Tag: #divorce

The First Holidays After Divorce

The First Holidays After Divorce

I am sitting alone on Thanksgiving morning with the dog, drinking a cup of coffee and reflecting on the fact this is the first Thanksgiving without my daughter. The way our parenting plan and schedule worked out this year I won’t be with my daughter on Halloween, Thanksgiving, her actual birthday, and Christmas Eve & Christmas morning. Needless to say, the holidays have hit differently for me this year.

I have had a multitude of feelings about spending some of my first holidays alone post-divorce. First and foremost, I am sad, but I get this was a natural consequence. It wasn’t unexpected in that way. It has been hard fielding questions about how my daughter liked Halloween or how she dressed up (I dunno because I wasn’t there) or what my plans are for Thanksgiving. This whole experience has also given me the ability to understand how my mom felt when we went to our dad’s for the holidays. It’s a bit different, since we only saw my dad on holidays & weekends, but I recognize the sameness of our situations in spending holidays alone. I do have compassion for her experience, as this is not an easy time to navigate, but also disappointment in that she guilt tripped us and made us feel bad for seeing our other parent. That is something I have been thoroughly intentional about…I do not want my daughter to feel guilt at seeing her dad or spending time with her dad. Divorce is hard enough on a kid; there is no need for a parent to layer their own guilt on top of an already challenging situation for a child.

I also have felt anger towards my ex-husband. We were in an amicable co-parenting place before he allowed another woman to move in and run the show and our co-parenting relationship has taken a hit as a result. I would have loved for an invitation to have been extended to me to spend at least a few hours together with our daughter on this day. But that hasn’t happened. I don’t think it will materialize in the future, so I am left to cope with this reality solely on my own.

I have come to realize that the first holidays feel similarly to the experience of navigating the first year after someone dies. As you approach these days, you realize things have been forever altered. It can be filled with emotional landmines as you grieve the loss of your intact family and any traditions you may have had. I was unpacking Christmas d├ęcor and stumbled across a paper mache snowman I bought with my ex on a trip to Mexico City. I smiled at the memory while feeling a pang of sorrow and then promptly threw it in the trash. I hope you do not romanticize the past with your ex, as there was a reason why the two of you got divorced. Although the memory made me smile, I recognize that my life is ultimately far more peaceful and joyful NOW post-divorce then it ever was married. Despite any grief I may feel about this time, I know in my heart I made the absolute right decision for myself. I was invited to friends, and while I appreciated the generous offer, I declined it, as I wanted to allow myself space to grieve and navigate this new normal on my own.

Let’s not also forget the positives too. It is a time for you to CREATE new traditions on those holidays you DO have you child. My kid is old enough now for us to bake Christmas cookies together. I love baking and want to involve her in a new tradition where we make Christmas cookies for friends and neighbors. Although not new, we adopt local kids from our Boys and Girls Club because I want her to realize there are kids in this world that have socks, underwear or a winter coat on their wish list for Christmas. Despite the difficult journey our family has gone through, we still are very fortunate. I want her to see the holiday is not all about receiving; it is about giving. It is about helping where you can to make your community and world a better place. And it’s an opportunity for you personally, dear one. I decided to see a movie later today by myself. I booked the ticket last night and am looking forward to movie theater popcorn later! While I am not cooking a full on Thanksgiving dinner for myself, I did get from the store certain holiday foods I love (stuffing, pumpkin pie. etc.) and plan to cook them later. It is not all sadness and grieving; there are some hopeful, joyful moments during this time.

If you are going through the holidays post-divorce for the first time like me, my heart goes out to you. My wish is for healing and love to surround you, even in those tough moments. Know that it is not all bad, it will get better, and you will get through it. Be hopeful for your future.

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.

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!