Each evening I snuggle down into bed. Usually my feet are freezing, I flip on my heated blanket, and wait for my toes to thaw out.
It’s usually been a few hours since I put Magee to bed, but as a mother I always listen for her little feet on the stairs. I sleep in the basement, I’m half deaf, but still I hear her feet two floors above me. She comes down to me if she’s had a nightmare, or is feeling ill. Those two little feet in the night usually signal a sleepless night, but I wouldn’t trade the sound of them for anything.
My brother who also lives with me is a university student. He often doesn’t come home until late after I’ve gone to bed. His footsteps are akin to those of a woolly mammoth. He will clamber into the house, throw his knapsack down and scurry around the kitchen looking for leftovers and his mail. As he climbs the stairs to his room, I hear his giant steps until he hits the upper landing. As much as those feet drive me nuts, I know in a heartbeat they’d run to my side the minute I was in trouble.
There are a set of feet I search for every night. Deep under the covers, I look for my husbands feet. We generally sleep with our feet entwined, it’s a simple connection that for some reason has lasted.
Elliot left to go back to the states a little over a month ago while we work on his immigration on this end. Every night I wake up ever so slightly, looking for his feet. I’m always awake enough to have a bit of sadness wash over me when I realise again that they aren’t there.
So many feet in the night, but not the ones I want.
It’s been almost a year and a half. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, replaying, rewinding, and re-working my marriage in my head. I know I am just as much at fault for its demise as he is.
This blog post makes me out to be a total bitch. I’m not. As much as I did to fail us, he did too. This blog is my way of making things better? Of apologising? Of showing him and myself that I have grown? I understand and own my mistakes, and that I will promise to do better in the future.
I’d like to think it’s all Shaughn’s fault. But it’s not. I played a heavy part in things. I realise it, and I wish I could apologise for all that I have done wrong. Do I think my marriage would’ve survived? I’m not sure. I highly doubt it. But maybe things would’ve been different, and I would’ve left the marriage with less hurt and resentment. Maybe Shaughn would have too.
I think the most important thing I could have done in my marriage, in dating, even in our friendship would be to be honest with Shaughn about my feelings. So often I put up a front, I brushed things off, lied to him and myself about how I really felt about things. I have always felt that crying, needing others, asking for help emotionally was a sign of weakness on my part. I didn’t mind if others did it, I encouraged others to get help; but when it came to me, I refused to admit to Shaughn that I needed him.
In retrospect I think in my own delusional thinking, I was protecting myself. If I didn’t need him, I wouldn’t be hurt when things were done. I don’t think I ever had complete faith in our relationship. Again, I should have been honest with him about it.
My inability or unwillingness to talk about my feelings just pushed him away. I know it hurt him, but I really didn’t trust him. He did NOTHING (I repeat NOTHING) to deserve my mistrust. It is my thing. We have since talked about it, one drunk night on the deck, I think he gets it now. I know I do.
In our marriage, I was incredibly resentful of Shaughn. I resented his job, his circle of friends, his hobby, the time he spent on his hobby, the way he freely spent money. I resented a lot of things. After we had Paisley, I resented so much more. Much of the resentment I felt after having her was unfounded. I chose to work from home, I chose to have a very small circle of friends, I chose to be the one who did the primary raising of our child rather than send her to daycare. Shaughn didn’t force me to do any of it. But I was pissed. SO pissed that he left the house to work every day, went away with his friends for weekends, had fun painting with buddies. I resented being the 24/7 parent. I resented getting up for work in the dark, finishing in the dark, and feeling trapped in my house. I resented that he was happy.
My anger came out in words. Cutting words. I would try to make him feel guilty for leaving us if he went away, or if he wanted to spend time with his friends. I regret much of what was said. I have a quick tongue, and I know that my words were unfair and not justified.
