So a year ago today Chef told me he was unhappy and didn’t love me any more. Surprise!
He was gone four days later after a long weekend away to be
on his own with ‘friends’. He was completely packed up and out of the houseÂ within the week, taking with him the boys’ playstation and xbox1.
So there was my worst case scenario playing out before my very eyes. Something I had vowed would never happen to us was happening to us. I realise how naive it was for me to think I would have a say in something as important as my marriage ending. Â To this day there’s never been a proper discussion about it just text responses and one word answers. And I think that was one of the things that upset me the most, 23 years, 4 kids and he didn’t think we were worth fighting for.
So he gets a shiny new life with a shiny new
foetus partner. I would not swap out of the messy, hard, joyous complicated life for the world but I must say it stings a little. I wonder if she is getting a better version of him? One who doesn’t sleep all the time or sit on his computer rather than opting in to the life going on around him. Does he do washing? Does he not let all his clothes just pile up in a mountain beside his bed? Does he make dinner or clean-up after it without having to be asked? Does he not leave massive skid marks in the toilet? Does he do anyÂ housework in their pad? How on earth can he think seeing his kids for 4-5hrs a week is being a good dad?
And then I realise I too had aÂ better him once. God he used to make me laugh. Remember the bed shark? In the car, turning left, does he still think to himself ‘I am going left’ and smile in memory of the time he was telling me to go left, left! and I wailed ‘I am going left’ as I sailed on right. Does he remember the stupid licking game we used to play where you’d try to catch the other off-guard and lick their face? Or the time we were camping and went for a bushwalk that became the scene from Survivor. We were trying to keep the boys upbeat as the rain beat down and we clambered over fallen trees when he quietly said to me, ‘if the SES aren’t called for us this’ll be a good day’. Again, funny. What about the captain’s log, my travel journal of Tasmania (with the total of one entry, ‘and we’re off!’) and the pointing stick? The births of our boys?
As today loomed I started to feel pretty angry, resentful and bitter, three things I can honestly say I have barely felt this year. My friend M posted a motivational message on FB yesterday which was unlike her as we tend to be grossly cynical of such things, but it came at a really good time. It kicked me out of the blackness those emotions bring.
I have achieved so much this year. I feel stronger, brighter, more optimistic for the future. I feel unencumbered, released and loved. So loved.
My relationship with my boys, always strong, is even moreso. Only I will ever truly know what it is to be a proper parent to these boys. Through the daily detritus of ‘get dressed’, ‘where are your shoes’, ‘chocolate is not a breakfast food’ to the tribulations of growing up ‘I’m sad and I don’t know why’, ‘I had to sit through a talk to day that made me want to kill myself’, the joys of just hanging on the couch, going and doing things, cooking together and being the one they turn to when they’re happy/sad/angry/frustrated/every other emotion. God I’m so so lucky. I feel like I’ve won the golden ticket to be these boys’ mum.
My mental health and mood are the best they’ve been in more time than I can remember. My resting state is one of happiness and promise.
We have cats! This was singularly probably the best thing I did for me and the boys. They are an integral part of the house now and bring all of us so much joy. Not a day goes past we don’t laugh at something they’re doing. They sleep on the boys’ beds and are adored.
Things have broken and I have fixed them. I’ve sold stuff, researched and bought stuff. To mark today I bought the boys a new playstation, telling them it was a thank you from me as well as a way to show them how proud I was of them in how they have handled the biggest life-changing event they have ever had.
We are going on a holiday for the first time since 2009! A road trip to the Victorian high country which now I realise will probably be hotter than Hades but still, away! together!
My family and indeed Chef’s family have been unsurpassable in their support of me and the boys. My in-laws deserve a special shout-out in what is a hugely conflicting, confusing, baffling, upsetting and angry time. How did they choose to react and respond? With love, kindness, grace and understanding. I love them, my SIL and her family, my BIL and his partner so much and they will always be a critical component to mine and the boys’ lives.
And then there are my friends. My wondrous friends. I have the best friends in the world. You have turned up at the door with flowers, food and booze. YouÂ have raged on my behalf, made me laugh and let me sob big snotty sobs down the phone. Always there and always willing me on.
I am truly blessed.