I hope you enjoy the hell out of your life.
Someone left this comment on another post, in reference to me writing about the shit show that my life has spiraled into from one conscious choice of betrayal.
The ironic part of that statement is that in my previous life, I thought I was enjoying the hell out of it. I have this lovely home; truly, it is not just loved for its grandiose stature, for its sprawling woods and unbeatable views. It’s loved because its my home. Because it’s the place I’ve lived for so many years and the place my children came home to and the place of enough memories to make one weep. I have two great kids. I had financial security…not flying to European countries and $100 bottles of wine security, but comfortable, we can go out to eat and buy nice clothes without worrying kind of security.
I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, pretty much. For example, I spent much of the past summer lounging at the pool with my girlfriends, soaking in the sun while the kids played with their friends. I spent many a night on my patio, marveling in my contentment of summer and wine and my friends. I enjoyed the fun and frolic when my husband was actually free…nights out and concerts. I took road trips when I wanted to–the beach, the city, to visit friends.
I took pride in my ability to run the house and balanced my “rewards” (pool, girl time, trips) with my work…keeping the ship in order. Maintaining the outside…weeding, planting, watering. Cleaning. Taking care of everyone’s needs–shopping, cooking, handling the finances, errands. It was all about balance.
And, we had a good marriage. I was definitely happy…
The funny thing is, I’m starting to look back and realize that I was very, very clearly not enjoying the hell out of my life. I was enjoying my life within very narrow, brick wall parameters. I was making the best of a less-than-ideal situation without even realizing that it was less than ideal.
I was doing this, without even realizing it.
My home? Beloved as it is/was, it was a home where the dad never sat down to eat with the family. Because we “ate too early” for him. Because that was “I have to work out”. A home where I woke and drank coffee by myself every single day. I told myself I liked this, I liked the peace and quiet. A home where everything was cared for and loved by me: everything from my summer set up on the patio to my lilies to my children.
I was happy with our financial security…but was I? Or was it more of a well, if he’s going to be married to his work, might as well reap the benefits kind of thing? I told myself constantly that part of why I did everything was because of how hard he worked for us. And I ignored the many, many times I asked him to just once put family before work. JUST ONCE delegate to someone else and go away for a weekend with us, or attend a family gathering with us. Just once take the day off for someone else other than yourself…for one of your kids’ birthdays, for a spontaneous road trip on an Indian summer day, anything. But no. Work always came first. In fact, it was stated by PC shortly before our demise, Work first, kids second, my wife third. That’s just the reality. Pretty telling, huh?
My summer fun and my lovely girlfriends? Without a doubt, irreplaceable. I certainly made the best of my life, but I also see it as a salve. A tonic that kept me from really feeling how terribly lonely and undervalued I felt. How many nights I sat on the patio, marveling in the summer sky and texting my girls…but wishing he was there with me. Wondering why it was so much more important to go to the bar, or to work, every single night. Looking back…duh. He was likely with her. There’s no way of knowing and it really doesn’t matter.
My road trips. That I made happen, not just for me but for my kids. That he never, ever participated in. That he always encouraged me to go on and have fun, and then when I’d return he would be pissy and bitchy well, must be nice. He never wanted to hear about our trips beyond the basic details, and I specifically remember after my last beach trip trying to express to him how wonderful it had been. And him making comments like do you really think I want to sit here and listen to all this? Remember who was working the whole time you were frolicking.
Or, after a trip to a city zoo in which I told him how horrendously bad our children were, why do you keep going on these trips then? And me trying to explain that however bad they were, it’s still an experience for them. It was still memories. It’s just what you do when you have kids…its worth the chaos and struggle. He never got that. And he never participated.
The way I ran the house. To my specifications but based on him. Learning to cook because he said he didn’t eat with us “because you can’t cook” (this was somewhat true, my specialty was frozen pizza). But then when I started to cook, and became halfway decent, he still didn’t eat with us. How whenever he came home at lunch, or after work, if I was just relaxing or not being productive I felt guilty. As if I wasn’t supposed to be enjoying springtime air by drawing chalk with my kids, or I wasn’t supposed to take an afternoon power-nap to recharge myself for the 2nd half of the day, or because I was a stay at home mom who took my kids to the pool, I wasn’t supposed to enjoy it. God forbid we ran out of Gatorade or lunchmeat and if the dog drooled on the couch and I left it go, it was a cause for alarm.