I wanted it. I wanted to be held, I wanted to be kissed, I wanted to feel wanted. I didn’t get that, but instead of trying harder, I gave up. I stopped hugging him, I stopped kissing him. I wouldn’t hold his hand. I guess I was so sad from feeling like he didn’t care, that I figured I’d just dish it back. I was cold. I know there were many times that he needed a hug, particularly as our marriage was in its last stages, while we were still living together, but separated. I know he needed touch, and I just couldn’t do it. I was using it as punishment for all the times I needed him.
I feel incredibly guilty about this, not just because it’s not who I am as a person, but because as young as she was, my daughter witnessed it. She had parents that barely touched other than the mandatory “Lets keep up appearances” hug before he left for work each morning. I would physically cringe when he touched me towards the end. I couldn’t get over myself to just hug him.
On a side note, things are different now, and we do hug. Often. There is no more cringing, and “family hugs” are the norm.
I mentioned my words. I use words like a weapon. My tone, my cadence, my volume. I grew up in a family where yelling was too common. To me it has always been second nature. I knew that Shaughn didn’t grow up that way, I knew he detested it. So I did it. If I wasn’t getting his attention being nice, I knew sure as hell I’d get it by yelling.
I knew exactly which button to push, and I did. I would push and push until he broke. I just couldn’t walk away from an argument. And if he walked away from me I followed. I NEEDED him to resolve things, and if he didn’t, I was going to. I wouldn’t give him, or myself space from each other. I had this need to be right, or agreed with. In my skewed sight, walking away from me was rejection.
I know it was incredibly disrespectful, rude, and uncalled for. I’ve since tried VERY hard to curb it.
At some point in our relationship we stopped having fun. We became an old married couple (O.M.C.) in our thirties. We didn’t go out. We didn’t have dates, We didn’t do stupid, fun things ‘just because’. There was no reason for it. And I didn’t push it. Again, it was something I wanted, something I actually did ask for, but after being shot down one too many times, instead of insisting on it, I gave up on it. I gave up.
I don’t think either one of us wanted to be the O.M.C. but we had virtually nothing in common except our daughter. We are polar opposites, we have different taste in music, hobbies, food, fun, friends, movies. Shaughn never wanted to hang out with other couples, I wanted to have fun.
We tried a few times to go out on a date, I remember the last one. It was my birthday just before we split up. He took me to a fancy Indian restaurant (My fave) and we barely said 2 words to each other. At the end of our relationship, the only thing we could talk about was our kiddo. It was the only thing we really had in common.
I feel bad that I didn’t try to find more common ground for the two of us. I’m sad that our relationship was reduced to conversations about our daughter. I always believed that we would eventually find something we could enjoy together, we just never did.
I know relationships take work, a common thread with me, and this relationship is that I continually gave up. I gave in, I stopped fighting, I chose to be passive. I chose to not speak up, I chose to be mean, vindictive, and angry. I used passive aggressive behaviours to punish Shaughn.
I know what I did wrong, and I am so very sorry for all of it. I hope I have learned,and grown. I’m sure at this point Elliot is running for the hills away from this crazy chick (and I can’t say that I’d blame him).
So there it is. At least part of the story. My side. I know there is more. And then there is Shaughn’s story. And MY interpretation of what he did to contribute to the dissolving of our marriage.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami
Willie Nelson once said “I like myself better when I’m writing regularly”.
I’d have to agree with him. I like myself better when I take the time to sit down and put my words down. However mundane, witless, or boring; I just feel centered, more in touch with my life.
Like any person, I don’t generally take the time for myself. I don’t spend the time I’d like to spend writing. There is always something to be done, or finally at the end of the day I feel like my brain is mush. I don’t know how I did it as a student. It seemed no matter how tired, hung over, or even drunk I was, I still managed to write and get kick ass grades. Somehow I’m guessing I would score far less stellar marks. Far. Less. Stellar.
I think part of the reason I do this whole stop and start thing to my writing is, I stop when things are going well, writing has always been my ‘therapy’ and when life is good, I don’t need it. I tend to turn to my blog when things are shitty, sad, or I’m angry. Right now, I’m none of those things. Life is wonderful. Really fucking good actually.
