Tag Archives: divorced

Divorce Did Not Ruin My Child

I have heard it many times… “My divorce ruined my kids lives”… False. Changes that happen in your life, do not ruin your kids lives. We all experience changes that will affect the lives of your children. And sometimes throughout all those changes, we all come out better.

Getting divorced does not ruin your kids lives… Before I decided to go through with my divorce, I struggled with how it would affect my kids. It was the number one thing that was holding me back from going through with my divorce. I would constantly worry if they would be ok and make it through all the transitions. Would they be upset, mad, angry, or would they act out… all of these worries raced through my mind over and over again.

But 5 years later…I can tell you that I did not ruin my kids lives. Yes, Their lives are different now. But they have adjusted to the changes. Yes, we have had some struggles through the way. However a lot of the struggles that we have faced, are just growing up parenting struggles. It has not always been a party…

However, I could not stay in a loveless marriage.

All of us worry about how divorce will affect our kids. I don’t think we would be human if we did not. But my kids saw everything and they picked up on so much that I don’t even realize.

My youngest was 4 when I got divorced. He often replays scenarios to me of his dad and I fighting in the last stages of our marriage. He will also mention how nice it is that dad and I don’t fight anymore. I am always so curious because his dad and I did not have loud arguments, but obviously to a 4 year old at the time.. he picked up on a lot more than we thought. It is also how a 4 year old interpreted our relationship and marriage.

I believe its how you handle all parts of your divorce, from the beginning, through the process, and all the years after…

There are things that I have done that have helped the transition over the last few years.

I have been able to tell when my kids needed a little additional support. All 3 of my kids have gone to counseling separately at different times in their lives. Each one faced different challenges at different ages and just needed to work through it. Alot of it was the changes in households and different parenting styles. I knew they could use a neutral person to talk too and work it out.

I continued counseling throughout and after my divorce. I did this because it was my outlet to let out my frustrations and emotions. It helped me control my emotions with my ex in front of my children. Counseling kept me grounded when I really just wanted to tell my ex what an idiot he was at times. Or it taught me to refrain from sharing my true feelings about my ex’s decisions in front of the kids.

My ex and I have also stayed very informed in their lives. I have learned to have conversations with my children and my ex all together, so there is no miscommunication between any of us. It gives my kids a chance to voice their opinion in front of both of us. And it has taken a lot of the pressure off me as always being the one having to speak for my kids.

I am very open and honest with my kids, even more so now that they are older. My girls are teenagers now, so their dad gets under their skin all the time… just being a dad to teenagers. I have always tried to keep my comments and negative thoughts to myself, and I still do now even more. Its hard. Many times I would love to tell them what I really think, but I want them to have a very healthy and positive relationship with us both. Its so hard to keep all my under my breath comments to myself. I also want my kids to form their own opinions and not be influenced by what I think.

So, no my divorce has not ruined my kids. I do not think it has ruined anything in any of our lives. My kids see how happy I am now, plus I can tell that they are happy. And they see how much love and support they get from both of their parents, just separately.

 

-snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

From Married Boy Mom to Single Boy Mom

Being a boy mom is both amazing and gross.  The love between a mother and a son is indescribable, but so are the smells.

The moment I saw those two pink lines on that little white stick, I knew I was having a boy.  I wasn’t shocked one bit when the ultrasound technician confirmed that three months later.  What I didn’t know was that 9 years after his birth I would go from a married boy mom to a single boy mom.

I grew up as a total girly-girl.  Bugs, dirt, and fart jokes just weren’t my thing.  That was something that I left up to his dad.  I quickly realized as the divorce proceedings began that I was going to be doing most of the parenting on my own, and that meant I had to become comfortable with all things boy so that my son was comfortable with all things boy.

These are a few things I’ve learned during my transition from a married boy mom to a single boy mom.

Expecting him to be the “man of the house” wasn’t fair.

At first, I tried making the transition fun by telling my son he was going to be the “man of the house” now.  I thought it would make him feel special and give him something to look forward to, but instead, it made him feel like he had to grow up too fast.

