Tag Archives: divorce

You Don’t Need A Cape, You Already Have Wings

I am here to tell you that you don’t need a cape, you already have wings…I am sitting in a silent house after a week-long spring break trip that I haven’t taken since “The Trip” back in April 2016. One would think that I would feel rested, recharged, rejuvenated. Well…. I was. Sort of.

Let me tell you about the flight home after an amazing trip with my two favorite teenage humans. Picture this, tribe… 3 solid hours of turbulence. I even considered if the pilot was on his maiden flight. This was enhanced by one terrified teenager who has a legit fear of flying and one teenager who does what all teenagers do best, slumped – passed out cold… the entire flight. Mix that in with several (and I mean SEVERAL) sick children who were projectile vomiting from the turbulence (Yep, you are absolutely correct – there is NO fresh air on an airplane) and the overwhelming and recycled stench of kiddy vomit… Is this real life? Yes. It was. It happened, and I lived through it this past weekend. Eventually, I ended up getting home and feeling like I needed a vacation all over again. Please do not get me wrong here… I am 100% grateful that I got this experience and quality time with my kids, and that I had the means to go on such a trip with them. I am blessed beyond measure, and I do not take one of those moments (or any for that matter) for granted.

Wait, wait, wait…. You’re wondering what I meant by “The Trip” that I mentioned above back in 2016. Ah. Yep, That. Well, I think its time to get over my paralyzing fears, stare it directly in the eye and decide today is the day that I keep looking forward, and quit looking back to see if the past is still there. It’s there. It hasn’t left. I can still feel it. I can still see it. I can still hear it. I can’t unsee it, unhear it or unfeel it. It’s now part of who I have become.

It was around this time three years ago (almost to the day) that my world completely fell of its axis. No, literally. My entire personal world that I lived in completely blew up. In an instant. It was the day I became a working single mom.

I’m not going to dig into any of the details, much of which even after three years are still very fresh to my heart and soul, and the cuts are still very deep and still bleed on occasion. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I was absolutely blind-sided and was not in any way, shape, or form ready for what was going to happen to my life. It was never something I had signed up for or wanted. EVER. After all, I had been the living fairytale. I married my high school sweetheart and at that point had spent 20 years of my then 36 years of life with him. We had been married for 13 years at that point and had two beautiful children. Was our life glitter, rainbows and unicorns? Absolutely not. Was it perfect? No way. But, it was MY version of perfect. It was my world. My life. My everything – – until it just wasn’t any longer. I came back from spring break with my kiddos (he did not join us on this trip) to my then hero, lover, best friend, my person, and love of my life… telling me he no longer wanted to be in our marriage. He wanted out, and he left me. MIND BLOWN. EARTH SHATTERED. To make it worse, I was told in public. In a bar. Yep. That happened.

Let’s take the 35,000 foot detour for a second, and get you caught up to speed – and get off the backstory train. I spent three long and painful years desperately trying to hold onto my marriage and save my family. I pleaded with God. I got angry. I got spiteful. I cried millions and millions of tears. I felt abandoned, hopeless, jaded – any feeling you can come up with – I assure you I felt them and I mastered them. I lost weight and shrunk faster than washing a 100% cotton shirt in scalding hot water and putting it in the dryer on high heat for an hour. Some days, I literally begged to die – because the pain inside of me was so much, so deep, so hard – I couldn’t stand another minute. Failure was not a word that was ever in my vocabulary – and here I was – the picture of failure right next to the word in good oleWebster’s.

Long story short, we divorced right before this past Christmas – and the holidays, well – let’s just say they were pretty much a blur. Kind of like when you squint and look at the lights on the tree. They are there, but you really can’t make out what it is, but you obviously know.

I have a point here, trust me – and stay with me because hopefully – there is someone out there just like me who was right where I was or is even now. I look at the day-to-day and I still hurt. I hurt when I look at my kids when we are now a party of 3 that used to be 4. I hurt when I go to bed in a king sized bed alone and hover on the far side of the bed – and wake up in the same position, barely had moved. I have good day and bad days.

When looking at it by the “days” or “moments – I have felt like I haven’t moved an inch much less a mile. However, when I look back at the last three years as a “whole” – Tribe, let me tell you – I have moved mountains I didn’t think could be moved. I have traveled so far that I can’t see where I started even though I know it exists. I have grown, stretched myself, and learned more about myself and have undoubtedly proved myself wrong every single step of the way. I have survived 100% of my worst days. TRUE STORY!