Elliot has been here since June, he’s actually back in Wisconsin for a few weeks visiting Family. There’s a new niece, and people who’ve missed him tons! Joel has been here since May, my daycare is full and my Paisley is awesome. She loves school and is doing great.
I’ve talked about making our third bedroom an office/writing area for us, I’m really hoping to do it soon. I think if I can get my ass away from everyone else and all the household distractions, I may actually sit and write more often. Here’s hoping.
So my goal for the next 2 weeks is to spit out 3 blogs. It’s time to get this train back on the tracks.
One more quote. This one by Cyril Connolly: Better to write for yourself, and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
It seems like no matter which direction I look in these days; change is happening, whether I like it or not.
I’m relatively easy when it comes to change, I tend to adjust, and go with it. This last year has been one change after another, the decision to end my marriage, the decisions that needed to be made for my cancer diagnosis, changes in my job, my family, my brother moving in with me…it’s been like rapid fire.
Now, I am facing two more big changes, both are exciting, and scary.
Shaughn completed his third interview with Toyota today, a job that will offer him more money, full benefits, and a pension. It is also a job that will (by choice) take him away from his daughter. While I am very excited, about what this means for him, his future and our Paisley’s future, it also brings with it many unknowns. By choosing to move to a new city, he will be much more limited in the amount of time he is able to spend with her. This will have many trickle down effects, and I’m not sure that it’s the best thing for her. She is just now, a year after our separation starting to exhibit some behaviours associated with her father moving out, I fear that they will be exacerbated further when their time together is cut shorter.
Right now Shaughn has full access, he has his set times to have her, but often will hang out with her in-between his allotted time. I think it’s wonderful. He has always been a hands on Dad, they often spend time building things, doing crafty stuff, going to the park and researching My Little Pony shit. It’s such a special and sacred relationship, I am just afraid it will be lost. I question if I am being selfish, but no, I don’t think that’s it, I have nothing to be selfish over, I’m quite happy to be mummy 24/7 with the occasional break, but I have family and friends to fill in the gaps. No, I really am concerned about their relationship and it’s continued growth.
Alas, things change.
The second major change I’m facing is also a familial change. My lad is moving up from the states and will be living with us. This is scary and exciting at the same time. Another huge life change!
Elliot and I have been together long distance for 8 months, with him living with us off and on for close to 3 months. I’m beyond excited to have him here, I’m done with this long distance crap; although it has afforded me the chance to learn and grow…(read more about that here:https://simplysomeday.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/where-my-heart-is/ ) I’m ready to ditch the 6000 text messages and FaceTime chats.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve lived with a partner, It’s been a year of doing things on my own, on my terms, how I want them done. I’ve had a year to be selfish, and concentrate on my needs and wants (and Pais’) without having to really consider another person. We often have PB&J for dinners, on the weekends we try to sleep late and maximise every minute we have together, I can use my favourite snuggly blanket because I’m always cold, I can sleep in my WHOLE bed, not worrying about kicking the person beside me! SELFISH!
As much as I’m joking, I am nervous about sharing myself again, opening myself up to vulnerability, throwing my whole life and heart into an ocean and hoping we can swim; not just tread water, praying we don’t drown. I know in my heart that things will be good. I know we’re in for rocky times like any relationship, but I also know that there are so many wonderful things in store too. I can’t wait.
This move has brought up feelings in my extended family that I am not thrilled with. I know certain people disapprove, and when others find out they will more than disapprove, but really; I’m an adult, and frankly I don’t give a flying leap what others think about my relationship or how I live my life.
So bring it, bring the changes, bring the unknown, uncertainty, the doubt, the second-guessing, and bring the joy of change. I’m ready for it.
Having a conversation about music last night sparked a simple and fun blog idea….
What do I listen to?
Music has always played a huge part in my life. I’m a huge opera fan, I love jazz and the blues. I generally listen to talk radio, but when it’s time to rock out, I break out my phone, plug it in to my stereo and blare it! The louder the better…lately my musical selection has been an all empowering “Fuck You to the world” play list.