I had to realize that expecting him to fill the opening left by his 41-year-old father wasn’t just unrealistic, it wasn’t fair.  Just because his father and I are divorced doesn’t mean he doesn’t still get to be a kid and do kid things.  Sure, he needs to chip in a little more around the house, but he shouldn’t feel the need to be the protector or the provider.  That’s my job now.

A positive male role model was incredibly important for him.

After my divorce, I was kind of anti-male.  I wanted to prove that I was an independent woman and that I could do this whole life thing- including parenting- on my own.  While I’m certainly capable, I understood that my son still craved positive attention from male role models and that I needed to support that.

That didn’t mean I had to go out and find him a step-father.  I didn’t have to look far to find many positive male role models for him.  My father, brother-in-law, nephews, friends, and even my son’s teachers stepped up to the plate.  Although it was difficult to admit, there are some things as a female that I just don’t get.  The “guy stuff” was still important for my son to learn and I needed to respect that.

 ​He needed to see my ups and downs, but not be burdened by them.

This whole single-mom thing isn’t easy.  Life is busy enough, but taking on the work of two people can feel overwhelming at times.  At first, I tried to act like everything was totally fine in front of my son because I didn’t want to feel weak or for him to worry.

I realized that I wasn’t doing either of us any favors by hiding my feelings and that this, in fact, could be a great learning experience for him.  I started talking about age-appropriate things with him and made it clear that he could ask questions if he wanted to, and I saw the anxiety melt away from him.  This whole time I was trying to hide things so he wouldn’t worry, but it was just causing him to wonder and worry even more.

Seeing his mom go through struggles, but to push through them and become stronger because of them is only going to make him more humble, determined, and able as he grows up.

 ​Being “one of the guys” is actually pretty cool.

Before my divorce, I was kind of left out of the “guy stuff”.  I didn’t really know what I was missing.  Cars, video games, football, hockey, fishing, and yes, even fart jokes, aren’t so bad after all.

I’m still not a fan of bugs, but that’s what exterminators are for.  Watching this boy grow into a man is pretty amazing.  Seeing the wheels turn as he watches YouTube videos about how to fix things or listen to him talking about how when he grows up, he’s going to buy a McLaren P1, is incredibly special.

I would have missed all these moments if I were still a married boy mom.  I’m learning that this whole single boy mom thing is just as wonderful, if not more.  I still get to be a girly-girl, but I have a tough side now that makes me feel like a warrior.  Soft, strong, and one proud boy mom.

-Lindsay, The Divorced Mama Bear

instagram.com/thedivorcedmamabear

Choosing Thankfulness

Choosing Thankfulness…Both of my children have the flu this week. Times of illness in the life of a working single parent are tough.  Which parent is going to stay home with the kids? Depending on what your work entails, if you are the parent that stays home your entire day’s work may have to be cancelled, rearranged, rescheduled.  Are you salaried or paid by the hour?  How does your employer consider sick days for the children if you are not ill?  Do you have a good coparenting relationship and can easily discuss logistics with your ex?  Or is your ex antagonistic and passive aggressive?
All of these layers further complicate days of a child’s illness for a single parent.
It is easy to get caught up in the challenges of the logistics on days like this.  But today I am choosing to be thankful instead.  Choosing thankfulness instead of anxiety or negative thoughts.  In my case I am salaried, so I am still paid when I am absent from work.  My employer is extremely understanding and accommodating.  So even though I have to reschedule about 10-15 appointments for every day I am absent from work, really I couldn’t ask for more from an employer.  I am thankful.
My ex is of the antagonistic/passive aggressive variety, so discussing logistics for schedules can be a challenge.  But today I choose to be thankful.  Thankful that I am able to stay home with my sick children, that I am the parent that gets to do that.  That I get to make sure they are snuggled and hydrated and feeling better.  That I get to spend so much time with them.  I am thankful.
I do not have any family that lives close by to help me during events like this.  I have never had that.  It’s easy to get caught up in the “I wish I had….” thoughts.  But today I am choosing to be thankful instead.  Thankful that I have good, close friends who check in on me, us to make sure we are feeling better and that we don’t need anything.  Thankful again that I have a job that allows me to stay home with the kids.  Thankful that I have good transportation, and the means to take care of the kids even without family closely.  I am thankful.
I am thankful that I get to be mom to these two amazing, loving, talented, intelligent, funny kids.  Thankful that I get to comfort them when they are ill.  Thankful for my job.  Thankful for a supportive community.  My hope in choosing thankfulness during these challenging times is that it will help me appreciate not just the good times, but even the challenging times.  Help me appreciate today and every day I am given.
H

