My day began with a long, hot, uninterrupted shower. I listened to Weekend Edition on the radio and heard every word. I put on make-up and earrings and a cute outfit. I rode my bike, alone, downtown, to meet a friend for breakfast. We sat in the sunshine and ate breakfast for 2 hours. Then I rode my bike back home, alone. I didn’t stop to fix someone’s helmet or shriek “stay on the right side!” 93 times, or pull a 60 lbs of kid and trailer behind me. I just rode and listened to the wind and watched the world.
One night, when we were still in Smallville and I’d had a particularly rough day, I tucked Goofus into bed and apologized for my cranky mood. I said that I seemed to have lost all my happy mama energy. He asked me where the last place was I remembered having it? It was a good question and the answer came to me quickly. “The bike path in Eugene” I said.
I was thinking of a visit we (the ex and I) made to Eugene the summer before, when we took the kids for a bike ride along the river. It was late summer and the berries along the path were just ripe. This was Goofus’ first big ride on his own bike so we stopped to pick berries when he wanted. Doodlebug loved riding up high in the kid seat on the back of my bike, where it felt “fast.” It was a perfect afternoon: I loved sharing one of my favorite home town things with my boys, everyone had fun, and we were all together. It was what “family” looked like in my fantasy.
I realized it was also the last time I remembered us all having fun together and feeling like a real family—and it was long time ago. All the hard work I’d done to keep my marriage afloat had, in some ways, distracted me from how bad things really were. I still cared if my marriage survived, but I realized that saving it wasn’t all my responsibility. I had tried every way I knew to fix my marriage; nothing helped and things got worse.
This occurred to me as I kissed my boys goodnight. I decided that completing the move to Eugene was our last hope. I knew I wouldn’t make it another year in Smallville—we’d (the ex and I) talked about that. I had daydreams of putting the kids and a big suitcase in the car and fleeing down I-5 to my dad’s house. I didn’t want that; I wanted all of us together. I wanted my family. So I went to work on selling the house and finishing the move. The work paid off and the house sold.
We made it to Eugene and everyone has done well here. The kids have nice friends and great schools; I’m working, writing, and socializing–all good things; and the ex has a great job and new friends (and that is as much speaking for him as you will ever get out of me). We made it, but the marriage did not. I’m still in the thick of the split, so no nostalgic feelings for him yet, but I am definitely grieving the loss of the family I hoped for. I still want that.
In the meantime….
I found that I had left a lot of my happy mama energy on the bike path. I find a little more of it each time I ride (about twice as much when I ride alone). I’m happy to be home, among my people . And, as it turns out, divorce has one or two perks. In some cases, a hot sexy ass, is the consolation prize for marital losers. Time alone is nice too. After 6+ years as a stay-at-home mom, I’m really okay with my boys spending weekends at their dad’s house. The silence they leave behind is very pleasant. So are restaurants without children. Me and my hot ass are finding plenty to do.