My Big FU song these days is ‘So What’ by P!NK. I love her. I’ve always loved her. Her music is inspiring, uplifiting, and makes me feel like it’s all going to be OK. She has an awesome sense of humour to boot! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJfFZqTlWrQ
If I’m feeling sappy and missing my lad, I plug into my Canal and Bowery playlist. On it you will find: Bright Eyes, The Lumineers, Jason Mraz, Hedley, Damien Rice, Train, Josh Radin, and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKU3UuJhIxU
I also have some Ed Sheeren, Of Monsters and Men, Philip Phillips, and my guilty pleasure (Pais and I will grab our wooden spoons and sing this at the top of our lungs) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F57P9C4SAW4
So there you have it, some of my music, the stuff that gets me through my days.
So this past week has been a test of co-parenting for me. I felt very out of my element, angry, hurt, and helpless. I’m not going into details, they really don’t matter.
Shaughn and I had a disagreement on what each of us thought was ok for Paisley. What I thought (and still do) was not appropriate, he thinks is just fine. I’ve constantly had to remind myself that this is how you co-parent, this is how things work. I cannot control what Pais sees, does, hears, or experiences when she’s not in my care.
I’ve had to remind myself that Shaughn would never do anything to endanger, hurt, or harm our child. I’ve also had to remind myself that it’s ok if he raises her differently than I do. It’s really ok. When we were together, I did the bulk of child rearing, just as I still do. I’m able to decide what Pais wears, what shows she watches, who she plays with, and what she plays. I make many of those decisions for her as in many cases, she is too young to make appropriate decisions; if I left it up to her she’d wear her bathing suit in December. Shaughn, due to his work schedule, then school, had little to say about things, and we were generally on the same page anyway.
Now, with sharing our time with Pais separately, I’m finding that they are doing things that I would never do in our house, I was having a very hard time wrapping my head around the fact that things are different. That they are doing things that I am so opposed to. Is she being hurt? Nope. Is it ruining her chances of being a productive member of society? Nope. They are just not things I would ever let her do.
I know Shaughn thinks I am a control freak. To an extent I am. I have to be. I don’t have the luxury of not being that way. I live my life according to schedules, I don’t divert from them often. I insist that Pais follows them, she needs routine just as much as I do. When I say it’s a luxury to not have to live by them, I mean it. I don’t want to be this way, I don’t want to have to get up early, get her dressed and fed by 8:30, I don’t want to have to worry about her 7:30 bedtime each night and fitting in dinner, quality time, and a bath. I would love to be the fun parent who lets her stay up late, I would love to stay in bed a bit longer on the weekends, but I can’t and don’t.
This has been the hardest adjustment for me thus far. And now that I’ve calmed the hell down a bit, I can see more rationally.
I know we aren’t going to raise her exactly the same, I know they will do cool stuff that I can’t, and she and I will do cool stuff that they won’t. I know he may give her heck for something I wouldn’t and vice versa. And it’s ok. I just need to take a deep breath and remember…It’s Ok. Shaughn will ALWAYS have her back, and he will always have mine. We will always disagree, but we will always try to see the others point of view, and on the big stuff we will present a united front.
This was the first of many issues that will arise, but I know we’ll be ok. Because we always are.
Thank you Shaughn for putting up with my control freak, I appreciate it.
Each day I marvel at my life, I sit for just a minute or two…sometimes I’m only afforded 30 seconds, but I sit and say thank you for my beautiful life.
A friend visited me yesterday, she brought along her little lad, Liam. He is fresh from the oven so to speak, with only 4 months life experience. He is Lovely; cuddly, squishy, smiley, chubby, and delicious. Yes, I could eat him. He’s that adorable.
Visiting with Mel and Liam made me realise just how quickly the last few years have flown by. Literally flown by.
I can’t believe it’s been five years since I first held my daughter, and now, the number of times I’ve held her or cuddled her is countless. The only way to measure it would be to measure the love she herself puts out into the universe.
