Many, many years ago, when I was just a child, my grandfather had cancer. This was years before he would pass away (not from cancer, ironically) and it was also years before I realized the true gift of having him in my life. But nonetheless, he wrote/spoke about “the positive side of having cancer”.
I had a connection yesterday…just one of those random moments of running into a mild acquaintance in the deli aisle, and somehow it came out that she, too, had been down this similar path that I’m on, albeit years ago. We commiserated, traded tales, and talked about how women get through this. I was a mess, she said. Yes, yes, I concur. There was a point when my parents and my son and I did EVERYTHING together, she said. Yep, familiar. There was a period when my son and I had this routine, and it was just us, and it was so nice, she said. Yes, I get that. Life isn’t perfect, but even with just me and my kids, there is a sweetness in the familiar and the new routines. Now I have a REAL marriage. One that made me realize that my first one was like…
A mirage? I supplied. She agreed.
So, I suppose I’m light year away from another marriage, or even a relationship, or–if we’re gonna be honest–a date. But I left this interaction feeling light-hearted. Even in the sharing of gory details about how terrible divorce is, how hard it is being a single mom, how annoying it is when the woman he cheated on you with becomes his significant other…I walked away feeling…lighthearted.
The positive side of divorce?
For starters, my friends, I can do whatever the fuck I want. This applies to the big and the small equally. There is a comfort factor that is huge in the unity of a couple…but there are aspects that require a lot of compromise. I imagine this is true even in a happy, perfect couple. Want to go to bed at 9p.m.? No problem. Want to blow off a snow day watching Netflix while the kids drone on movies? Go for it. Want to spend the first 45 minutes awake laying in bed with a dog scrolling facebook? No worries.
This extends further. Want to test out your abilities as a writer and a blogger and a photographer and an author? No one to hold you back. Want to paint the kitchen a specific color of white? Do it.
What else? Well, my kids. In my heart of hearts, I would have wanted my kids to be raised in a family with married, loving parents. After all, that’s how I was raised. One of the biggest things that broke my heart was the idea of my kids being from a broken home, being children of divorce. But? There is a unit of solidarity between them and I that wouldn’t exist without this. There is a sense in my head that having been through “this” will give them a sense of reality. A sense of authenticity. There’s a part of me that hopes beyond hope that instead of turning out like his father, my son will turn out to be a man who treats a woman the way she deserves to be treated. That he will be better off having witnessed a single mom. That both of them will see the sacrafices I’ve made and the sacrafices their father hasn’t made, and apply the lessons learned accordingly.
Dating. Not there yet. Dabbling with online apps. But. In conversations with my lovely friend (we’ll call her Sarah) who is on this same path as I am, dating is fun. She has a stellar attitude and the benefit of living in a major city, but she convinced me to make a profile on Bumble. She referred to it as a turning point for her. As horrified as she was when her friends signed her up, she landed dates with 5 different people and rediscovered a part of herself. She convinced me to do it as well and although i’m not sure if a date will commence, I won’t deny that it’s kind of fun.
And finally? My future is unwritten. Its not etched in any stone, in any vow, its not blazened in a princess cut and a marriage certificate. I’m a mom first, a writer second. I’m a friend (a damn good one), a kind person, a creative person, a lover of nature and intellectuality. I have everything ahead of me and its all…whatever I choose.
I thought I was happy. I thought my life with PC was what I wanted…it was safe and okay and that was about it. But I was stunted, held back, and unauthentic. So the positive side of divorce? Well, nobody wants it. Its ugly, its sad. But like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, so do I. The future is wide open and anything is possible.
Everything is possible.