Dear Holy Mother of ALL Candy Bars Except Almond Joy, the last two weeks aged me ten years (because omg, yes they did). When do I get to reverse that? I'm looking for actual dates so if you know please message me post haste. ~C
Two weeks + 1 day.
This is some of what I know so far. I thought it may be helpful for three reasons.
1. I get to come back in however long and be all "Yeah, man, we got through all that shiz! Go us!"
2. Someone may stumble onto this post on Day 1 wondering how the hell they put one foot in front of the other. (Hint: You can and you will. That's what every one is telling me right now and I believe them.)
3. I often write to give myself a very public pep talk. It is a blessing and curse. But mostly a blessing.
So onward and upward! Here we go...
Nighttime is the Hardest.
Parents know that when the quiet comes and the distractions stop, the mind and heart will take over. This is when all of life's most difficult questions are asked. This was true before divorce and it is true after. The problem is that the questions are harder to answer than they were before. The questions are sadder. The questions are complicated. The questions are shots through your heart. And they come with heartbroken tears. I would gladly take some questions on the origin of the Universe or where babies come from right now. But we are not back there yet and I'm sure we wont be for a good long while. So, prepare yourself for this by starting the nighttime routine earlier. Try to add quiet family time before its time to actually sleep because you can't not answer the questions. They need you to answer them. I am finding that after dinner family puzzles and art at the kitchen table are helping us.
They Will Surprise You
Before this all went down I was positive about how the children would react and I was 100% wrong. After the fact and because I did not learn my lesson, I adjusted to reality and immediately began forming new theories and game plans. A few days later I had to scrap those too. It is now abundantly clear that I will never be able to prepare ahead time for what they will bring to me. I have put down my Magic 8 Ball ( I might have taken Thor's hammer to it in a fit of rage) and resolved that I'm just gonna have to wing this shit.
The Spark will Dull
Somewhere during that first week, I looked into the rear-view mirror at my two babies and my throat wanted to close. I could SEE it. We were on our way to McDonald's for an "I feel guilty and don't know what to do right now" Happy Meal and the only way I can describe the deep sadness I saw reflected in their faces was that their shine was missing. MISSING. The spark I had taken for granted was gone from their eyes. I'm pretty sure I will remember that moment forever. I'm crying right now just typing about it. But then there is last night. Pants dropped his dinner plate, not once but TWICE, he looked at me with sadness and frustration. His deep well reserve of rage was about to come spewing out. His fists were clenched. His body was so tense. He thought I'd be frustrated too. But instead I said with a wicked smile, "What's going on, buddy? Did somebody turn your fingers into Flarp? Who would do such a thing? " and the relieved hysterical laugh that flew out of him was not so much about the plate at all. It was about his need to be comforted and his rage turned into insane and uncontrolled laughter. It was about the relief of laughter through pain. Truvy would have been so proud. So as we picked up the noodles from the floor together, we imagined how funny it would be to sneak around and turn mean people's fingers into Flarp. I'm gonna remember that moment too. With each of these small moments, my kidlets are building their spark back up.
Its Not OK
Before we told them we were divorcing, I spent every spare minute of my time reading ALL THE THINGS on children and divorce. I read it a million times that one should not respond to their child's pain with the words "Its OK." because its NOT ok, man. Makes total sense when you are reading it but then your child is broken in your arms and all you want to say is "Its OK." The words are just sitting there taunting you like a shitty devil. But don't do it, friends. Because I did. Once. And I will never say it again because my child looked at me, stiffened her body in protest and shouted "NO, ITS NOT!" And she is right. It's not OK. It sucks. It hurts. It is awful. From then on every time I want to say "Its Ok" I mentally check myself and offer validation of the pain and tightened the hug.
But Its Gonna Be
Ok, last one for today. Though I have a MILLION more.
I am reminded of the wisdom words of a young Justin Timberlake when he said, "Its gonna be May". Or at least I think that's what he said. Regardless, this is just the beginning for us. We have a long way to go. Its going to be bumpy and hard but its not going to all be bad and hard and awful. Tears will slow. My bootstraps will eventually stay in place. The good people at Dunkin' Donuts will certainly enjoy the day when I stop crying my coffee order at them. Understanding will creep in. Happiness will shine upon us more and more often as the weeks and months go by. Normal will once again come. We are entering Winter soon. But Spring ain't so far away. And I know that because Justin said so.
xoxo, Mama Pants