I remember countless nights, just waiting for morning to come so another day would pass…literally wishing my time away. As Paisley screamed with colic for hours, all I could think of was the day she wouldn’t, and when would that be, and how many more nights would I have to spend this way?
Looking back now, I remember the soft early dawn light, when Pais finally stopped crying, and we would watch the sun slowly make its way above the horizon. I would hold her in my lap, sometimes I would be crying from sheer exhaustion, but other times, I would sit and hold her, thanking god for another beautiful day, thanking god that I had this beautiful, healthy child in my arms. I remember those quiet moments now and would give anything to have them back.
As adults we tend to forget the quiet times, amidst the craziness of our everyday lives, it’s not often that we just sit and take stock of the world around us. We are caught up in jobs, chores, the news, families, and friends; we forget that the flowers are just starting to peek out of winter soil, that the birds are up and singing far earlier than we are. We forget that even in the April snowstorms, there is still beauty and stillness to be admired.
When Paisley was sick a few weeks back, throwing up over and over, I sat there wishing it was over. I was losing money by not working for the day, I was tired after being up all night with her, I was horrified each time she emptied her tummy thinking “here we go again’…it wasn’t until later that I realised that I had the day cuddling, reading books and holding my daughter, just like when she was a baby…I again missed the beauty, wishing the illness would just end. Did I suffer from missing a days work? In retrospect, no, not really. Did I catch up on my sleep? Yes, of course I did.
I, like so many others need to stop, take stock and admire the beauty around us. See the sun filtering though the windows with dust motes dancing in the rays; notice the grass is greener than it was just a short week ago. Take a moment to talk, and listen to your child, REALLY listen to them. Play your favourite song, and feel the music, dance and sing like no one is watching, judging, or listening to you. Take a few minutes to enjoy something, anything. Just enjoy it.
Our life is short, our children grow up so quickly, sleepless nights with colic will soon turn into sleepless nights while your child has your car keys, that friend you meant to have a coffee with might move away, your parent won’t always be there, call them to chat.
Enjoy your day, THIS day. It’s the only one you’ll ever have just like it. It will never be the same again.
I’ve written three drafts of this, each a little different, each still remains in my draft folder waiting to see the light of day.
I’m not sure why I’ve been so hesitant to publish them. I know there is something holding me back; otherwise I would have.
I’m not the type to fill everyone in on every little detail of my life. I don’t update Facebook every hour, or even many days. I sure as hell don’t talk about my relationship. I don’t post lovey meme’s for the world to see, and I don’t write ‘I heart you’ messages on mine, or anyone else’s wall.
I’m also afraid. I’m mainly afraid of what others will think. I’ve been separated for just short of a year, but here I am head over heels in love with another. I question my own sanity at times, I don’t need others questioning it either. As strong as I appear to others, things do affect me. I take criticism to heart, and feel every jab as if you really did mean to stab me with your words. So yes…I’ve been afraid.
I’m in love. It’s not lust, it’s not loneliness, it’s not needing another person, it’s not a fill-in or replacement, it’s nothing more than love. I wasn’t looking for it, but found it. I’m happy. I’m so very happy.
Elliot and I have been friends for quite a while, he lives in Wisconsin, a 12 hour train ride away. We met in an unlikely time and way, which is just part of our story. He is a wonderful man, who has seen me at my worst and my best.
As I was going through my separation he listened to me sob on the phone, he offered nothing more than an ear and shoulder. As I underwent my cancer stuff and surgeries he was here, not on the phone, but showing up two days before my surgery because I needed him; he was with me before I went in, and was there as soon as I woke up. He held the barf bucket as I dealing with the effects of anaesthetic and as he said goodbye and I was still throwing up, he patiently cleaned me up and said I love you.
He has spent many hours on the bus coming for weeks visits to see Paisley and I, rearranging work schedules to maximise his time with us. He is as dedicated to making this work, as am I.