I Have Returned

I have returned…

My divorce became final today.  This process took over a year and a half. And it was long overdue by about 7 years. I didn’t know how I’d feel when I got word that a decision had been made. Scared?  Sad? 

Relieved. All I feel is relieved. He broke me. Not in the physical sense. But emotionally, he broke me. I am a stay at home mom who shriveled into a corner as time passed. I was never complimented or acknowledged. I spent the last two years of our “cohabitation” being essentially ignored. 

And then the divorce process was horrific. Ugly, ugly words were said. Things I will never be able to completely forget. “You did nothing.  You deserve nothing.”  Meanwhile, I was a stay a home mother, raising two children under 8, while fighting stage 4 cancer. But I did nothing. 

Those words cut like a knife. Until one day I realized, “Like hell I did nothing.”  I am raising two children. Two AMAZING human beings. I kept this house together from the moment we bought it. I played Memory while having chemo pumped through me. And I looked death in the face at least 4 times and said, “Not today.  Maybe someday, but NOT TODAY.” 

Once he left the new home that we’d built just 2.5 years earlier, I began to find my shine again.  I took control of my life. I realized I’d dulled my shine to allow him to be the star. I used to be funny. I used to be outgoing. I used to smile. I stopped being that person in order to make him happy.  I pushed all of that away during my marriage. Somehow I’d let myself believe that his needs and wants were more important than mine. And I became passive.  Quiet. “Just” a mom. 

And now that he’s gone, I’ve returned.  I walk taller. I’m proud of myself again.  I’m focused on myself and my kids and I’m thrilled to be back. I no longer dull my shine because I’m afraid to be noticed. I laugh and I engage with people and those that knew me pre divorce are now seeing who I really am. A friendly, caring, funny woman who is also realizing who SHE really is again. 

I spent a long time worrying about what I’d do after divorce. And now I know, it’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Even my chemo is easier now, because I feel better on the inside. I’m happy again. And I will never, EVER again allow someone to tell me I’m nothing.  I’m stronger and I’m more confident. I’m now a single mom, a stage 4 cancer survivor and a damn good woman. And I’ve never felt happier in my life. 

-Kate

Learning To Love My Time Alone

I am really learning to love my time alone…The last couple weeks, I have really started to enjoy hiking more by myself. Last summer, I would spend many nights hiking at the state park and I started to really enjoy it. Now that the weather is nice again, I have started my nightly hiking. This time, I have made a point to go by myself. I honestly am really starting to just enjoy this time.   In addition, I just bought my state park sticker for the year and I plan to try new day trips with just me…. No friends, just me.

This is a time that I can use to clear my head and my thoughts…and there is a lot going on in my head most days.   It is just peaceful and I am very content. I have many friends and can easily go hiking with another person, however I choose to do these things alone. I am not sure if its independence or I am just more content being alone.

It took me a few years after my divorce, to start doing activities alone. You basically have to start from scratch after being married for 13 years. I had to start watching TV alone, shopping alone, walking alone, eating alone… and it was hard to learn to do all of those things alone again. You have to really push yourself to do these things.

And many times you just don’t feel comfortable doing them. But then, I really started to enjoy that time alone…and then it turned into me looking forward to that time.   And now after 5 years, It is a new feeling of happiness and contentment. I could really go on and on about learning to do things alone and not feel lonely. It’s a hard thing to overcome.

There is a difference between finding things to do to fill your alone time and planning things you love to do alone. What I am saying is that… after my divorce, I would find things to do to fill my time alone. I think many of us go through that period. And now I actually plan things to do alone.

I actually plan activities to do alone. I plan nights to hike alone. I plan projects to do at home alone. I plan these activities for myself just as if I was doing them with a group of people. I actually plan them ahead of time rather than dreading doing them alone.