I am alive to tell the tale. To not only myself, but to my two beautiful children and any one of you that are reading this. I have cried myself to sleep. I have eaten completely alone in a restaurant. I have gone to a wedding solo. I have wondered how I can make it another day. However, I have smiled. I have laughed. I have found strength in the deepest places I never knew existed. Hell, all of this brought me here to all of YOUright here and now. I am walking side by side with you. Our arms are linked, and we are in lock step. I am one of you. We’re a tribe and let me tell you – we’re strong. We’re not going anywhere and despite what you feel (or don’t feel) inside – we got this, and not only do we – we’ll do it twice and take pictures to prove it. (Insert “Amen” here!)

Humor me and consider this for a few moments. I want you to look in the mirror. I don’t want you to worry about the bags under your eyes from the lack of sleep you got last night because your child was up sick all night or because your teenager had their first heartbreak. Don’t look at the extra curves that may surround your waistline because you have been working so hard to provide, you haven’t gotten the chance to get to the gym. It’s not necessary to look at the dry shampoo residue in your hair. What I want you to do is look past the refection staring back at you, and for God’s sake, don’t judge the woman staring back. Only you know what storms she has been through. Only you know where she has been, and where she is going. You’re the only one who has lived her life. You’re the expert of the person you see in the mirror. No one knows her better than you.

Every single day is a new opportunity to start again. Reinvent yourself. Try something new. Spread your wings. I encourage you to do so, even when you’re paralyzed in fear, or have no idea where to even start. If you want to lay in bed all day, hide from the world, and pretend that you are non-existent; go ahead, do it for a day or two. But remember, you don’t live there. You don’t belong there anyway – and it’s not a destination. Here’s why…

If I have learned anything, it’s this. You have smaller humans that are watching your every move. Your attitudes, your composure, your strength, and endurance. They are building their character traits based on your examples. We’re helping shape who they become. Albeit – there is this saying but man oh man is it a good one…. Show your daughters how to be treated by a man and show your sons how to treat a woman. You’re showing them this tribe… and guess what… you’re doing an amazing job. No matter what yesterday’s mascara has to say about it.

Keep chugging the lattes. Keep being that laundry warrior. Be who you need yourself to be for you and for them. We’re all here to cheer you on along the way, and to pick you up and carry you when you feel like you can’t. That’s what tribes do.

Until we meet again…

Jenn

How Do I Pick Out Curtains?

Who knew of all the different types of curtains that are available these days… seriously.. .All I know is that now I am picking out these things all by myself. I had rented a house with a million windows and all I needed was curtains. ughh… seems easy doesn’t it.

I spent months in the divorce process and then its final. Where do you start? What do you do with your life now? So many questions running through your head.. For months I had lived in a bubble, just getting through the day and not thinking anything else. What do you do first after your divorce? Many you have never worked or even lived by yourself, but now at age 40 you are on your own. You get to pick out your own curtains or your own furniture. You don’t have to ask anyone’s opinion, which can be exciting and scary at the same time. Or the other side is now you have no one to ask the easy questions too.. I did not know of all the small decisions I would need to make by myself.

I had lived in a bubble for so long. Going through all the emotions and then when the divorce process starts It takes over your life. And once its final, you have to stop and think what do I do now. I think we all get ahead of ourselves and want to build this new life so fast. I think the best advice I can give anyone that is starting over after divorce is to take it slow and learn about yourself. It’s hard for me to remember the days or months right after my divorce, I think I was in such a bubble or daze throughout the process that it’s hard to remember all the changes. It was being on constant autopilot and no time to process the changes that I was going through. We all want to put our kids first and make sure they are happy, however its so important that we are learning to be happy also.

Take time to really learn about what you now want. Some days will really suck, you learn you need to do things all by yourself. You might have never picked out your own curtains, so this is new to you you and it might take you a day to make that decision or it might take you months…either way, it doesn’t matter because you did it. Some days you might want to lay in your robe until 2pm and do nothing, and you can… You can take the time and do what you need. Start figuring out what you want in your life for you.

You might make one decision by yourself and you should celebrate. Something that seems so small might be your biggest accomplishment. Take the wins!!

Snarkydivorcedgal (www.snarkydivorcedgal.com)

You Got This Mommas

You got this mommas…

Every week late Sunday afternoon I curl up somewhere with a beverage, music, blanket, and my iPad and start to write a post that will appear here.

