distance – all of 12 blocks.

Oh, and the reason she had no phone: I took it away as punishment for doing things with the phone against the rules. The same rules that we had in the house before the divorce, and as she found out this weekend, will still have despite the divorce.

This was the reason she was ‘running away to Dad’s’ house.

She thought to hurt me by leaving and choosing her dad.

Did it hurt? Yes. Of course it does. She is there tonight.

After finding her, talking to her, talking to me; Barry told her that she couldn’t stay with him. There was no way that he was going to let her live there on her own while he worked nights. Yet tonight he doesn’t have to work, so she pointed that out to him, and he relented into letting her stay with him.

He has promised to make sure that she gets to school. I’m calling there to double check. Something tells me that Barry is also determined to hurt me. He knows that this does. Along with allowing her to skirt around the rules that we have set forth for them. So he’s going to use Daphne, who is going to use him, together they will hurt my feelings.

She is so determined to hurt me that she’s sleeping on the floor of his apartment with nothing but a comforter that he took. Ultimately the only one who is going to get hurt by this ‘playing of the parents’ is Daphne. She will grow up thinking that love is a manipulation. She’s practicing on her own father. Who is teaching her well.

And there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s what hurts the worst.
*sad*

I had someone say to me:

You left your husband?

me: Yes.

Person-who’s-not-a-friend-obiously: How could you do that?

me: Easy. You haven’t been listening these last years. It was time to finally let go and move on, and find a space that was safe.

Person: I don’t understand how you could just up and leave your marriage. You were depressed too at one point. He didn’t leave you.

This has made me think. A lot.

I wonder if I am giving up too easily. I remember my depression after our 3rd daughter was born. I remember how he stood by me as I struggled. I remember wanting to fight for him. For our daughters. For myself. I wanted to get better. I apologized so many times for what my illness was doing to us.

If maybe I held on, and held out, that this would get better. Maybe its tomorrow that he decides to seek treatment, and get help, and stop taking it all out on me. Maybe I should have held out just a little bit more. Not left our marriage. Not left him.

Then I’m reminded of an actual friend, who said to me:

You know, it wouldn’t be like you are leaving this marriage first. He left it, and you a long time ago. He left when he choose to no longer take his medicine. He left when he choose to give up his psychiatric help. When he ceased going to his meetings, the way that he did for the judge. When he stopped trying to care for your home, and children. When he stopped caring for himself.

He left you when he choose to no longer return your affections. When he stopped asking about how you felt. When he ceased to care how this was effecting you. Effecting your children. When he choose to use you as a trash-bag for all of his pent up anger, saddness, and frustrations.

He left first… you’re just mopping up the mess he made with his leaving by doing the paperwork.

In my Sister Circle, one of my sisters looked astonished at me when I said that I was thankful for Barry.

Yes I give gratitude to Barry. For being exactly who he was in the last 20 years- for who he is right now. Because of him I have learned lessons that I needed to learn.

And our journey together is not fully over. There are our children. The ones that choose the 2 of us to be their parents. We may no longer have to be so directly involved in each other – but there will always be some in-direct relations for all our lives.

I am able to become who I was meant to because of him. How can I not be grateful for that?

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