Saturday, August 11, 2012

A moment to reflect

Katherine is still asleep, lying in the bed next to mine, a giant inflatable dolphin on the floor next to her (for the pool) and her arm wrapped around her favorite stuffed animal.

Gazing at her, I'm overcome with the kind of love that makes me choke up and her say, "Oh, Mama" with a smile and an eye roll.  But to say that I am madly in love with my daughter is no understatement.  Her ability to withstand the immensity of the changes in her life makes me incredibly proud: the girl has character, in spades.

This trip has been so very good for both of us.  We haven't spent this much one on one time for ages: usually there are other kids and other adults with us.  But here we are, in a town where we don't know anyone, sharing a small room, and doing activities together, just the two of us.  I was a bit nervous - would I bore her?  Would we get tired and crabby?  Did I bite off more than I could chew? 

No, it's all been close to perfect.  We got hotel rooms even though we were being spontaneous - and our last three nights are all in the same hotel, in our favorite coastal town, only six hours from home.

We couldn't have done this trip with Bryan.

For one thing, Bryan doesn't budget, so putting together the money to make this adventure happen just never happened.  It shocks me that he makes more than I do, but that I'm able to do this trip AND be responsible, whereas we could never seem to travel together.  We really did budget: we stayed in the most inexpensive hotels (including this one, because though it's the nicest one we've been in we have their cheapest room, no view and twin beds, but I don't care because it's darling anyway), we've picnicked some of our meals (breakfast this morning: fresh cherries, hotel coffee, and pastries; dinner last night was cheese, salami, bread, and fruit) and done inexpensive ones elsewhere (today's dinner plan: clam chowder bread bowls at a beachside place).  We've had a little cooler with snacks - bread, stringcheese, carrots - and some contraband like potato chips.  Bryan didn't want to do any of those shortcuts.  He wanted the nicer hotels, he wanted to buy five dollar coffees, he wanted to eat steak.

Bryan couldn't budget to get here, and then once here, he couldn't stay in budget.  But we did both: we're okay financially, we've been responsible, AND we're having an amazing time.

We've also done the trip in a way Bryan wouldn't have enjoyed.  All day in a car for 15 hours (including breaks) would have make Bryan crabby and unbearable to be with, and I would have been so stressed out I would have likely felt like crying.  Now, I'm not saying that Katherine or I thought that was the best part of our trip, but it was absolutely fine, and it was worth it to get to our destination.

And hanging out with my friends, doing kid stuff, would have bored him, too.  No way could he have done a day  in the city with three kids, walking miles and miles, dealing with crowds, without some serious grouchies.

And he doesn't hike any more.  He did, but then he stopped.  And we hiked in a dry area with cacti, and we hiked the Redwoods, and we've done miles of beach walking.

And I never could have done the "let's see how far we feel like driving" method of spontaneous road tripping, because if anything went wrong I'd deal with not only the problem (the possibility of no hotel, or a bad hotel) but also his temper about it.  Instead, we've done what we felt like doing, spent

And so here is the crux of it: On this vacation, I'm reconnecting with my adventurous soul.  I'm not putting energy into trying to please a man who does not wish to be pleased by my, I'm putting energy into creating adventures, laughing, playing with my daughter, exploring.  I feel free, and happier than when I left.  I feel strong, and connected to myself.  It has been an absolutely amazing bonding experience with Katherine, and I feel like I know her more deeply than before.

It's true, I'm getting divorced because the man I married lied to me and treated me with more anger than love.  But this trip has reopened the possibilities once again to all of the joy that awaits in the world: adventure, fun, laughter, connection, nature.  I don't need to be rich, and I don't need to have a partner.  Once the focus of the bad marriage was removed, I could focus on this other stuff, and be the person I want to be.

This is who I want to be.  In a moment, I'll sign off here, and wake up my sleepyhead girl.  We'll eat the pastries we picked up yesterday (pastries for breakfast - decadence!) and I'll make sure she gets some fresh fruit.  Then, we'll slip on our flip flops and head to the beach, splash in the surf, play in tidepools.

When we go home tomorrow, I'm taking it with me.  This trip has been a chance to reconnect with Katherine, but also with myself.  In a few short weeks when school starts and we're deep in routines, we'll have this trip to draw upon.

And every night, for the rest of my life, I will go to bed knowing that THIS IS WHO I AM.  An adventurer.  Quick to laugh.  A planner who is able to be spontaneous.  A woman of deep joy.

And my daughter?  I see her opening up, feeling her own life filled with possibilities.  She still gets her dad, and she will still love eating pizza and watching TV with him, no holds barred, but now she gets me in this way, too, and it is bringing out those parts of HER, not just of me.

Ahhhhhhh.

*******

I don't have a profile of my readers, but from the comments and emails I know this: women who are considering divorce often come here.  Now, if you've got a case of the marriage blues and are wondering what's out there, I hope you see enough to scare you straight: divorce is HARD, and it's hell for kids.  Make no mistakes about that, and get to a marriage counselor and read relationship books and give it your all before you throw in the towel, because you owe that to yourself and your kids.

But....

If you are married to a man who makes you feel small and less than, and if you feel completely lost in your marriage, trying to please someone who is impossible to please.....then read this post, and know that it doesn't have to be like that.  Know that showing your children who you really are is a gift to both of you.  Know that it is possible to wake up deeply joyful, every single day, because you've got what it takes.  It takes a ton of work, but man, I can't tell you how good it feels. 

Single and filled with possibility is a million times better than married and small.

2 comments:

  1. Agreed! So much better pleasing yourself than trying to please someone who cannot be pleased! Thankful you are doing well! Cheers! Brenda

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  2. I too like road trips.
    I love to travel on dirt roads using only the sun for direction.
    Your trip sounds fabulous. (is that envy speaking?)

    am thinking -if you can do it, I can too

    ReplyDelete