Church is probably one of the most rewarding things that I have learned to do alone. This year, I joined a new church and I started going by myself when I do not have my kids. This was a huge step for me. At first I thought, people are going to think I am a complete loner…and then I realized there are many people that go to church alone. I learned that this was one of the most rewarding times of my week. Honestly, I would now pick going to church alone anyday.

I have done many small home improvements at my house. Very small improvements, which mostly include painting the entire house. But I have learned that I love to find little projects and see them through by myself. I am just more gratified from starting and completing the project by myself.

I know some people find doing things alone, scary or uneasy… I get it. I still have many friends that can not walk into a restaurant alone. For some of us, like myself, it is easy to do activities, hobbies, projects, by ourselves. We are the people that would pick a 3 hour car ride by ourselves over a road trip with 5 friends.

I think I have just learned to be really content with my life and surroundings. I have no problem now choosing to do something alone over maybe with friends. It does take time…it took me a long time to get to this point, but I really enjoy it now.   I embrace this time alone.

-snarky

www.snarkydivorcedgal.com

Understanding About Why My Marriage Didn’t Work

It’s funny how years later, the past seems so much clearer.. I finally understand why my marriage didn’t work and it doesn’t make me sad.

I was going through my old pictures and cards this week.  One of the many projects, that I have put off for years, but now being stuck at home I’ve finally motivated myself… I’m sitting in my storage room in the basement by myself going thru all these old keepsakes and bins. 

I came across all my old birthday, mothers day, and anniversary cards from my ex husband.  I sat there and read them all.  I think for the first time I realized how much thought and love he put into writing those cards.  I just wish he could have communicated all those thoughts to me out loud during our marriage. Reading those cards now, it was crazy to read the paragraphs he wrote about how much he loved me.  At the time, when I was married he could not communicate many things to me. He couldn’t communicate how he felt about me or ask what we both needed in our marriage.  And at the time, him writing those thoughts once a year wasn’t what I was looking for in our marriage.  Eventually the lack of communication was one of the main reasons our marriage ended 

I sat there thinking about when did I fall out of love with him.  Those cards seemed like there was so much love between us, but in reality it wasn’t like that.  I believe that I was in love with him when we got married and started to have kids, but somewhere through the next 13 years I fell out of love.  The communication started to dwindle, we started to do activities separately, and I felt like I wasn’t the same person I was years ago. I remember feeling like I was never appreciated and that he had no input in any decisions.  We eventually had little to talk about.  I felt like I was constantly trying to get him to communicate or show any interest and he just couldn’t. 

It’s a hard thing to think about.  Did I love him in the beginning? And when did it change? What was the exact point that I just didn’t care anymore?  Marriage and relationships take constant work from both parties.  I know that by the time I realized our marriage was in trouble, I didn’t have much effort left. I honestly had already checked out.  We spent over a year in marriage counseling separate and together.  Unfortunately for my husband at the time, I learned more about myself and realized I was not in love with him anymore.  We were both trying to make changes in our relationship but we just couldn’t connect. 

Yes I could have stayed in the marriage and had a good life, but I wanted more for myself. I remember even thinking maybe I could stay and we could just be friends. Crazy thoughts.. but I’m sure many of us have had them.  I wanted to be happy.  It might sound selfish, but I couldn’t spend the next 40 some years with someone that couldn’t talk to me.. couldn’t ask about my day or be excited about the things I wanted in my life.  And as time went on, I turned to my friends for all those things.  Or I didn’t even tell him the things I was excited about….i just went through a lot of motions of being in a happy marriage, but I wasn’t. 

Looking thru all these cards now, didn’t make me sad.  I know that he wrote what he felt.  This is hard to write about because I don’t want to sound heartless but reading those cards didn’t make me sad or regretful.  I have many great memories of our time together.  It just made me understand maybe more about why our relationship didn’t work.  And it’s ok that I’m not sad about it…

-snarky 

 

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/blog

What Google Doesn’t Tell You About Divorce

I wish I would have had some insight on the entire process before I started my divorce, but I didn’t.  Yes, you can research and google the entire divorce process, however there are many things google can not tell you.

