There’s a new Woog & Berry poddy up in which we discuss, at length, the parlous state of my sex life in comparison to my ah, needs.
So things have just been travelling along as they do. There are family realignment papers to be signed so that is a development. Not unexpected but confronting all the same. I keep thinking to myself, just like that.
But something that has crept up on me is a pining for physical contact. Oh sure, a bit of hot sex would be grand fuck I need to get laid but it’s moreÂ the physicality of a relationship. The enveloping hugs, the hand on the knee, yes the dry hump in the kitchen as you’re trying to get dinner ready, their smell.
I may start crash-tackling friends’ husbands just to sniff them and get some male pheromones on me. You’re all warned.
The online dating fiasco is ongoing. I am so half-hearted aboutÂ it and largely only engage with it for ridicule purposes so I’m not sure why I’m surprised and a little dejected that not one man has contacted me. OK, three have but the less said about those the better. I think I am pushing shit up a hill being fat, forty with four kids and a dyke haircut. I mean, who am I kidding.
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.
Our family has undergone the greatest of upheavals and yet still the wheels turn.
There’s an added labouring to getting the boys to school now though, they want to stay close, bunker down. But that is also part and parcel to this time of year as we hurtle towards Christmas and the end of the school year.
I’d say the boys are kinder to each other but that would be a lie. They are, however, more together. There’s battles here and wrestling there and tears thrown in for good measure, along with hurls of abuse and indignation at rules not followed.
I am still making dinner every.fucking.night. although yesterday was an afternoon of cooking the most delightful comfort foods – homemade spring rolls (a first and a triumph) and then cheese and bacon pinwheels for dinner. Have you ever made cheese and bacon pinwheels? Take a few square sheets of puff pastry, mix equal parts of grated cheese to finely diced bacon (so I made 5 sheets last night with 500g bacon and 600g cheese) then spread on the puff. Roll up, smear some water or egg along the final edge to seal. Cut into 6 even rolls then bake at 180C for about 15 minutes, maybe 20 – I’m unsure of time, I just go off how they look.
I tell you, if you’re feeling glum about your husband leaving you and abandoning your kids, they go someway to cheering you up.
The weekend also brought joy in a whole other form:
Meet Zelda. Isn’t she delicious! Her tiny presence has transformed the house, taking the focus off things we have no control over.