I always try to find something I hope that will resonate with someone. Maybe help. Make someone laugh. Feel better.

The irony that my maternal instincts kick in, even when dealing with something like a blog post isn’t lost on me.

As I write this – it’s Mother’s Day. I will share with you that while I was never a 100 percent about getting married I always knew I wanted to be a Mom.

I am far from a traditional Mom and my own daughter sometimes compares me to a teenager on occasion, but I have always and will always put her first.

I worry and overthink when it comes to her. I try not to Tiger Mom her too much. I maybe get too much joy out of singing loudly to a song she doesn’t like in our car rides together.

Meals can sometimes be more like snacks.

She definitely gets too much time on her iPad.

I let her have two swear words a day.

My heart hurts when she is at her Dad’s, even though when she’s home we are rarely in the same room.

I love being silly with her. That she is almost taller than me.

Being a Mom is the best thing, deciding to do it alone was one of the hardest decision I ever made. I still worry about it, but I also needed to be a healthy, happy Mom for G. I still have my moments…

I will never be a PTA Mom. I send gift cards and emails to school. I am thankful for her teachers and her grandparents who have helped me to raise such a beautiful, funny, smart and kind spirit.

I don’t look like the other Moms with my tattoos and piercings, but I look like her and when she asks me to I dress up or down – I do. I love that we both like Vans and fun t-shirts.

In all of this ramble this is my point… no one is the perfect Momma. She doesn’t exist. But what you are is a Momma who is doing amazing on her own terms with her whole heart and that’s what it’s all about.

At least I hope so.

You do got this Mommas

<3 Caprise

It’s Over..But It’s Not

You think it will be over…but it’s not.

“You can’t buy a book bag but you can buy a $52 steak?”

Unfortunately, this is a typical question that occurs to me after I hang up from another wasted phone call.

Getting out isn’t something that you just do. It takes planning and replanning, then planning some more. It takes an ability to think like your abuser, anticipating reprehensible actions and successfully countering them-emotionally, physically, spiritually, and legally.

Leaving is dangerous…sometimes for years, because the danger can, and typically does, morph from physical to mental, emotional, financial…you get the idea.

I’m coming up on 13 years of building this soft, sensitive, productive human in the face of a storm that does not know how to exit. Abuse morphs. Control is sought on whatever level an abuser can find. Money is all there is left for him. My support system has neutralized that.

Let me be uber-specific:

My loved ones housed and fed my child and I for 5 years. If not for them, I would not have been able to get out of an abusive marriage, finish school, and get a job. My parents have filled every physical and financial gap I’ve had from then until right now. We are blessed that we have men (and women, but that’s another topic) in our lives that stand up when called upon. They have presented themselves as rock solid father figures and protectors-something my child deserves.

My best friend was home base when I ran. The safe shelter she gave my baby and I for those first 2 months can never be repaid….have you ever had to hide from an abuser? It pisses you off and makes you want to fight, but you can’t because you’re living for your child and every move you make, or don’t make, affects their life.

When the day arrived, another friend was there with her expertise and to help with the heavy lifting when I went back for whatever I could get-which wasn’t much. Have you ever had to sneak into your own home to take back some of your premarital belongings and leave a list of everything you “took?” Ever play by the rules only to get burned in the end? Maddening, isn’t it?

One of my favorite people on this planet paid tuition when I didn’t have it. They also stepped forward and coached teams and showed love to a child that was not their own. Those people are God’s soldiers and their above-and-beyond actions never go unnoticed by me.

Never.

Jesus Christ Himself has kept me out of jail by not letting me follow through on everything that man deserves. My friends have balanced and supported me emotionally enough to keep me between the lines when bordering on a breakdown.

All parties above have one thing in common; a love for me and my daughter. They share a basic understanding of the importance of doing right by a child and setting them up for success.

It takes a village. In a never ending hurricane, it takes a scrappy one, and I am thankful for mine. I am a survivor raising a warrior. Because of her, I will not fail.

Mental health matters.
Josie

The Last Time

I am a few weeks away from taking a solo trip to California. The last time I took a trip by myself G was almost 2 and a half and it was to New Orleans to spend some time with my best friend.

It was also a chance for me to decide if I was ready to leave my husband.The writing had been on the wall for a long time. Even leading up to our wedding. But as I had come off an extremely abusive relationship, my soon to be husband seemed like the change. A new start I needed.