This long distance relationship has afforded me the time I needed to heal, to grow and to really think about what I wanted and needed in both my life and relationships. I’ve had time to examine my own faults in the breakdown of my marriage and how my actions played a part in its demise. I’ve also had time to think about what I’d done right, what qualities I bring to the table. I’ve been able to do this because Elliot was far away, I’m sure that if he were here, I’d be caught up in the moment and not take the time to work on myself.
This relationship has been work, at times it’s been challenging to not have him close, there are many a night I’ve questioned if this was the right thing for us, he and I, and myself and Paisley. It’s far easier to give up when the person isn’t in front of you. But we haven’t given up, we work through the hard stuff, we talk and talk…we take on the challenge and come out for the better. Some days I would give anything just for a hug, but again, I’ve learned that I can make do without it.
And now, I live my life by countdown calendars…how many more days till Elliot is with us, right now the count is at 52.
I’m a very lucky girl. I’m a very lucky girl in love with a wonderful man who thinks the world of both me and Paisley. One who loves my family, and enjoys my friends. A man who can sit with me in front of the fire not saying a word just listening to the world go by, or who loves to splash in the water with Paisley at the beach. A boy who’s willing to give it all up for some Canadian girl, 2000 miles away. I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on my life this last year. It’s been a helluva year, but it’s done. I survived in more than one way. When I think about what my 36th year will hold for me, I’m excited; I’m looking forward to the unknown, and am waiting for new adventures to unfold.
No one sets out and says “God I think this is going to be a shit ass year”, but last year I did. Last March I was in a bad place. I was trying to play family with Shaughn, keep it together while he was gone 14 hours a day, run my business, be a friend, a daughter, and a mummy. I knew that it was going to be hard. I didn’t anticipate cancer, or our separation.
I’m starting this year differently. I’m mentally in a better place, I love my new life despite a few blips in the chart. I’m cancer free (Almost 6 Months!!!!), I have a much better relationship separated from Shaughn than I did with him, and am in a relationship that makes me happy.
I’m starting 36 feeling renewed, like I have my whole life waiting for me, I just have to get out there and grab it. I am starting to think about things I’ve not done in years, I’m planning things that make me happy, I’m doing silly things, because they make me HAPPY! I’m over the days of caring what others think of me, I’m living my life as me. Like it or lump it.
Some people haven’t liked it. That’s ok. I’m not looking for their approval, I don’t need it. All I need is to do what is best for Paisley and myself. She is and will always be my first priority. As long as she is safe, happy, and has her needs met, I think we’re doing well. Fortunately, she is and has all of the above. Fortunately, so do I.
Tomorrow I am spending the day in yoga pants, alone. I’m not getting out of my bed, I’m not seeing friends or family. I know this has also upset a few people but I need some time for myself. Alone.
The only thing I’m missing is a pint of Ben And Jerry’s ‘If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours’
Happy Birthday To Me, Here’s hoping 36 is everything I’m thinking it will be.
Sometimes I hate being a single parent. I appreciate the fact that her father wants to spend time with her, I love that she wants to spend time with him. But holy fuck do I miss her.
I miss my kiddo.
I’m in a piss ass mood and I’m having trouble shaking it tonight. I just want to snuggle with my girl, read another Fancy Nancy book, and tuck her in. But I can’t. I am sitting here instead blogging about it.
She’ll be home tomorrow, and by the time it’s her fathers weekend again, I’ll be ready for another break, but right now, I just want Magee home.
I rarely question my decision to be a single parent. On the whole I’m happier, not as angry, and a better parent; but I often feel stretched, and I miss parts of my old life. I miss some of my freedom. I miss my friends and socializing. I miss not being able to attend things because I chose this life.
But tonight all I miss is my girl, her skinny five year old arms wrapped around my neck, asking me to rock her like I did when she was a baby.
Tomorrow will be a better day, I get to read bed time stories, I get to bug her to tidy her room, help me fold laundry and put dishes away. I get to work on her school work, practising math sums and printing.