What I wish I would have known…

#1 -If you have kids together, your ex will probably always be in the picture…I wish I would have known that my ex would never go away…I was naive and thought once I was divorced, he would go away. False. I thought that I would be able to just move on with my life and be happy.. hahaha. So false.  And by go away, I thought that we would not have much contact. I guess I never thought about all the communication would still need to have regarding the kids.

Once we were divorced he wanted an input in every decision. We share 50/50 custody with 3 kids so we do have constant contact,  I did most of the decision making and parenting when we were married and now he wanted an input on everything. This was a challenge for me.. from bedtimes, to church, to sports, to school clothes.. he wanted to add his opinion into everything.  I had to really adjust to his input and it was hard.  I didn’t understand why he now wanted to have an input in the kid decisions.

You might start the process out being amicable, however it can change throughout.  There are so many decisions that need to be made.  Now we had children, so there was a lot to decide.  I did not realize how much we would still need to be in contact.

So how do you keep your ex out of your life as much as possible and move on..Set boundaries.  The more boundaries that are set from the beginning, the easier life is for everyone involved.  This included the form of communication we used to dropping off items for the children.  Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, I would begin to set a boundary or make it a discussion.

#2 -Children Adjust-I spent years worrying about how my children would handle our divorce.. Would our divorce ruin them for life? False. Truth is they were more grown up and understanding than some adults. Each one of them has had their hard times, however most of the trouble has been from different parenting styles and additional people now included.

How did we make the transition as smooth as possible?  Having a set schedule and routine from the beginning will help them adjust. We have had the same schedule for most of our 5 years of divorce.  I fought to not go week to week because my son was still very young and I knew it would not be good for either parent.   One summer, I agreed to go week to week for 3 months. It was the worst decision, my son had a hard time adjusting to the new routine. He would call and cry during the week because he missed me and he would count the days until he saw me.  After that, we went back to our normal routine and I learned that was the best for my children.

Set a schedule from the beginning and stick with it. It makes it easier on the children and everyone involved. My kids always know where they will be and when. We also do monthly calendars and I put them up so my kids know where they will be at all times.  

#3 -Get a good lawyer-Pay the money…Get a good lawyer with references and be thorough. get the best lawyer you can afford. One that has referrals from clients with the similar situation as yours.  Ask anyone in the area that is divorced.  Be as detailed in your divorce as possible. Include hours, dates, summer schedule, right of refusal, holidays, school expenses, health, medicine, college, etc.  I did not have a good lawyer in the beginning, and in the last 5 years my ex and I have gone back to mediation and court several times. This is very stressful, expensive, and affects your entire life moving forward.

It’s hard to move on with life, if you are going back to court and re-evaluating it over and over.  It’s important to set all the details with the children in the beginning.  I should have thought through all these questions before we got into our divorce. Like are you going to rotate Halloween or stick to the normal schedule… who will pay for school lunches… who will pay for special events … all of these questions will come up.  There are so many areas that will need to be included in your decree.  Do your homework and make a list.  After being divorced for 5 years and my kids continue to grow, there are many additional topics that need to be addressed.   Think about your kids in 5 years and what will be important in the future.  The more information that is included in your decree from the start the easier your life will be.  That is a guarantee!!

#4-You will have an adjustment period with your friends.. Your friends might change throughout the process.  The true friends will stick with you..but your life will have many changes.   Throughout your divorce your friends may come and go.. It is hard to know. I would prepare yourself that some friends may not be able to stay in your life due to the situation.

My friends were great throughout my divorce, however there is always going to be ones that you feel more comfortable talking about the emotions and feelings that you are experiencing.   It was also hard to explain the legal process.  It was also hard to ask for advice from individuals that did not have any experience in divorce..

However, Since my divorce my friend circle has changed. I have met some divorced moms that are a great support for me.   These are the ones I can hang out with on my non kid weekends.  These are the friends that I can rant to about my ex.  They get what I am experiencing and can show support.   I love all my friends, but some will just get it more than others. Thats just the truth.

