February 4, 2008 — Last night I fell asleep with my daughter in my arms. Small, tender, still-pudgy, soft Eliana. All of four years old and so dear, when I saw her in her pink, pink bed in her pink, pink room, eyes-open still awake, and asked if she’d like to lay with me in my bed, she literally leaped from the covers to trail after me down the hall. In the dark of my room, with the far window shade up so I could see the snow, I lay eyes-open, holding her warm small body, and thinking about how much I’ll miss her when she has to stay at her father’s house. But I guess that is the price of divorce. I had to swallow the ache because I couldn’t tell her how I felt. Rule number one in the Divorced Parents Handbook is don’t detract from your children’s relationship with your ex-spouse. In theory, I want my children to have a close relationship with their father because he is, after all, their father. But in reality, I want them to be with me all the time.
Does every relationship come with a price? My three children – gifts, all – will learn in time that their father does not have it together. They will be disappointed by him. But he is their father, he is IN them, and so they will love him and forgive his flaws, forever. I suppose that is the price of a parent-child relationship.
There have been moments when I’ve felt that hole-in-the-middle can’t-swallow ache of impending divorce. One of those came last night, after I hung up the phone with a man I’d met recently. We never met in person, just chatted by phone, but last night he suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t chat too often until I am officially divorced, since a) you never end up with the first person you meet after you split, b) that’s a lot of emotional investment, and c) being in the middle of a divorce is like being in a jungle without a guide.
When I hung up the phone, it hit me that along with the absence of tension, stress, and the person who has largely been the key cause of that for me during the last seven years, divorce is going to bring silence and solitude. I’ve never been really alone and I probably won’t be after my marriage ends, since family and friends will probably bang down my door when I’m feeling sorry for myself in front of a rerun of Friends.
I can already imagine those (thankfully few) nights without Asher, Eliana, and Shaya. The house will be neat and quiet. I’ll go to yoga, get sushi for dinner, perhaps rent a movie or finish some work. And then I’ll lay alone in the deafening quiet, imagining the silhouette of little bodies beside me but reaching out and feeling only the cold air.
There is of course the chance that I’ll relish the time alone, that I’ll return to ME, that I’ll be an even better mother, focused, doting, gushing love, when they’re with me. But I know there will be pockets of dangling when I’ll have to remember why I ended my marriage in the first place: because I deserve more than a life of loneliness.
Welcome to Nourish Café. This is where I’ll muse on the meaning of my life, share insights and tender moments and anger and rage and definition. Feel free to chime in, for we’re all looking for connection.