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.”
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.