I had days where I wanted to talk to people and others that I did not.  I was always so tired of telling my “story” I just wanted to have a normal conversation with someone I ran into or met for drinks.  If you dont’ feel like talking, then do not.  There is so much more to your life than just your divorce.

I know I have blogged in the past about friendships through divorce, but with life changes sometimes your friends will change.

#5-Be patient with yourself and the process… I thought that once the divorce was finalized everything would be finished.  During the actual year of my divorce, I was so concentrated on finalizing all those details that I did not concentrate on much else.  Once It was finalized, It took a long time to feel normal and content.  I honestly felt like I was living in a bubble that entire year.  When I first got divorced, people would say give it “5 years” and I thought they were crazy.  But here I am  and yes for me it took 5 years.   It took me 5 years to feel so normal and content with my life.

Be patient with all the changes.  Take it slowly and do not rush into anything.  My kids and I have made lots of adjustments to our life over the last few years.  Remember It’s a start to a new life… I love all the changes that I have made but it does take time…

-Snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/blog

Play Nice

I am currently sitting in my office processing the events of the morning. Trying to think of a careful way to share it with you all but not expose all the players. How do I play nice?

I have been divorced from my daughter’s father since 2012. Separated for several years prior to that. For the most part I have kept the why to myself. I have taken the high road. I haven’t shared much with anyone. When I’ve tried to those closest to me-at the time they  told me to just get over it.

I would love to. If only life worked that way.

But it doesn’t.

My reality was when I left, I left with G and not much else. I was told that since I made the choice that was how it was going to be. If I fought there could be consequences.

Throughout the years coparenting has been a rollercoaster. I am always wrong, I am a helicopter parent, everything is only about money.

Yet when my daughter asks why I am not with her Dad I say quietly- we were just very different,  your Dad is a good guy.

And he can be except when he isn’t.

So here I am trying to decide how to handle the latest untruth he told her about me.

I want her to have a good relationship with her Dad. It just sucks that it seems to be at everyone’s expense but his.

People tell you children hit an age where they figure it out. They realize the love and sacrifice you put forth. I’m hanging in there but MAN (!) there are days! I want to let fly and tell her how I still get anxious every day at 430. How I practically beg/chant “please stop”if I feel an argument brewing. I am still not strong enough to engage in any conversation that feels like an argument. I’ve been known to just leave. How it’s hard for me to trust. How I’m hypercritical of how I look. How I still worry all the time.

How sorry I am that we’re here. But I need her to know, more than anything what Happy looks like. What Love looks like. I need her to know she deserves the sun, the moon, and the stars. She deserves someone who loves her even when she is almost impossible to love.

As do we all.

Big loves Mommas

<3 Caprise

Recognition Of The Solitary Mamas

Ok Mamas, raise your hand if you are divorced? Everyone, keep your hands up. How many have been divorced more than one time? That would be me. Show me the ladies that are truly solo without a partner to share parenting. Girls, you have a special place in my heart for you. I can’t imagine. Now, look around. We are not alone. That is a good thing!

I am a mom that has been twice divorced. It is not a bragging right. Sometimes I hold it in high humor. You know, good old Helen did it how many times?

All and each of you are so bad-ass for taking this journey. Oh lord, it can suck out loud more times than none. Cleaning vomit in the middle of the night, a baby that is teething and crying, the never ending colic. With the realization of there isn’t anyone to blame about it, we carry on. We hold the children and just go with it. The laundry is piling up, the house is a mess. And yet, with while bathed in spit up, we managed to get it done. It may not be pretty but you certainly survived. Go you! Do you really think anyone else could pull it off? Absolutely not! That is why we are the blessed mamas. We rock this!

To each and every lady, thank you! We aren’t perfect, we are human. We try, we succeed. The job always gets done. Is there anyone else there to help? Nope. As usual, we are flying solo.

Again, thank you! We strive and work so hard. Our children are the reason why we have the job. The small wet kisses are so wonderful. The giggles and glee are just priceless. Be selfish here, who else gets these kinds of presents? Nobody! Case in point, when they get in front of the camera at college, the first thing we hear is, “Hi, Mom!”. We are special.