Except he wasn’t.

There were so many flags.

Some I still can’t talk about because I’m ashamed I let those things happen to me a second time. I let someone once again hurt me. I still remember being out with a group of friends and my ex. He sat in the corner his arms crossed and sulked the whole night. These were women who had been in my life for years. Suddenly he was making me question them and myself. Were we too much? Was I?

Or being put with his friends, all of them by the way college drop outs with extremely high IQ’s teasing me,a woman with two BA’s about loving pop culture as much as I did. He didn’t defend me. He joined in. My BA was a waste. I was just a glorified babysitter. His sister at dinner questioning why I ate like I did.

There’s so much I could unpack here, but it’s already been buzzing in my brain with this trip coming up.

You put up with a lot when you think you have no choice. When you think you deserve it. When you are afraid of change. When you are afraid of being alone or failing.That trip was the balm I needed. The reminder I was absolutely not all the things I let him tell me I was.

Leaving was hard. He absolutely did not make it easy and he actually didn’t grant me a divorce for several years. Even now he reminds me what he thinks of me. I think you know it’s not good.

As a result I hid from a lot of people I care about because I was so ashamed I let this happen to me. I am ashamed to say… I still do.

I pride myself on being a strong, independent person.

Not someone who had panic attacks when the clocks strikes 430 because that means my husband will be home and the house needs to look a certain way.

Not someone who cared so much about how I looked.

He hated my hair a certain way.

Tattoos.

Certain clothes.

Even food I ate.

Not someone who can’t decorate my current house in a certain shade of green because that was the only color he allowed me to decorate in.

I am still not the best at a lot of things.

Loud noises can be too much. Specifically any kind of sounds in a kitchen. Maybe another blog…

I tend to go inside myself rather than ask for help.

I take a long time to trust someone.

I cut my hair off, am covered in tattoos and piercings.

I have become a homebody.

But at the end of the day I don’t think my ex is a bad person – I mean I have G. Except he is maybe not a husband person, at least not for someone like me. Obviously.

We are still trying to figure out co-parenting. It goes without saying it’s a huge work in progress.

About 70% he’s a pretty good Dad. 30% I do genuinely want to throat punch him.

Last but not least if I have learned anything.

If someone loves me, they love me.

They have my back.

I am stronger than I think I am.

I will always put G first and make sure she always knows it’s beautiful to be yourself and anyone who doesn’t think do absolutely doesn’t deserve you.

I’m looking forward to a trip this time just to go be.

Not figure anything out.

Just be.

 

Hugs Mommas

<3 Caprise

I Am Not Broken

I am not broken.

This past holiday weekend a blow up with my daughter over me wanting to see what she was watching on her iPad resulted in her sharing she feels responsible for her Dad and I not getting along.

I meant to write about how happy I am it’s Spring and how much I love the beautiful weather and I am.

I can not adequately put into words how good it is for my soul to wear sandals and open windows and feel the breeze.

But as much as I want to celebrate the new season my heart hurts that my daughter feels any kind of responsibility for things between her Dad and I.

I think I did things backwards with G.

But let’s be honest, there is no guide when you get divorced. Maybe I did things just right and she’s just hitting the age where she can see it.

Or maybe after nine years I’m worn out from trying to hide it.

Either way my heart sank when she said she doesn’t like knowing her  Dad and I don’t like each other.

She feels like I’m hurt, broken.

I stopped her.

For starters while I’m not her Dad’s biggest fan. I don’t not like him. But he makes some not great choices and G usually tends to be in the vicinity when he does.

I also let her know she is my sun, my moon, and my stars. Being her Mom actually fixed me. Being her Mom is the best thing in the world. She is the best thing in my world.

Not being with her Dad, while it’s not where I’d thought I’d be.

I’m happy.

And Mommas my heart is sinking that she thinks me being alone, not getting along with her Dad means I’m not happy.

This would be about the time I throw in a fun quote or try to lighten the mood.

I’m tapped.

I’m alone on Easter.

The only store that’s open already put their Easter candy away, and somehow I have to get in my daughter’s head and heart absolutely nothing between her Dad and I is her fault.

I thought I had.

