Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My new home

Readers, I've missed you.  I've missed coming here, and thinking life through on paper (pixels) and having chats with you in the comments.

But I do not define myself as a divorcee - I'm so much more than that - and I'm no longer struggling with the same set of problems that PollyAnnasDivorce was about.

So - I've moved!

Soon, I'll put up new posts, about my new life, post-divorce but not defined by divorce.  Please join me there at http://pollyannashines.blogspot.com .  I hope to see you there!

Much love,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Chapters

When I first started this blog, I had no idea how I was going to craft my life.  I was desperate to escape my unhealthy marriage, coming out of cancer treatment, unemployed, with next to no savings and way too much debt.  In the header, I wonder out loud how I will "return to the workforce" and "get my financial life in order" while getting through divorce.

And I did it.  I really did it!

I am approaching the one year anniversary of my employment.  I have paid down debt through a refinance, and I actually have a little savings account.  (Nowhere near what it "should" be, but I no longer stress nightly about car repairs or groceries.)  The divorce is final, and my beautiful daughter is doing well.

So, it's time for me to move on.  I refuse to live my life stuck in my divorce, and while I don't have my entire life figured out (ha! does anyone?) I no longer live thinking about divorce all the time.  I'm moving up Maslow's pyramid, thinking about the great wide world and my place in it.  My blog has served the great purpose of helping me to process my life's events, but the reasons I set forth for having a blog have come to pass, and it's time to end PollyAnna's Divorce.

I'm moving on to other things in my life.  Serious writing - the kind where I actually draft it and edit it, not just spill whatever comes to mind.  Travel.  Career advancement.  Volunteering for causes I believe in.  Sharing time with friends.  Reading.  And of course, being with my beautiful daughter, teaching her and learning from her and just plain enjoying her.

I am so grateful to each of my readers here for caring about me, and for sharing your stories with me.  I think that it's so important to change the divorce paradigm from one where angry adults hurl insults at one another to one where two adults acknowledge that it doesn't work but that there were lessons learned and beautiful children gained.  If you found me here, perhaps that is what you were looking for....and I hope you found it.

My relationship with my ex is often strained, but somehow we have found a way to a co-parenting relationship that works well enough.  Not a minute goes by that I do not mourn that my life could not have had the happy marriage I craved, that my daughter's nuclear family had to be so broken...but not a minute goes by that I am not grateful to have put my ugly marriage behind me.  I hope that readers here see those two sides, and know that if I could set aside my anger to find some peace for my daughter AND for myself, maybe it is possible for them, too.  That if I can navigate the rough waters between being a stay at home mom and a single working mom, they can too.  That if I can land on my feet, they can too.

There will be future challenges - of course there will.  There will be future joys, too.  But the time has come to end this chapter, to focus on what is to come.  I'm no longer a woman fighting through divorce: I've survived that battle, and now I'm putting it behind me, taking its lessons and its scars with me, but refusing to let it define me as a human being.  The divorce and its aftermath will last a lifetime, I have no doubt about that, but it is no longer the central part of my existance, and for that I am grateful.

I don't know what the future will bring.  I have many hopes and dreams, and these days, I'm working on them more than I'm working on staying afloat.  I am grateful.

I wish you all the best.  May you, too, find that distant shore, and may you, too find peace.


And as my parting gift, I leave you with a favorite poem.  May you know what kindness is.


Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

For the past week, Katherine has labored over hand made heart valentines to hand out to her classmates, each with a chocolate taped to it.

I issued an invitation to a half dozen of her friends to come over for a special Valentine dinner, and told those friends' parents to go out on dates and celebrate the holiday.

I invited a couple of single girlfriends to come and join me, too.

Last night I made a white (bechamel base) lasagna, as well as a traditional red lasagna.  I've got the table set with a red cloth and the china (white with a gold rim), with little heart dishes of candies and a bouquet of flowers in the center.

This morning I woke Katherine up with a whispered "Happy Valentine's Day - I got you a present!"  She got chocolates, hair bands, and a stuffed animal (all received rave reviews).

I'm wearing a red dress and my favorite heels.  (High.  And French.)

I'm greeting everyone with a smile and a "Happy Valentine's Day!"


I'm faking every last bit of it.  I feel sad today, and much desirous of crawling back into bed.  I'm hoping that all this faking it helps me to make it.

Today, Mary Oliver's poem, with the line "whereever you are, no matter how lonely..." keeps echoing in my mind.  What *is* my place?  I really dislike this longing to be a part of another, this desire to desire and be desired in return.  I want to be happy with what I have, because what I have is so much.  I'm trying to find the joy, I'm trying to be that person.