You will never be alone in your fight. When bad days happen, when the tears are flowing, remember that we are warriors and you are a rock star. Everyday, all day long and even twice on Sunday. Go You!

 

Striving for exceptional – Tristen Ahlsey

Missing The Familiar Even When The Familiar Made Me Sad

Familiar….

I could have sworn as he was leaving he said “see you babe.”

More than likely he said “see you in a bit.”

Sometimes when he leaves I almost, almost go to kiss him goodbye. Not out of want, but merely out of old habit. Like a Freudian slip. It’s very rare, but it’s still there.

Usually his presence makes me a bit twitchy and uncomfortable. I don’t like to catch his gaze because what I see in return is either sadness, longing, or a complete dark emptiness I don’t recognize or like. I see someone I once knew, thought I knew, and lost. Someone I lost a long time ago and spent years trying to get back. Looking at him reminds me that I failed.

I closed the door behind them, sighing, for a fleeting second recognizing his shape, then back of his head, his funny gait (he’s always had this walk, I can’t explain it, but he never really held his head up to see where he was going. Maybe part of the reason he was always lost). For a split second he was familiar and yet being married to him felt so, so long ago.

I shook my head and I carried warm, clean sheets upstairs to make my bed. As I untangled fabric and the scent of new detergent lingered in my nose I couldn’t help but feel as empty as the stark, undressed mattress in front of me.

So this is starting over. The people I went to school with, for the most part, are just finishing up getting married or raising their first, heavenly-scented newborn. They were me years ago, before Instagram, hashtagging love and smiles with heart eyes when they catch a glimpse of their significant other holding a baby, petting the new puppy or dangling the keys to the new house.  It’s sweet. All the stuff that happens in front of the camera. They are still picking out drapes for their new construction home it took two years to build and upgrading that sedan for an SUV to fit their $350 stroller they don’t yet know they will sell in an online yardsale group they don’t yet belong to in a year and a half. They are in the throes of just starting a chapter of their life that maybe they’d always dreamed of and I’m making a bed for one, living the story I never wanted to write, never thought I would tell.

Last night, a guy at a bar interrupted my giggles with my girlfriend to ask whose birthday we were celebrating.

Poor guy, but smart line.

He asked me what I was drinking and I said it was sweet and he sidestepped and made a face.

“What?” I say.

“I don’t do sweet,” he replies and does a half grimace.

“Neither did my ex-husband,” flew out of my mouth as I turned back around.

A group of his friends enjoyed playing “let’s guess her age” and apparently because I didn’t wear the band of honor on my left hand, I won back a few years.

Oh, to actually be 26, boys. No one asked if I had kids; clearly, I was too young to be divorced. Let me tell you about the softness in my torso, the spot that carried two babies for 40+ weeks. The stretch marks on my thighs and the wrinkles around my eyes from squinting while I watched them play in the yard and had no idea where my sunglasses were. Lines around my mouth starting to show from smiling so hard at them I thought I’d physically burst because no matter how much I was hurting as a woman, I was so full of love and focus as their mom.

I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be “out there.” I already did this and I thought this part of my life was done. I did marriage, I did babies. I didn’t plan for this, I didn’t have an “option B.”

I don’t want to retell all my stories, I don’t want to start over. I want to be at home in my yoga pants without makeup and my messy bun and my glasses. I want a glass of my sweet wine that you don’t make fun of. I want a back rub and a movie and maybe some ice cream. I want to be interrupted while I’m doing dishes to have my neck kissed or spun around the dirty kitchen floor to a song I love. I don’t want to impress you or make you fall in love with how devoted of a mother I am, or how good I am at multitasking. I don’t want to have to try and be loveable or witty or prove how smart I really am even though I can’t even find the correct circuit breaker to flip most of the time and I forget to empty the dryer lint trap.

I want easy and comfortable and genuine and fierce. I want to know if I tell you all my stories, if I show you all my scars, you will listen and you will stay.

I do miss the familiar, even though the familiar made me feel sad, and broken and empty and alone. It was recognizable, it was within reach.

I want to be loved relentlessly: a completely unfamiliar feeling I didn’t know you could miss if you’ve never had it.

Jessica-An Awesome Single Mama