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
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.
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.
My entire life I’ve felt like the elephant in the room, not in the traditional sense of the phrase, but more literally.
Since puberty, I’ve been curvy. So since about 10 when I got boobs, I’ve always been slightly bigger than my friends. As I became an adult I’ve packed on the weight. Dealing with depressive episodes, life circumstances, and boredem, I turned to food to fill this void.
Now, I am fat. Yep, I said it. FAT not to be confused with Phat…but I’m that too (Pretty, Hot, and Tempting). I embrace it to a degree, I don’t mind being curvy, I like boobs and butts, but, I’ve reached a point beyond that. I’m not comfortable in my own skin.
When I’m with my family and friends it’s obvious that I am the largest person in the room, when shopping I can’t get the latest fashions or styles without spending a fortune.
In this day and age when society is on a push to be fat positive, and to be body positive regardless of shape and size, I find myself being embarrassed that I don’t. I am ashamed that I look at the pictures and compare myself to them and think, “well, I’m even bigger than that, I don’t even fit here”.
To go along with my body shape/size, I also have a big personality which I think just exacerbates and brings to the forefront, my physical size. I’m the ‘biggest’ in every sense of the word.
So now what? Like many women, I’ve tried the diets, starvation, weight watchers, vegetarian diet, high protein low carb. I’ve tried intuitive eating…the problem with that one was, I intuitively always want to eat…ice cream, chips, pop corn…. I had very good successes with numerous attempts at weight watchers, but due to money and lack thereof it was something that is just a luxury I can’t afford. I’ve had gym memberships which have also gone the way of weight watchers. I love the gym, I love Zumba, swimming, dance areobics…but being a single mum with limited time and income, the gym isn’t something that fits into my life. People tell me that I have to make fitness a priority, which I agree with, but caring for my daughter is the biggest priority.
I enjoy walking, but again, when I have 2 hours between finishing work and Paisley’s bedtime, It’s tough to fit in dinner, baths, books, and cleanup, let alone an hour to walk each night, or even every other night. I’ve tried Zumba on the Wii, but there’s something sad and depressing about doing it in my small living-room alone. Sigh.
I’m not sure what the answer is. I enjoy playing games in the yard with the kids, tag, soccer, races. These things get my heart rate up, but not as much as it should.
I’m not making excuses, I know why I am the size I am. Now I just have to find something that works for me. Something I can stick to, something that I find satisfying and that will keep me motivated!
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.
Some days I do just want to give up, give in, and just hide. I’m tired, overworked, underpaid.
Some days I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, but then I remember where I was a year ago, and I take a deep breath, and I smile. Life is so much better now.
I’ve made a very conscious decision to start living more simply, I’ve let the past fall to the wayside, and am filling my days with the things that make me happy. I’m letting go of anger, fear, and I’m moving forward.
I’m just trying to live more simply.
This hasn’t been an easy task, and it means I’ve had to let some things in my life go. I am not going out as often, I’m choosing to be at home with Pais rather than go across London on a bus for a coffee date. I’m choosing to cook more, bake more. I’ve been watching less and reading more.
I had spent many years feeling pulled in many directions, trying to be there for everyone, trying to please my friends, family, and job. I would make myself crazy trying to do it all. I would be making pot luck dinners for S’s classmates, meeting my sorority girls twice a month, making dinners and lunches for college kids, spending my Saturday’s at the YMCA with Paiz for swimming, and dancing. I was trying to get in family time with S and Pais, as well as with my family. Unfortunately S didn’t want to spend as much time with my family, but did just our’ little family’.
I made the commitment to myself, and Paisley to start living simpler. I started saying “no”. No, I’m sorry I can’t go out tonight for the third time this week. No, I’m sorry I can’t make two separate dinners. No I’m sorry Paiz can’t go on yet another playdate. No, No, No. I did start saying yes to the things that are important. I started saying Yes, we can hold off on dinner for 10 minutes while we dance around the kitchen blaring P!nk and singing into wooden spoons, I began saying Yes, I would love to come for Sunday dinner but can we do it here to make things a bit easier on me. I will say Yes Paiz, lets bake cookies and muffins instead of buying them.
I started to make different priorities in my life. If I’m feeling too pulled, I slow down. I think about what is most important and focus on that, not all the outside ‘noise’ clouding up my life.
I occasionally fall back into old pattens, and I need to check myself and remind myself that my friends will still be my friends if I am unable to attend a function, and that my family may be disappointed that I don’t make a Sunday dinner, but it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes it’s really hard, but I’m doing it.
So my crazy life is becoming simpler, I’m slowing down, taking stock, and doing what makes me and Magee happy. I’ve mostly left my chaotic life behind and am working towards an easier, kinder, and loving life.
I love who you are, I love the giggles, the belly laughs, the wonder and words that come from you.
I love your imagination, how you can sit for hours playing with your dolls, or pony’s making up stories, sub stories, and adventures that leave me in awe of how your brain works.
I love that you are a caring child, that you go out of your way to make everyone feel special and included. I love that you don’t see people’s differences, and that you take them at face value; never questioning why they are different, just accepting them. I’m so proud of that.
I love your crazy sense of humour, you love to tell me the silliest knock knock jokes, they make absolutely no sense to anyone but you, but I love to hear you laugh.
I love your never-ending need for knowledge. I love that you constantly want to know how things work, and why they are the way they are. I love that you are learning to read and will devour books faster than ice cream. You get so excited each day to work on your school work, diligently getting your pencil and crayons and school books. You will spend hours with them, working on pages until I say it’s time to finish up, you always ask to do ‘just one more…please?’. I hope as you continue to grow, that you embrace learning not as a chore, but as something special and precious.
I am amazed at how resilient you are, with everything that has happened in the last year, you have remained steady. I had been bracing myself for the worst, and yet here you are. Nothing phases you Paisley. You roll with the punches with the best of them.
I love your sweet innocence. I love to watch you dance, moving your whole body with the music, not caring who is watching, just lost in your head. I love to watch you in nature, searching for fairies, finding their homes in old tress, leaving them flowers, and wanting to bake them mini cookies. I love that you aren’t jaded.
I love how the best part of your week is Friday nights, where we snuggle in with popcorn and a movie, just the two of us, and how on Monday you are already contemplating that weeks movie choice. As you informed me today, it’s very important to choose the right movie!
I love who you are Paisley, I love who you are becoming with each passing day. I am the luckiest Mummy in the world to have you for my baby; and yes, you will always be my baby even though you hate it when I say it.
So my love, today you are five, I hope this next year continues to challenge, and excite you. I hope your days are filled with joy and laughter, and that your tears will be few.