Author: Erin

A New Beginning

A New Beginning

As of the 1st of this month, I am now officially divorced. I was on the phone with my sister when I received the paperwork from my attorney and I cheered with joy! I was filled with a sense of liberation and celebration at having the legal paperwork in hand. It was a year ago in September that I asked for a divorce, and we now have come full circle. I also love the fact that both events happened in September, the 9th month. The number 9 represents completion; the end of a cycle. I am no longer his wife and am reclaiming myself with this and each and every day that passes. I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to write a new story in my mid-40’s. I get to redefine myself solely for ME! I get to choose the narrative of my life moving forward. Admittedly, I didn’t feel like I was in the driver’s seat of my life in my marriage, and the prospect of taking back the reigns of my life is exhilarating.

But this new beginning is not without its challenges. I am weary because I need to sort through the last financial ties that still bind us, and it feels like a slog. I keep telling myself that I am nearly there, that this is the last stretch in a very long, exhaustive race. I have carried the majority of responsibility (financial, emotional, and parenting) while together with my ex, and feel a similar burden as I am wrapping up items from the divorce agreement. In addition to that, because I have chosen to go back to my maiden name, there are additional hoops to jump through including an updated social security card, driver’s license, passport, and getting all new credits and debit cards as a result. I spent a majority of the weekend trying not to feel overwhelmed by these last steps. It’s as though I am on the last few miles of a marathon…and I am desperate to see the finish line.

That leaves the one tie that binds us; our daughter. And if I am honest with myself, this has been the biggest challenge. He has already had a female “friend” staying with him while our daughter is there. It appears she now has basically moved in. He has only been in the new house for a few months, so the routine is still new for the two of them. Let alone adding in a third party. This friend was someone I suspected him of having an affair with last summer (she’s one of a slew of women) and it was the final implosion of a marriage that was on life support anyway.

My daughter confessed to me that she felt like she had to be perfect while this other person was at her dad’s house. She went on to tell me she couldn’t be herself and had to hold in her big feelings. My heart ached as she sobbed and told me she didn’t want to tell him because she didn’t want him to feel like a bad dad. She is almost 8 and has more emotional intelligence than her 46-year-old father. I made sure to explain she is not responsible for others’ feelings. I grew up experiencing that weight and it has been something I have struggled with my entire adult life. I tried having a conversation with him about the situation, but unsurprisingly, he was unable to consider his own daughter’s feelings or perspectives. I do not hold any ill will towards my ex or his friend. My sincere hope and prayer is for my ex to live a life that makes him happy and fulfilled. As the father of our child, I want him to be healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. I recognize I do not have control over the situation in his house, so I said a silent prayer that his friend genuinely loves and cares for our daughter.

I am excited for my own journey and hopeful that things on a co-parenting front improve for the sake of our daughter. And with that in mind, I continue to show up and be the adult, the bigger person, the one who takes our daughter into consideration, while being free to walk the path that brings me the most joy and happiness.

The Midnight Hour

The Midnight Hour

My eyes flutter open and you are the first thought on my mind during the midnight hour. I don’t know how you have taken up residence so quickly, but the warmth I feel in my chest and the smile that curls my lips tell me this feels right. As I close my eyes, I splay out in bed to take up more space and am consumed with longing. I replay the last time we were together in my head and sigh as I begin to reminisce.

Your hands gently caressing my body.
Your strong arms wrapped around me.
Your lips, soft and warm first on my shoulder, then my neck, then my lips.
The feeling of safety in your arms.
Our bodies intertwined.
The delight of exploring you.
My desire welling up.
That exquisite feeling of release.

I felt sexy, wild, and uninhibited. Appreciated. Desired. Adored. Free and held at the same time. I don’t know where this is going or what may come of it, but I feel immensely grateful for the experience. If nothing else, you have shown me genuine care, attention, and affection. For someone who questioned if this was even possible any longer, I say thank you. You’ve restored hope in something I feared may have been lost.

And with that thought, I roll over and fall back asleep, happy.

Parents: You are On Your Own!

Parents: You are On Your Own!

This is what I do not understand about this country at all. Alleged pro-lifers (you are just pro-birthers really) scream and shout about saving a child’s life! Don’t let harm come to an innocent! But there is no support system in place in this godforsaken country AFTER you give birth to support you as a parent. None. You are on your own 100% of the time, and any support you do find, you will pay through the damn nose for.

