One year

The anniversary I never imagined
The anniversary I never imagined

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 house 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.  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 any  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 a 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.

Problems joys

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. You 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.

Onward.

 

 

 

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  • You are truly magnificent and I am seeing the best version of you I think I have ever seen and we have known each other for more then 20 years, so that is saying something. Bravo to you my wonderful friend. xxxx

    • Thank you bloss. I feel like a better version of me. As I said, your three pieces of advice in the early days – 1. Rearrange your bedroom, 2. Get a cat(s) and 3. Find something to look forward to every week – have been three pieces of the best advice I have received. It has meant so much to me having you by my side, willing me on and sharing dumplings. xxx

  • fiona edmonds

    Yes indeed, you are magnificence itself. I think you are wonderful, and someone else is certainly going to come off worst out of this.

  • Kim I think you’re amazing. I really do. I had a different experience but have been through all of the same emotions/fears/upheaval. I hope you are fantastically proud of yourself and continue to soar. Sending love xxxx

    • Thanks Kerri, I mentioned to a solicitor friend of mine that I wasn’t sure I was reacting/responding the way I was meant to and she said, like grief, everyone’s reaction/processing/experience is different. So here I am. Lots of love to you, your words have often buoyed me this year.

  • It’s amazing what animals do to support a household, isn’t it? They really help remind us to be more human, somehow.

    • YES! They were seriously the best decision I made. And the boys haven’t tired of them, they absolutely adore them each and every day.

  • Karen/Meet Me At The Watershed

    You, my dear, are an amazing person. An amazing, strong person.

  • Lisa Lintern

    I may not comment often, but I watch from afar. This post is truly inspirational. What an amazing role model you are for your kids. What an amazing role model you are for so many people. Such dignity and wisdom. Onwards. xo

    • Thanks so much Lisa. I must say, when it happened I made a pact with myself to walk through it with dignity and to not descend into a quagmire of bitterness and hate. I’m quite proud of myself actually.

      • Lisa Lintern

        And you should be. xoxo

  • What_Sarah_Did_Next

    Wow. One year has whipped by so quick! I am so, so proud of you too, Kim… that first year is the hardest. I look back at my first year post split and to be honest, I barely recognise the broken shell of a woman I was back then. You are amazing, so strong, so capable. And you know what else – more importantly, I think – you have shown your boys in no uncertain terms that no matter what crap life deals out, you will ALWAYS be there for them. Period. They will continue to love you unconditionally and thrive as a consequence. And YES to the joy of animals. We love our two as well xxx

    • It was very important to me that I communicated honestly with the boys through the whole thing – when I’m sad, when I’m ok and that they could always always talk to me. I refused to become some bitter harridan or carry on like a pork chop.

    • And you have really buoyed by you this year- – you’re like my trailblazer!

  • Fiona Caroline

    I have stumbled across your blog and this is all I have read (so far). Wow, you are pretty damned awesome, shit hit the fan and somehow only 1 year later here you are 4 boys, a couple of cats and a stronger women! Hats off to you xx

  • Sandra Reynolds

    What a year and what a powerful middle-finger raising piece of writing. I have watched on from afar for most of the year, but it needs to be said: You are fierce, strong and luminous. It may not be the way you wanted your mettle tested, but Lady, look at you now. Onwards indeed X

    • Thanks so much Sandra. And yes, fierce and strong have been how I have been feeling so I’m going to add luminous to the mix!

  • This made me cry. Your strength is fucking unbelievable. I’m in awe. You keep turning right, beautiful Kim. Keep turning right. Xxxx

    • You know I love your guts. What’s with us strong women hey!?!

  • vegemitevix

    Isn’t it amazing how we surprise ourselves when the sh*t hits. I remember being terrified that I would sink financially and then finally on Christmas Eve looking down at all the pressies under the tree I realised every single one was paid for by me, in full. Not one on the credit card. Not one. That moment I realised that in all the hard horrible stuff there are moments that truly do shape your resolve. I would say that being happy and at peace is the very best ‘revenge’ (if you want to call it that) out there. And, if he is having another at this stage of his life, well, let’s just say that being woken a hundred times a night by a newborn and being screamed at by a tearful exhausted partner sound like perfect justice to me. Your boys are blessed to have you; wonderful, awesome, real you. Onwards indeed. Vix x

    • YES! We always limped from pay packet to pay packet and while things are still fiscally tight I have managed. In fact managed better than when he was here. I am immensely proud of that.

