Throwing Lemons

Posted: March 14, 2010 in Featured Content, Life Lessons
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Warning: This is about my divorce. If you are a newlywed, or blissfully happy, you may not want to read. I just felt the need to discuss it, since it has been the biggest thing in my life these past few months.

It has been four months, give or take several days, since I last wrote anything meaningful in this blog. I can tell you with certainty that the person sitting here typing is not the same person that was here in November. Since that time, the person that was sitting here trying desperately to hold it all together, to figure it out and to fix it all, lost everything I thought I knew. In a mere four months, my worst fears were realized, my ability to handle life’s ups and downs was sorely tested and my view of life and the people in it have been tested to the limits.

I am a single Mom now. It is just me and Sophie here in our house taking care of one another…because sometimes I take care of her and sometimes she takes care of me. It’s not what I wanted. It’s not what I would have chosen. But it is reality and I am choosing to deal with it in the best way I can. Everybody gets so excited about weddings. The dresses, the flowers, the honeymoon, wedded bliss…. But nobody tells you what to do in the moments where you wonder what went wrong, why this person, The One, isn’t looking the same through your eyes anymore. Nobody tells you that having the same fight, time after time, isn’t a fight, it’s a clash of personalities, a difference of opinions. Insurmountable. Nobody tells you that no matter how much or how hard you love, in your own way, it can’t stop another person from walking out the door. Love has power, yes, but sometimes it’s the wrong power. It’s the power to hurt, the power to cry, the power to feel powerless.

I have learned a lot in four months. Some of it I wish I didn’t know, but it must be important, otherwise all of this wouldn’t make sense. There has got to be something big I am supposed to learn from all of this. I have learned that it’s true: no matter how much you think you know a person, you never really do.

I learned that it’s not about give and take. There’s no big tally where one side is filled and the other is empty and the empty person gets a free out. It doesn’t work that way. Sometimes a person wakes up every day to the empty tally marks and chooses to believe that maybe this day will be the day to fill it. And when that day goes by empty, there is a belief in the next and the next and the next. Because the other person once loved you so much they committed their life to you. Breakfasts, and jobs and buying houses and having children and saying goodnight. It all means something. It’s part of a life built together. And one day, one person decides that Out There is a better, happier life and they say goodbye to all the things that you thought made life important.

And you are left sweeping the broken pieces away, wondering why and how everything could shatter so completely. How could everything have ended this way? But it did, and you keep sweeping until the floor is clean and the pain doesn’t come as often, and then you realize that the sun is on the horizon whether he is here or not. And you look at your child and you feel like the most important person in the world because she is here and she didn’t ask for this. So you make it better for her, because you can.

Hindsight is a great thing. When I look back, I see the things I couldn’t. The alone-ness I felt and couldn’t admit. The terrifying sadness that there was only one conclusion to this mess. But that’s all hindsight is…the looking back on what already was. There’s no changing it or wishing it better. Would I go back and change it if I could? You know, I’m not really sure. I made a choice when my daughter was born. I am her mother and I was going to do the best job I could as a mother. Did I put her ahead of myself? Absolutely. Did I put her ahead of my husband? Probably. Do I regret it? No. There are some things that are bigger than me. Raising a child is one of them. If an adult holds it against me because I put a child’s needs first, then fine. It doesn’t mean I loved him any less. It just means he had needs I couldn’t or wouldn’t meet, for whatever reason. And that’s how it all ends. Needs go unmet, lives unravel. Pretty soon there’s no more string to pull.

I decided I am a much stronger person than I gave myself credit for. My opinions matter. My happiness matters. I can take care of myself. I can walk with my head held high. I can laugh and dance and make friends and lean on people and look back and smile. Maybe life handed me lemons for a while. Screw making lemonade. I am going to throw them. It’s much more satisfying.

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