I’ve spent the last few days preparing for Hurricane Florence and the toll it’s due to take on North Carolina. Lines are 30 cars deep at most gas stations and propane is a coveted, sought-after commodity. Grocery stores have become a gluttonous free-for-all with the masses planning for Armageddon. Friends and neighbors are communicating with fervor on Facebook about where they can find bottled water and Nextdoor is a resource for finding a generator to keep the lights on and the food fresh. Taking preventative measures is a beautiful thing. And, it got me thinking…
What if we took care of our relationships – our marriages – as if a storm is coming? What if at the first change in barometric pressure in our relationship we stopped what we were doing and took notice? What if we watched the weather with our significant other, paid attention to the signs and then actually did something about it? Continue reading
When my evening flight to visit my son was derailed, I knew there was only one thing that could ease the mortal wound Southwest had inflicted – a trip to TJ Maxx. Birthday gift cards were eating a hole in my wallet, clamoring for clothes that might show my waist a little grace. My closet mocked me each morning with outfits that were “so close” to fitting – but, “so close” doesn’t work when you can’t zip your pants and society demands you wear pants in public.
While I was scouring the racks for the next size up I began an internal dialogue, berating myself for everything I’d eaten and drank since last Christmas. I did the math on the gym membership that was rarely used since March. The thoughts came on as quickly and persistently as the extra holiday pounds had.
While I was in the dressing room with my allotted ten items, I heard a woman in the room across from me speaking harshly, in hushed tones to someone.
“This is never going to fit you. Just look at your stomach.”
“You are so ugly. Why are you so ugly?”
“I hate you for making me come here.” Continue reading
A co-worker came into my office last week and asked what was up with my blog. Why wasn’t I writing? Talk about being caught with your fingers down. I took a deep breath and told him that I’d lost my voice over the summer. That I’d looked everywhere, but couldn’t find the words, the write path.
It was the perfect storm. Work had been overwhelming (always the easy out.) I moved into a new house and the boxes became my flimsy, cardboard reason swallowing the impulse to blog. Recovering from surgery, I became anesthetized with every excuse in the book I wasn’t writing. My computer was the dejected spouse that I repeatedly cheated on with friends, family, yard work and anything I could get my grubby hands on to stay away from keys that wouldn’t unlock the words. I let weeks and months slip away while my right brain languished. I gave zero fucks.
It took me a while to figure out why I wasn’t writing when the lightning had struck and the damage had been done.
The announcement of an engagement is typically made with joy and verve. We don’t think about how to break the news or what people’s reactions will be. We shout about our nuptials from the rooftop and flash our shiny rings.
Announcing a divorce is a different beast. In the days that led up to my ex-husband and I telling people that our marriage was over, I spent a lot of time twisting my wedding ring in circles around on my finger. It became a habit, my subconscious “tell” of the turmoil going on in my life. Like a genie in a bottle, my anxiety hoped that if I rubbed the ring hard and long enough that my wish to be on the other side of all of this would come true.
I had my third child, seven weeks early. There was no denying that three increasingly difficult pregnancies and pre-term labors meant that my birthing days were done. But, I always thought that someday I would adopt a child with special needs – an exceptional child that someone gave up on; a sweet soul who needed extra attention; a child deserving of extra love and support to make up for what was left out at birth or may have been lost along the way. What I didn’t realize was that, just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I didn’t need to look any further for my heart’s desire than my own backyard.
When my ex-husband and I were divorcing four years ago, my daughter’s only question was if her dad and I would both be at the hospital when she had a baby someday. She needed to know that in the midst of so much loss that the picture she had in her head of what that day would be like would never be taken from her. At the time, we assured her that we’d be anywhere she wanted us to be. That we were still family, that we would always be her parents.
The call came at 1:30 a.m. The phone didn’t have a chance to finish its first ring. I screamed, “She’s in labor, isn’t she?!” My son-in-law said, “She’s asking for you.” With a shaking hand, I put my keys in the ignition for the longest 4-hour drive of my life.
When my daughter, Kayla, was five years old she was obsessed with Barbies. (Are Barbies even a thing anymore?) Pregnant with my first grand-daughter, I find myself thinking back to when she was a little girl.
“Mom, play Barbies with me. You can be anybody that you want to be.”
Like hell, I thought.
I met my ex-husband’s girlfriend for the first time a few weeks ago at my daughter’s baby shower – a shower that I hosted for 42 of my friends and family. Dinner and a show. No pressure.
In the weeks leading up to the shower, I might have overthought the situation. It’s in the ex-wife job description. Knowing this episode of “When Worlds Collide” was getting ready to go into production, my head and heart began to play ping-pong. I didn’t feel thin enough, blonde enough, funny enough or anything enough to play a leading role. Who was she? And what would she think of me?
My kids all had varying reactions to the news of our divorce. My oldest son,
24-years-old at the time, had always been the practical one. He thanked us for a perfect childhood, said he appreciated the sacrifices we had made and then asked if he could come home the following weekend to get his old toys out of the attic before we sold them. My 20-year-old had a similar take. He was living at home at the time and knew my tears had stained every floor in the house and that happiness had been a lean commodity. He wasn’t surprised and just wanted us to be happy. But, my 22-year-old daughter had questions – heartbreaking questions that came from blurred lines and a rapidly fading family photo.
Four years ago, much of my life as I knew it was disintegrating. I’d been diagnosed with a handful of chronic, serious illnesses; my marriage was ending, my kids were grown and gone and I felt like I had little control over the direction my life was heading. I was terrified.
I don’t typically indulge that four-letter word fear, but I had been afraid of a lot lately. Fearful my kids would resent me or my husband for the irreparably cracked marriage. Scared we’d never be a family again. Terrified of being sick. Anxious I’d be too ill to support myself. Apprehensive that no one would ever want me again. Nervous of dying alone. Dreading leaving my dry cleaner. (The struggle was real. I frickin’ loved my dry cleaner.) I was a bundle of tears and fears, desperately looking for a way to feel like I had my feet planted firmly on the ground.