Both my ex and I work in Corporate America, and even though the pandemic rages on, most corporations have discontinued any kind of pandemic support. Neither of us has any paid sick time if one of us or our daughter gets sick. Well, guess what happened last week? Our daughter tested positive for Covid. While thankfully she appears to have had a mild case, my ex had to eat the daycare money he had already pre-paid for the week ($300+), while simultaneously trying to work with a kid at home. While his boss was flexible, if you are not a parent, you cannot possibly understand how completely and utterly exhausting this is. Trying to still get shit done with a kid at home is next to impossible. But still, you try because you do not have the time or ability to take off from work. The work will be piling up if you ARE fortunate enough to have the paid time to take off. Add to that trying not to get sick FROM her as a result, and that only adds to the anxiety. I do recognize our privilege here in that we even CAN stay home with our child; many, MANY parents in this country do not even have this option available to them.

Since we live in a city with no family, we have no built-in support structure in place. No grandparents or other relatives to be able to help out with our kid in times like these. His only support system is me and I am his. Today is technically day #8 and she is STILL testing positive on an antigen test. I want to do the right thing, in case she still is contagious, by keeping her home with me today. I would feel horrible intentionally exposing other children at our daycare. Again, I recognize my privilege as a lot of parents cannot even do this, even if they really wanted to. So that means she is home with me today.

Last week, I felt completely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work that was on my plate. Having her home with me does not help that feeling of overwhelm. In fact, my boss wrote back to ask if there was anything she could help with and my snarky reply was: Can you help with the impending mental breakdown? As you can imagine, she hasn’t replied. How do you even reply to that? Even though I was one million percent serious, there is little to no help she can offer me, because I work in a technical field that she does not have any skills. Again, whatever I cannot get done in terms of work will be piling up and waiting for me. It doesn’t go away. The workload, the overwhelm, the worry, the constant struggle to be everything to everyone all the time…it doesn’t go away ever as a parent. This feeling that if you are kicking ass in your career that somehow means you are neglecting your duties as a mother or vice versa. This persistent feeling of failing in at least one major area of your life at all times.

I sit at my work laptop, attempting to tackle the pile of work, and being unable to summon the energy or focus needed to get started right now. In all reality, with my mental health right now, I could stand to take about a month off of work….but I can’t because almost no one in this country can afford to take unpaid leave of any kind, even if they desperately need it. I feel almost panicky, since I know whatever gets put aside today will just be added to the pile for tomorrow. This cycle of feeling buried, with no support or relief in sight, is so very depressing. I fucking hate this country so much at times.

The Home Stretch of the Divorce

The Home Stretch of the Divorce

As of Wednesday of this week, our divorce paperwork has officially been filed with the courts. I have been really emotional these past few days. I have run through almost every emotion imaginable. Joy at finally being at the finish line of this long, arduous, and expensive process. I feel sadness because it is still an ending, regardless of the fact I initiated our divorce. I feel anger sometimes about the insane amount of money I had to shell out this week after signing the settlement agreement. I feel anxious because the clock has officially started ticking on the end of our marriage…and the only thing that may slow it down or stop it is the judge requesting a hearing with us, or some other legal snafu.

Last, but certainly not least, I feel gobsmacked in some ways because I am in utter disbelief that we are actually this close to the finish line. I had days where it seemed as though we’d never get here. That we would never stop fighting about money, or possessions, or whatever other petty bullshit came between the two of us. I am letting myself feel it all. As a result I have done a lot of crying this week. I recognize I am still in a transition phase, and have not yet really embarked on the next part of my journey.

There are still quite a few entanglements between the two of us to unwind. My ex closed on his house today, and will start moving in. That means the pile of his stuff in the garage will finally be gone, as will some of the few remaining items of his around the house. We will be closing out any remaining accounts, severing one of the last ties to each other. We will be signing over ownership of the vehicles to each of us individually. Dividing up our daughter’s toys so that she will have toys and belongings at each house. I will begin the process of having to pay him monthly child support.

We have gotten to a good place in our co-parenting relationship, and for that, I am profoundly grateful. As I look forward to my journey, I am genuinely excited about what the future holds for me. Yes, I am sad my marriage didn’t work out, but I am being afforded an opportunity to write a new story in my 40’s. To redefine what I want for myself and my life. To explore my interests, hobbies, the world, and new relationships with a renewed sense of freedom and curiosity. To not simply exist, but fully show up and live my life. As the picture says, I for sure have no idea where in the hell I am going from here, but I know deep within my soul it will NOT be boring!