Aww Mommas… this is a toughie

<3 Caprise

Co-Dependency: Sitting in the Suck and Gratitude

Co-Dependency: Sitting in the Suck and Gratitude

What a difference a year can make. One year ago today, I was living with my husband of 10 years and our two children in a nice house. We had great neighbors, good careers and while our marriage was struggling, I thought we’d see it through. The first five years of our marriage were great, but the second five – things started spiraling. Addiction and alcoholism… he always said he wanted to get help. He’d go to counseling for awhile, but eventually, things would get busy and it would get pushed to the back burner, and then *shocking*, another relapse. I thought we could get back to where we were the first five years of our marriage. I always hoped that we would.

Until one day in the spring of 2018. Everything changed in an instant, and there was no fixing it – no more hope. I’d always said that domestic violence was my no-go. You don’t come back from that – put your hands on me once, and it’ll be the last time. I meant it.

Fast forward to today. The kids and I moved. I don’t think he knows where we are. I hope not, anyway. Through some investigations, I found out that he told some of his coworkers that he was going to put a tracking device on my car. I found pictures of other women on a flash drive. Did I mention that I was really sick for months, requiring hospitalization, a home health care nurse, specialists… and three specialists now believe that he was poisoning me? POISONING ME.  After countless tests they all told me, “there’s no medical reason why you were so sick”, and have all come to the same conclusion. Looking back, it makes sense but boy, is that a bitter pill to swallow. (If The Lifetime Channel would like rights to my story, have them give me a call).

I’ve come to realize that I had no idea who he really was, or rather, who he became. Ten years of marriage. TEN YEARS.

At the time, I didn’t realize how bad things were. I didn’t realize how much I was walking on eggshells for fear of “triggering” him to drink. I took on all the responsibility of the household – bills, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working two jobs, pick up and drop off of the kids… all so he wasn’t stressed. I put my needs on the backburner. As though it was my fault when he drank… my responsibility to maintain his sobriety.

Amazingly, it’s actually easier being a single mom of two kids than being a single mom of two kids and one grown man-child. I don’t worry about holes being punched in the wall when he’s drunk, I don’t worry about having to clean up a bathroom floor covered in pee because he was too wasted to hit the toilet. I don’t have a near panic-attack when he doesn’t answer his phone and has the kids. It was so bad, but it got bad slowly, and like a frog in boiling water, I just hung in there. I trusted that if he just got to the right therapist… if he just got the right treatment, it would be okay. We’d be okay. The thing is though, that I wanted it more than him. He never wanted it. Our insurance would have covered treatment – inpatient and outpatient – 100%. I made the calls, the referrals. He never really wanted it… he’d go for a bit to appease me… I just didn’t see it.

Regardless, I have so much to be thankful for.  I have a solid, amazing support system -my friends rushed from their workplaces to the scene that spring day, and have never left my side. They’ve attended court dates and hearings, they’ve cried with me and have sworn like sailors with me. They’ve given gift cards and wine and took my kids when I was exhausted. My extended and immediate family is incredible. The kids and I are in an apartment and the bills are a challenge, but I can pay them. I’m not getting child support and I don’t ever expect to, but for now – we’re safe. We’ve been protected, I’m sure of that. I had an incredible divorce attorney who kept me focused from his attacks against my integrity and character.  The prosecutor and victim advocate in the criminal case were both phenomenal. I am so thankful.

Sitting in the suck is so important. Probably not the most eloquent term, but that’s sure what it felt like. Many nights I would literally sit on my couch and allow the waves of grief and loneliness to settle in. Grief over the loss of my marriage, the loss of my (our) future plans, the loss of my children growing up in a home with two parents. Grief over the loss of their innocence – they were so young, and they saw and heard way too much. In those moments, it would have been easier to just sit and scroll mindlessly on my phone, to drink a bunch of wine or to somehow occupy and distract myself. But… I knew I had to feel it. In order to get past it, I had to sit in the suck and feel the grief and pain, and allow processing to happen. This will not control my future, and the only way through the pain is the hard way – to feel it.

The kids and I have all benefitted enormously from counseling. EMDR therapy is incredible – I’ve been able to break through the co-dependency and see it for what it really is. I can relive the events that happened that awful spring day without the physiological symptoms welling up. The importance of a support system and the importance of therapy cannot be underscored. If you’ve been through trauma, if your kids have been through trauma – get to a good therapist. It might not be the first one you meet – my first therapist said I was “fine”… I just had “hope”, even though I told her I don’t feel “fine”. It wasn’t “fine” for someone to allow themselves to be controlled and shoulder every responsibility for the household. The second therapist agreed with me, and we delved deeper, and EMDR was a good option. It’s cliché, but truly, there is no shame in seeking help.

