My one-year divorce-aversary is coming up quickly.
It’s made me stop to think about the year and overall, it’s been a rough one.
Every time I thought I had things under control, life would pull the rug under me and laugh saying, “Not so fast, blondie.”
There were some moments in which I thought—I just can’t do this. Many moments. The feeling was overwhelming, but then suddenly, I turned a corner. Not that I don’t sometimes feel defeated about caring for myself and my daughter on my own…not that I don’t look at my bank account and think, “When does it get better?” because I do… a lot.
Not that I don’t think, when another issue comes up with my ex, “What now?”
But that I believe wholeheartedly that I will manage it. Somehow, I managed when I thought I couldn’t during numerous moments throughout this year. And honestly, out of the three years we have been done with our marriage, this one was the hardest by far—proving that no two divorce journeys are alike.
And here it is spring. A time of new growth. A time of warmer sun. A time of longer days.
And for the first time, I will be without my child for six whole nights.
Originally when we split, we shared her time 50/50, and it was challenging making a life for myself when she was gone with dad. Then as her dad started to take less and less and less time with her, suddenly, it was the two of us again, attached at the hip just like we had been when I was a stay-at home mom.
I’ve never been apart from my daughter for this long. I’ve never missed the chance to dye eggs or see the bunny in time for Easter. It’s this time of the year that I am most sentimental about missing my stay-at home days with her… she just turned six and I still remember those days...the ones rocking her in her chair, her nursing to sleep. The ones in which we hopped from park to park, drawing on the sidewalks, writing letters, and swinging on swings…climbing to the top and me wondering if she wasn’t going just a little too high…or not.
How quiet the house is going to be for six whole nights…getting used to that silence. Getting used to being alone with my own thoughts.
This year has taught me though that there is always treasure among the trash. There are always moments of happiness. It’s up to us to find them. You can sit and stare at the garbage in front of you and sit in your own “shit” as my wise friend Sid mentioned to me…or you can rummage through that trash and find something.
Find anything. Find happiness. Make happiness.
Despite a financially and emotionally and at times, physically rough year…there was and is treasure among the trash.
There is Passover Seder with my daughter and our friends.
There is the taste of tangy and sweet oranges. I have become a bit obsessed with eating navel oranges. Cutting them into quarters and ripping the juicy bits right off the skin. Eating them with a thirst—not a hunger, but wanting to juice and savoring every bite.
The sound of the ocean. I look forward to putting my feet on sand. To hearing the ocean next to me. Now that the weather has softened, I can enjoy this during my time alone. One of my most favorite things is to go out and run by the ocean. To feel the sun on my face. To run against the wind and smell the salty air. To feel away from all of the “trash.” The past few years, I have gone to the beach alone…and just read. Ran. Thought. Trying to quiet my own head…trying to find solutions to problems. Creating stories in my imagination.
And to get myself to sleep each night, I listen to an app that plays ocean waves…drifting off and even when I wake in the middle of the night, my head racing…the sounds get me back to sleep.
The smell of lavender oil against my skin when I am restless.
The voices of friends, whether through text, email, calls or in person. The invaluable group of women and men who have been my support team at all hours of the night and day. Each of them their own unique treasure. Some of which are new friends, and some of which are old.
The feel of my body in motion. I wanted for so long to take ballet again and finally when I am able, I go to class and dance with women who are more experienced than I am, but no less spirited or of more potential than I am.
Rond de jambe. Port de bras. Pas de bourrée. Coupé. Arabesque.
I have never left that class without a smile. It doesn’t matter how I entered the room. When I exit the room, I have found my treasure.
The taste of chocolate—and chai tea…my two solid fixes…the strength it takes to do pushups, suspension training…running and lifting. The amazing way fitness has become the one solid melody line that keeps me going. That I discovered an athlete inside of me that I didn’t believe existed before.
The comedic and sometimes interesting life lessons garnered from dating. Once nervous about online dating, I now meet up with people as if I’m simply going to pick up my dry cleaning. I have no expectations. I have no hopes. I just show up and see how things turn out.
My daughter. Her laughter. Her unique outfit choices. Her pretend play. The way her voice inflects when she asks me a question. How her imagination never stops—from sunrise to sunset. Her hugs. Her voice when she cracks open my door early on a weekend morning. Her huddled warm mass on the weekday mornings when she doesn’t want to get up for school.
Are things how I predicted they would be when I decided to divorce?
No, they’re not. Not at all.
I thought by now things would be easier for my kid. I thought that I would not struggle as much financially. I thought we would be a well-oiled coparenting machine, getting along beautifully, my ex and me. I thought I would have found a partner who would have given me an offer I can’t refuse and would have gotten me to commit, but alas—I am still a free bird.
Things are not as I imagined them to be, but they’re just as they are.
But they will change. And so will I.
Rond de jambe.
Life goes in circles…cycles…nothing stays the same.
And as long as I find treasure in the trash, I will be fine.