Sunday, November 29, 2009

Owner's Manual

There's just no manual for divorce. Nothing to tell you how to do this and how to handle that. No book or magazine article that tells you what to say and how to be. No pamphlet that explains how to feel and what to think.

I've finally come clean to most people who know me very well. I've admitted that I'm getting (or now have gotten) divorced from the person I've shared the last 12 years with. People have had mixed reactions. I've been touched by the support of some. And hurt by the judgment of others. But overall that part is over and done with, and I'm glad. Maybe people will stop talking about it, and stop questioning me about it. It's complicated. There is a part of me that yearns for some privacy through all this. I don't want to discuss the demise of the primary relationship in my life with every Tom, Dick and Harry. I don't want to be the subject of gossip. But mostly, I just want to feel normal again in my relationships to the people around me. Whatever that means.

The parts that are still confusing really relate to my kids. I finally pushed my ex-husband out of the house. (It's funny that even I use his pejorative terminology, actually I asked nicely for months, and finally insisted on Sunday). Sort of. I told him he needed to be out by today. However, that hasn't happened. He moved some of his things out. He left behind most of the furniture, two cars and a garage full of junk. I think it's a control issue, and it's frustrating as hell.

He also left behind our two kids. Today he indicated that he will come by and see them tomorrow and daily from now on. I don't believe this. He hasn't seen them in nearly a week. He hasn't spent more than an hour with them in months. And because of his normal absence in their lives, they really haven't asked about him much. I think he assumes he will continue to make himself at my home here to visit with the kids. That he should be allowed to visit with the kids in my home. Since there's no manual, I've had to admit I'm not comfortable with him in the house at this point. He still has keys and remotes, and doesn't seem to have any desire to give up his right to stay, live and be here. It makes me uneasy. And I don't get it. Why would he want to be in the house at this point? Other than attempt to make me feel uneasy, is there any point to it at all? Then I wonder...should I allow it if only for my kids? Perhaps this is the only way they will spend time with their dad. Do I prohibit it? I don't know. I wish there was a manual. All through this process, I've been most concerned with how my kids would react to all this. By and large their lives have remained unchanged. Today we went to church and had a normal Sunday at home. We went to the store to buy their Christmas ornament (a tradition I started when Melena was 2 and I was pregnant with Rudy) and got all the Christmas stuff out and around the house. We ate fish sticks together for supper around our table. Life goes on. Part of me feels a lot of sympathy for Walter. The fact that he misses these moments...that he misses his quizzical little boy saying, "Is that polite mommy?" Or his daughter losing another tooth (her third this year)...biting into an apple hoping to knock it loose. He has missed so much with them...and continues to miss so much. I wish he got it. That life is so fast - and that soon these babies will have their own babies. Part of me is angry as hell with him for being so stupid, so self-absorbed.

Perhaps at the end of this experience I will write an guide to surviving divorce with your head and heart intact. Of course I haven't survived it yet. And some days I'm not at all sure I'm intact.

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