And my marriage. It was just fine. We went out and had fun every weekend. We had a lot of laughs. We had a lot of fun with our friends. We had an intimate relationship that seemed pretty damn good. I let him be who he was and he let me be who I was, and this is what I thought it was about. The give and take. Except, as I’ve stated before. I gave. He took. On the surface he did all the right things but the bottom line was: he was selfish, demanding, bossy, immature and unable to ever, ever put me first. And I was the opposite. I put him above everything else. Because I was a good wife.
So. Enjoying the hell out of my life? The old me was trying, but it was as though I was inside a bubble. Everything was smooth and tangible through a clear, slightly warped point of view. It seemed fine. Fine. Everyone has issues. No one’s life is perfect.
And now. I’m still in the trenches. My legal battle has barely begun. I have no idea what PC’s next move might be. I have no clue where I’m going to live. I have no money. I am not sure if my children are really doing as okay as I think they might be, or if it’s all about the come crashing down and they’ll be juvenile delinquents before middle school. I have no idea, still, whether I’m going to wake up and be angry, sad, or so incredibly overwhelmed I can’t think straight. Sleep is a fickle temptress. When it comes, it’s so welcome but I’ve learned not to count on it. Or anything, for that matter.
But. And this is a big but. I keep thinking to myself I can do whatever the hell I want. I don’t need to bargain with my husband to watch the kids so I can go out with my friends. I don’t need to plan a weekend trip to my parents around what he wants to do. I don’t have to vacuum and mop the motherfucking floor just because he can’t stand dog hair (in the grand scheme of life, lint rollers are a wonderful invention.) I can go to bed at 9pm and not worry about him being “bored”, or I can stay up til midnight facebooking and not have to deal with him saying all you care about is Facebook. I can burn candles without complaints of you might burn the house down and I hate that smell and my dog sleeps in my bed because who fucking cares about dog hair!
My kids and I. I sense this little unit forming, independent of him. He’s still their dad, and always will be, and the level to which he performs that duty is totally up to him. But them and I? I feel like we’ve laughed a bit more. I feel like they fight a tiny bit less. I feel like my son has empathy towards me, even if he doesn’t really know why. I know for a fact that I yell at them less. That I read to my daughter longer at bedtime, because I’m not in a rush to get downstairs and spend fifteen minutes with PC before he’d leave for the bar.
And so, I envision. Another house, and the cosmetics probably won’t matter. My specifications are ridiculous according to my father, but the things that are important to me: somewhere with some type of outdoor area. A yard, even a small one, for my kids and dogs. Three bedrooms, because a the Boy Child and the Girl Child in one room is just asking for World War III. I’d love to be able to see the woods, or the sunset.
I envision getting my kids a kitten. They have both asked, but of course, PC said no.
I envision a house where everyone is always welcome. Not based on PC’s moods. More sleepovers because who cares if they’ll be up until midnight and interfere with your drinking time, or awake at 6am and interrupt your beauty sleep? A house where food is cooked, music is on, animals are underfoot and friends are always close.
A life where I do the things that make me happy. Where the little things are really the big things, but in a real, authentic way. Not as if they were being viewed from inside a snow globe, waiting for PC to grace us with his presence.
I’m not unrealistic. I know that the financial aspects of divorce, no matter how much in my favor, are going to indicate a lower standard of living for some time. I know that I’ll likely be in therapy and taking antidepressants for a while. I know that the incredibly painful sense of I cannot believe he did this to me will continue to crop up. That I will likely continue to have dreams in which everything is normal again. That I will likely have to deal with him and Trollup whether I want to or not because, you know, kids. That somehow the heartache of having to share them, separately, with someone else, will simply have to become normalized. That a small but significant portion of their lives, likely including some holidays, will happen without me. When you’re the person who carried them, delivered them, fed them, cared for them, taught them, nurtured them, soothed them, cleaned up their vomit, dealt with tantrums….all of it, well. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
But. There is no reason, whatsoever, not to strive for a life I will revel in. And to grasp, even in this hardest, worst part of this process, the good things. The jokes, the laughter, the extra hugs from my kids, the sense of independence–which ironically, could not be happening without the support of my friends and family.
Enjoy the hell out of my life. I’m on it.