  • kj

    So, the bastard never returned the Playstation or the Xbox? I don’t know why but this blows my mind. I’m glad you feel strong and betterer now. x

  • I had tears in my eyes reading your post. Mrs Woog gives good advice! So glad you have fab friends to get you through this past year. You should be proud of yourself-you have achieved so much and given so much to your kids. I don’t know you but reading your post? I think you may have a richer life now then you did before. Stay awesome Kim.

    • Thanks so much Lisa, yes, funnily enough I think I am one of the luckiest girls on the planet!

  • Terri Mouht

    Kim you are amazing. I came and read this after seeing your instagram post…how come I haven’t been reading you? My oversight which I will rectify. What impressed me about this post is that despite being hurt and bewildered by his actions, you didn’t resort to name calling or catty comments here. That takes a lot of strength and I am not sure I would be able to do the same.

    I hope the next year brings you more happiness, more success and more special moments with your boys.

    • No, I will not be reduced to the scorned wife. He’s been a dick, that doesn’t mean I have to be. That alone was hugely freeing.

  • I’m proud to know you & care for you & your excellent sons. More strength to you because of what’s inside you dear Kim. Resilience & leading your family by example. It’s indicative of your power within that you can recall with humour & nostalgia some of the better days. I think of you often & know how your support network of family & friends adore you too. Love, as always, Denyse x

  • What an ace mum and woman you are… How gutsy that you chose to recover and reinvent instead of descending into some awful well of despair. Bloody brilliant. x

    • Hey Pip, it was a very conscious decision on my part. I figured he was not spending any time reflecting on his actions or thinking about me so why should I waste my precious resources dwelling on him and his actions.

  • What a class act you are. Your boys must be very proud of you and you should be too.

  • Megan

    Tears. You have not been left. You have been freed. x

    • I have haven’t I. And I didn’t have a clue I wasn’t.

  • Paola Russo

    I am at loss with words. One year. It went fast but most importantly I read your post and I am speechless, stunned, amazed but so very freaking happy to read how you handled this year. You responded with grace and strength to all the crap that was dumped on you at once, out of the blue. You rolled your sleeves and carried on, a single mother of four, stronger than ever, you bloomed out of what was a broken branch. I bow to you. I would have freaked out, maybe gone insane, or cried my sorry self out. You are amazing, an inspiration for all. Lucky children of yours, they have a golden mother. And yes, I agree as well that animals in general (but we are cat lovers) will do wonders in families. That Playstation and XBox shit? I will never digest that!
    ONWARD!

    • Beautiful Paola, I have missed you so – my own doing for not blogging here – so it makes my heart swell hearing your words. Love to you and yours. xxx

  • blackbird of Tuvalu

    Proud to know you. You’ve taken an admirable path – and done it well.

  • Anne

    For this is come through my Facebook feed today is errie. This is the first time I’ve come across you but its like OMG I have written this post. I am 1 month off 12 months from when my ex walked in and did the same. It has been an emotional week for many reasons but to read this and see how others cope through the process it made me feel like I wasn’t so alone today. I am so much stronger, happier, more confident and at peace then I ever have been but there are days you just want to run away and not deal with the shit that goes with being a single parent and life in general.

    Thank you for reassuring me that I am normal and that there really are others out there going through exactly the same as me. To know others would understand how you feel. I send the biggests hugs to you and even bigger ones to all my amazingly supportive friends who have done the same for me…the wine, the hugs through tears and the huge amount of laughs we’ve had. All the best moving onwards. Its an amazing feeling knowing you can do it alone!!

    • Oh Anne, hello! I know right. I never ever expected I’d feel strong, exhilarated even and yet here I am. That doesn’t mean there isn’t darkness and times I let myself spiral into the 5,000 questions I know I will never know the answer to, but as a whole package, I am happier and more confident too. Yay for us!

  • An incredible journey for all five of you.

    Fierce women: you, Eden, others… you inspire and teach and model coping behaviors that work and promote right actions with your examples. Thank you for that. Kitties make a home even better, don’t they ~!~!

  • SawofHole

    It’s so true – life’s what happens when you’re making other plans.
    Enjoy the ride!

  • I still can’t believe it. But so glad to see you’ve fucking nailed it. How good are cats! I wouldn’t be without them. They might not do any housework ever either but at least they don’t leave skidmarks in the toilet x