But today, I'm faking it.  Maybe tomorrow I won't have to fake it.  I'm just glad that Katherine isn't faking it, and as she headed off to school with her bag of Valentine's, she looked so happy.  Today, that must be enough for me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


It has been over a year and a half since I asked for a divorce.
It has been almost a year since I landed at my current job.
It has been seven months since my ex moved out.
It has been one month since my divorce.

I'm feeling restless, and I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because I live in a perpetual state of exhaustion. 

Maybe it's because I wish I had more figured out.

But I'm restless.

Really restless.

There's something missing.  What is it?  Is it wanting to move to the next level at work?  Am I mothering to the best of my ability?  Is it because I'm not writing? 

Am I lonely?

Damnit, I've worked too hard to be lonely.

And I sureashell don't believe that I need rescuing.  (Just for the record, I believe that hell is what we create when we don't live up to our own expectations.  Ironic, no?)

Except (anddont'youdarebreathawordofthistoanyone), I do feel lonely.  And I wonder if the 'something missing' is the smell of a man's neck.

I can't remember the last time I felt a strong chest under my cheek.

And you know what?  After a day of getting up at 4:30am and doing my damndest to be the best person-mother-employee-homeowner-friend I know how to be, and trying to squeeze in a bit of reading and pretend to Katherine that I don't just wish I could crawl into bed and nap for six days.... I just wish that I had someone at the end of the day to say, "You amaze me.  Come here..." and draw me into his arms.

Don't give me the feminist argument about how my opinion of myself matters more than finding a mate.  I believe that, I live that, I am that.

But today, I'm lonely, and I just wish I had someone to share all this with.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

And so it is

Tonight Bryan and Katherine came over to pick up some items she'd forgotten.

He was impatient from the get-go.  He was snappy.  He was rude to me.  He was rude to our daughter.  She got a bit flustered, but she's kind of used to it, and so I thought it was okay.

Note: it is NOT okay.  Nobody is allowed to talk to my daughter like that - nobody.  But he does.  Frequently.

They left.

A few minutes later they came back, and he waited in the car, but she came in.  Her lip was quivering a little.  She gave me a really big hug, the kind that she doesn't always volunteer any more now that she's more aware of her changing body and she's "not a little kid."  I hugged back.  I said "Are you okay?" and she cried.  She said, "I don't know why he yelled at me..."

We worked it out.  I hugged more.  I told her that her dad loved her, and that he didn't mean to be impatient.  I told her that she was tired and good rest might help. 

She was impatient with me, and said, "It's not that," and she is right.  It's not that.

Her dad is impatient, and when he's impatient, he's rude and unfair and nothing makes sense except his impatience.  He gets a short fuse, and he yells.

I can not make that right for her.

But I have to be honest, I'm a bit glad that she said it wasn't okay.  I told her it wasn't okay, even as I tried to coach her about how her dad loved her.  I will have to think about how to coach her better next time, because there WILL be a next time.  And her teen years are coming, and that's going to get harder, too.

I knew this was coming, nto because I willed it so, but because it was inevitable.  If he was even kind of nice I would have stuck it out, but he is short tempered and that makes him impossible to please.

It brings it all back in aching waves mixed with painful jolts.

She is a strong girl.  She's got her mama's backbone and her mama's integrity.  She can manage this, and she will.  But I wish she had a different kind of father than the one she's got.

More on this later.  Right now, it's too exhausting to think about it.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Quiveringly tired

I started beating myself up this week - why am I so tired?  Why is it so hard to function?  What is WRONG with me?


What's wrong with me is that in the last month I got divorce AND had a breast cancer recurrence scare.  In the last week, I've been managing the business all by myself, I had surgery on Monday, my daughter has been sick all week, it's the school performance this weekend, my ex has been in my house every day (with the sick girl - why do they have to be at my house?!), and tonight I'm hosting a birthday dinner for a friend, which required making a cake last night and frosting it at 6am today, running to the market for ingredients at lunch, and hoping like heck I get out of here on time to do the rest before she gets there.

I didn't plan for it to be like this.  Surgery?  Can't count on that.  Sick kid?  Total surprise.  Ex in the house?  Sideswiped.  I could have managed the boss being gone and the party, if only barely, but on top of the rest of it, well, it's way, way, way too much.

I will not cancel the dinner - after all, the cake is already made, the table set, the present wrapped.  This is one of my closest friends, and she's been having a tough time, and she's the one that held my hand as I cried on the ultrasound table when they told me I required surgery because they just weren't sure what it was.  You don't let down a friend like that, and I won't.  She's been going through a tough break up, having a harder time than I have for some reason that mystifies both of us, and she needs me, and when your friends need you, you'll show up.