The past year has been incredibly hard, but I can see light now. The kids are doing great. I love our new town and the people. The divorce and criminal cases are both resolved, the protection order case will be soon. And while I don’t know if I’ll ever be with anyone again, I’m doing my best to heal, move forward, and set a good example for my kids. We’re going to thrive… there is no other option.

-Elaine

Please Forgive My Trespasses

I was that girl in yoga.

The one lying in savasana that would stare at the ceiling tiles, tears falling down my face.

Breathe in.

“My husband doesn’t love me.”

Breathe out.

“My husband doesn’t love me.”

Is this really happening?

It was the most difficult time that I had experienced in life, and my then husband of 10 years was choosing to leave me.  Little-by-little, he was pulling away.

My entire world was being shaken.

I heard a sermon recently, and the preacher described trespasses this way: Trespasses are sins that we are fully aware of.  It’s a willful choosing to sin against God and against another person.

His words still sometimes break my heart.  “I know this is wrong, but I’m doing it anyway.”

Trespass.

Truthfully, I thought I needed him.  I really did.  I needed to have a friend walk with me through this.  My sister was dying of cancer.

Instead, his response was a hardening of his heart.  He wasn’t a friend.

Often, new trauma awakens hidden trauma and I was a big mess.  Panic attacks and sleepless nights.

Trauma also has a way of exposing what relationships are made out of.

The best thing he ever did for me was suggest that instead of couple’s therapy, we go see our own counselors.

So, I went.

I went and learned that you can’t force anyone to change, but learned that I could change.

I thought, by changing me, the relationship would change.  And it did, but not in the way I thought it would.

Because all his accusations were lies that I believed built to manipulate me into his point of view.  I truly believed that I was solely to blame for why our marriage didn’t work.

If I was just skinnier, then he’d be happy with me.  If I kept my mouth shut, instead of being me, then he’d be ok with me.  If I just changed what he told me was wrong about me, then he’d love me.  If I was less sensitive…. If I wasn’t “crazy”… The list goes on and on…

Oh, hey there codependency.

Reality was, though, that the marriage was built on a foundation of emotional control and abuse.  It was never a reciprocal relationship.  It was never healthy.

The day I walked about of my counselor’s office after she pointed out that I wasn’t the controlling one, I felt like a million weights had been lifted off my shoulder.

And that night I dreamt of leeches being pulled out of my brain and in the dream, when I looked in the mirror, my face was beaten up.

You see, he almost had me convinced.

It was like walking out of a haze – a fog – into clear day.

According to him, I’m a psycho path.  He doesn’t even try to mask it anymore.  No more undercurrent of subtle tones.

But he doesn’t own my mind and he doesn’t know my heart and what he says isn’t truth.

Breathe in.

“He doesn’t own my mind”

Breathe out.

“I’m worth being loved well”

And now, here I am.  Sorting out fact from fiction and healing.

Some days I struggle, because the pain of betrayal and heart break is a heavy weight, and that’s bad enough.

But the biggest struggle of letting go is being mocked for my heart being broken by the one who broke it.

And I have to choose to let go and forgive.  Even if it’s a broken choice, it’s still a choice.

The weight of unforgiveness is heavier than heartbreak.

And quite honestly, I need my trespasses forgiven.

Thanks ladies!
“The Beloved One”

Take Your Second Chances

Four years ago to almost the day, my parents took my family and my sisters family to Florida for a vacation. We had been planning it for years.. At that time in my life, I had lived my entire life as a pleaser and couldn’t disappoint any of them. I hated having that feeling I was disappointing someone. However, I already knew when we got back to glorious Wisconsin, I would be telling my husband I wanted a divorce. No way to sugar coat that..It was not the trip of a lifetime.

And now four years later,I am divorced and happy. I mean I have my moments but overall it took the last 4 years to get to this point. The point of life where I’m happy about my choices and happy about the life I’m living. I had my 3 kids for spring break so off to Florida we were going… This was my second chance.

I was so excited for this trip but also so nervous… I had to do all the planning and be responsible for getting 3 kids to Florida.. And just hoping my son didn’t put a so-called weapon into his pocket and we will be hauled off.. It was a lot of responsibility for all of us. I had to rely also on my kids to be responsible and help out when I needed. Moments before we left, I thought am I crazy to do this.