But I'm a bit worried that I will burst into tears in the middle of all of this, because I am achingly, quiveringly tired.  The kind of tired that makes it hard to think, hard to function.

This weekend is the school performance, grandparents coming to the house, etc. etc.  It's my weekend "off" but I really only get Sunday off....but I am going to stay in my pj's and do nothing.  I may not even wake up on Sunday, I might see if I can set an alarm for Monday morning.  Ha!

Hanging in there.  It's a wild ride sometimes.  This, too, shall pass, but the fatigue is something hard to explain.  Maybe next week will be smoother - oh, please God, let it be smoother!  I am ready for some easy, some fun, some delight.  And I'm ready to ditch the exhaustion.

Am I alone in this?  Wouldn't it be so nice to share this with a partner who said, "Hey honey, put your feet up, I'm making dinner?"  Wouldn't it be lovely to have a backrub after he tucked the child into bed?  Don't you miss that?  I miss the IDEA of that, because though I didn't get it very often....okay, I never got it...I always had the hope that it was possible.

What do the other single moms do when they're this tired?  How do you avoid being this tired?  Oh, I know, avoid surgery and work and....  nevermind.  (sigh)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wow that was exhausting.

So, the happy adreneline rush that came with my good news earlier today (benign!  yippee!) has faded back to normal-happy levels.

And I am so incredibly exhausted.  WOW.  Katherine is sick with a cold (and Bryan is at my house with her today), and I'm back at work and it's CRAZY busy, and I feel like I need  a week long nap.

Phew.  So glad to be alive.  So tired!


They called me while I was on the bus on the way in to work.  I thought it was the standard post-surgery call ("How's the wound?  Pain management?") but instead it was with the excellent news that I DO NOT HAVE CANCER!

To tell you that I'm happy would be like saying that chocolate tastes good or that I love my daughter - the words are insufficient.  I am filled with the promise and possibility of all good things, and I'm walking on air.

Incredibly grateful.

Now, back to work for me!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Surgery update: Scar tissue?

I am home, and thanks to my friend Lorazepam, I'm feeling pretty good.  Woozy and strange but not anxious.

The procedure was pretty quick.  It hurt a little bit, which means that I must be getting some nerves back, which is a good thing!  (But ouch.)  The doctor thinks it's scar tissue.  Scar tissue - isn't that beautiful sounding?  He told me he wouldn't worry.

I'm feeling celebratory.  And a bit high and woozy and with the munchies from the Lorazepam.  :-)

Thanks to everyone for caring.  So grateful to be back at home, in bed with a heating pad (not on the wound), snuggled down.  My girl is home sick too so we're just laying low.

Still praying that it's just scar tissue.


Sunday, February 3, 2013


Well, Katherine and I hit the slopes.  She's a bit unsure about skiing, but I remembered how much I love it.

I didn't ski for thirteen years.  It's hard to believe.  A good metaphor for my marriage: less physical activity, less speed, less outdoor time, less fun.  But I took a lesson, and I could ski an intermediate run, which doesn't make me amazing at any level but it was a blast.

Now I'm home, though, and it's hard not to be too scared.  Tomorrow, a doctor will take a knife to my breast to determine whether or not the cancer has returned.

But I skiied.  I came home, tended to Katherine (who has a nasty cold, and it's the week of the school play and she's not supposed to miss a single rehearsal...drat!).  I made chicken vegetable soup (good for Katherine's cold and my soul).  Loads of laundry.  Grocery store.  Pet store.  I'm trying to keep it together....

Breathing.  Remembering my inner light, the joy that is part of me.  Panicking.  Breathing again, remembering that I can ski again.  Panicking.  Breathing....breathing...

Thank you for your continued good wishes and prayers.


In other news, Bryan dog-sat at my house (because it's his dog too and his apartment doesn't allow dogs).  He left me messes to clean up (seriously?), and he refused to say so much as "Good luck tomorrow" or "I'm sorry you have to deal with this."  Seriously?  Thirteen years of marriage, a shared child, and he can't even tell me that he hopes I don't have cancer again?  Wow.  Good riddance.  I am so better off without THAT in my life.  Sorry, hard to find a PollyAnna joy in that - just glad that I don't have to be married to someone that uncaring.

I may be PollyAnna, and I may be working hard at creating my beautiful new life, but I sure got divorced for good reasons.  It's not all roses all the time around here.  (sigh)