But once the trip started, it was amazing. This trip probably meant more to me than they anyone will ever know… to my kids it was 8 days in the sun.. and to me it was my second chance. This was my second chance from 4 years ago. It just showed me how your life can change… How we make choices, how scared we are at that time, and how in time it does work out. I could have never imagined all of the changes as a person that you go through in 4 years with a divorce. I finally got to be the person I wanted to be…

4 years ago, I would have been the mom that had the lunches packed the night before, been yelling at my kids to be up by 7, to be at the beach by 8 am.. and I would not have relaxed for a minute on a vacation. I did not enjoy being that person. I would have made sure I was pleasing everyone, just not myself.

Today, I am so relaxed. I am not worried about pleasing everyone. I am not worried about trying to do a million things in one day. I am not worried about seeing every attraction in Florida in 8 days. I made choices that have made my happy.

I took this trip day by day. I let my kids sleep til 11 and I got to go for morning runs. I got to sit and drink coffee in the sun. I got to think about my life and my future. We swam, we laughed, we had ice cream everyday, we stayed up til midnight.. We got to drive to the beach at whatever time we got up…and some days we just hung out. I have never seen my kids so relaxed or just having fun. They were happy, really happy. I think we all worry about our kids everyday and then sometimes you look at them and know they are really happy. I got to sit and watch them and just relax.

So yes, we get re-dos in life and second chances. We get a second chance to do it again.. maybe different or better this time. Maybe things weren’t as clear the first time or maybe you didn’t have the confidence at that time….but in the end take your second chance.

-Snarky Divorced Gal

The Only One I Know

The Only One I Know.

In 2008, my spirit was broken when my marriage ended after almost 12 years.   Literally overnight I became the single mother of a 2.5 year old daughter, uncertain and scared about the future.  It took nearly six months to finalize our divorce and now I faced the reality of what to do with our four remaining frozen embryos. I was awarded custody of the embryos, and would soon realize the only option available to me was to place them with a family through adoption.

I did an online search and learned about Snowflakes® adoption. I met with a counselor through my church and prayed ALOT. Over the course of those months, and the year in-between my divorce and the finalization of the placement, I came to realize I needed to do what was best for the remaining embryos, and me.  I firmly believe those 4 frozen embryos were not a mistake; they were created so God could give them life.  Once I really grasped this, it became clear I could do this – place my embryos into an adopting family.

I have struggled with control over the years. Can anyone relate? The control freak in me continued to try and figure out God’s plan for these embryos. For their first frozen embryo transfer the adopting family transferred two of the four embryos. My feelings ran the gambit. What if they had a girl? I prayed they would have a boy because I wasn’t familiar with raising boys.  A boy would be different. Easier, for me.

The adopting family’s son, J, was born when my daughter, S, was 6.  She was too young to understand all of the particulars, but I definitely began the process of telling her the story. I did not want either of us feeling shame for this choice. I introduced her to the family and to J through photos as close family friends that are like family. She saw photos and received updates about his milestones and was good with that.

I struggled. He was nearly identical to my daughter’s baby pictures! I found comfort in my faith and had confidence I had made the right choice.

In 2013, their second son, M was born.  The doctors gave him only a 20% chance of being born!  But he was absolutely perfect and healthy in every way. S was now 8. One night as we snuggled up in bed she talked about ‘the boys’ as they would affectionately be known forevermore and God facilitated a loving honest dialogue between us about her brothers. Tears come to the surface as I think of that sweet painful conversation.

At Christmas we flew to meet the family in person. It was scary and magical, awkward and perfect all at the same time. J was 3 and M was an infant. We savored our time with them and marveled at their beautiful resemblance to my daughter. My mind turned to what I had learned from my faith: God works all things together for good.

I wanted to share my story because you don’t often hear about people who placed their embryos as a result of a divorce.  In fact, to this date I’m still the only person I know who made this choice as a single mother. All the stories I found were of full, happily married families taking this journey together. Of course, that only made me feel more isolated and alone. You see, when I made this decision I did not feel like my womb was closed. I wanted more children. While the choice to destroy the embryos was never a consideration for me, the thought of not being responsible for my biological children was foreign. Through the fear and uncertainty about the future I ultimately grew to know this was the right choice for all of us. My daughter has biological brothers who were adopted and we are loud and proud about it. While I have moments of sadness, those are overshadowed when I see the familiar eyes, smiling faces, and hear those beautiful voices say my name. It’s one of the sweetest sounds in the world.

~Snowflake Party of 4