The Tide

It’s Saturday morning and I’m sitting in bed listening to the rain. The softest light filters through the blinds and my son is speaking quietly to his daddy in the other room.

In three hours, we will tell our children that we are splitting up and sharing custody of them. I didn’t think my heart could take anymore, but it has to withstand this next step. This heart of mine needs to shift focus to deal with this. My grief is nothing in the face of the loss my babies will feel.

How do you tell your children that grown up love is subject to failure?

My five and a half year old son has been courting this blond haired, blue eyed pixie of a girl who he’s known since daycare. A week or so ago, he asked me to buy a bouquet of flowers for her, which he presented on the busy morning playground at school. He heaves great, swooning sighs when he mentions her name, and there was even a marriage proposal (from her, so progressive). Last night, he told me that Elise has decided she wants to marry Joe instead.

We commiserated on how painful it is when someone you are in love with rejects you. I told him that this kind of sadness is the risk we take to feel the wonderful feelings that come from being in love. I promised him that someday he’d find someone to marry; someone who was just right for him, and who could love him for the amazing person that he is. As I said this, I willed it to be my own truth too.

It won’t be difficult to transfer this deep ocean of love to my children. If it’s no longer required in my romantic partnership, I know three incredible people who will thrive in these waters. This love for my children will keep me afloat.

We are keeping the house, and the kids will live here while the adults come and go to share time with them. I will get half the time, and Nekky and Sarah will share the other half of the time. The two of them parted as friends back in November.

I must not think of how the change in these adult relationships might shift the kids’ perception of me in a negative way. I must not imagine the difference they will feel as they move back and forth between life with two parents to life with just me. One full, happy home with a mom and a dad, to time with a single mom who wasn’t prepared for that reality. A single mom who isn’t the ‘chill’ parent. In the case of my teen and tween daughters, a single mom who isn’t even their mom in the eyes of the law.

If I lose my children in this, I will truly be lost. They are the greatest good of these last nine years of my life. The purest light in the darkest moments of fear and confusion.

Maybe some happiness will emerge through this shift. Perhaps the person who my dearest friends know and love (warm, loving, creative, calm) will take over now that the complexities of my adult relationships have changed. This could be my chance to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be.

But what if it isn’t?

Unraveling

crocus raindrops

This post has been in the works for six months.

Six long, painful months where I’ve watched my life unravel. A thread was pulled too hard, and it all came apart. No amount of skill could repair the damage.

I am alone. In love, anyway. I’m now facing the world as a single mother to three kids. Three kids who now have to move through life without the benefit of their family under one roof. We spoke to them on Saturday morning. My youngest was completely accepting, my middle girl very emotional and her older sister quietly resigned. They all asked incredible questions.

I have an army of support, and I haven’t been shy about rallying the troops. There are so many people who care for me, and without them, and the light they have shone into the darkest corners of my life, I don’t know where I would be right now. I’m not afraid to lean on them, and I will continue to reach out and draw strength from the people who know me and see me.

This is not a choice I ever wanted to make, and yet it became the only choice I could make. Anger continues to swirl through me, a noxious cloud of ‘why’ and ‘should’ and ‘how’, but I hold it gently and tell it to propel me forward rather than drag me through the past or shove me too far into a future that I cannot see.

One breath at a time.

I haven’t lost everything, but when my heart fills with the moments I have lost, it feels like part of my soul has been stripped away. Fifty percent of my time with my children. A partner I thought I would grow old and gray with. A co-parent I thought was a close friend. Had I closed my eyes to the truth that was right there before me? Should I have known better? Was I asking for this in trying to do something that few people before us have done? Is there any point to answering any of these questions now?

I am living in two places; our home where the children stay 100% of the time, and my parents home in Hamilton where I stay when it isn’t my turn on the custody calendar. This post will go live hours before I taste this new reality. This post will go live only because we’ve shared this news with our beautiful babies. I stopped praying a long time ago, but I whisper to the universe, begging that this won’t forever dim the light of those three radiant souls.

Nothing has ever hurt like this. Losing love and my sense of family is like dealing with death. I thought I’d become an expert in grieving. A pro at heartbreak. Nothing could have prepared me for this.

How do I wake up and get out of bed? I have to. I have to be a mother. I have to be an entrepreneur. I have to arrive each day and learn how I will reinvent myself. I have to understand who I am as I move through this world without my love. I moved mountains for that love. Now I have to move those mountains to survive.

This grief feels like I am fighting to breathe. Like my life is a nightmare I can’t wake up from. Like my worst fears in this relationship have been realized.

And sometimes it feels like a glimmer of possibility.

There has never been a shadow in my life so dark that I haven’t seen the light. These last six months have brought me close to yielding to darkness, but with the return of spring, I feel like I can find a balance again. Between sorrow and hope. Between loss and discovery.

I’m not okay, but I think at some distant point on this path, I will be again.

Sibling Bonds, Spidey Senses and Mortality

kyleandnoah

I have a younger brother who is a 6’7 local celebrity in Hamilton both for his larger-than-life personality, and for his leonine honour. Like me, he’s a leo, and like me he thinks he’s fabulous. I hope his fans agree.

We haven’t always gotten along. As children, we became bitter rivals when we were pitted against each other by our Nanna, my third parent who lived with us. Things got ugly, as they do with siblings, and I regret not being a more supportive and loving sister during those formative years. As I recall, I was a heinous bitch. There may even have been a near-stabbing, but I digress.

My brother and I are very good friends now. In this not-so-subtle open letter, I will tell him I want to see him more often, and I will tell him I’d like him to see my kids more often. He’s usually one of the first people I consult about new business, new ideas, and personal dilemmas.  I think I can say with confidence that he does the same with me.

Up until a week ago, my brother was ensconced in a five-year mostly on-again relationship with a woman who we were quite smitten with. I was waiting for a big announcement of one kind or another after they recently shacked up. At the time of this blog post, after my senses began to tingle (thanks to good ‘ole Facebook) and after my brother got curious, he is now a single man again.

We (the fam) were collectively surprised, saddened, and not surprised at all. Relationships, and people I guess, are funny that way. I promised Kyle I wouldn’t blog about this, but here I am. Gotta say my piece, and in a public forum no less. Please be advised, this piece is from my heart, with lots of love to ALL parties involved.

My brother isn’t perfect, and having lived with him myself, I know he’s not always easy. My own truly unique and often complicated domestic situation (see here for details, and yes that’s my boob) puts me in a position where I’m the last person on earth to judge anyone else’s romantic landscape. I felt real love for my brother’s now-ex, and I guess even now I can say that love is a battlefield, so if they ever wanted a clean slate, I’d try to clear my own slate dedicated to their relationship – if anyone gives a shit about what I think.

I just wish that people would leave the lying and hurting to the assholes that make news headlines. Evil bastards who completely fucking ruin my Monday morning, like these ones. The universe has enough cruelty in it, by its very fickle nature, and we don’t need to add to the dung heap by behaving badly.

I’ve done stupid shit to really hurt people who I truly love (Sarah, I’m looking at you here.) In cowardice and fear, when I couldn’t see a way to make all of the pieces fit together, I tried to tear apart my family with my pettiness and self-loathing. Thank fucking god for whichever forces aligned to prevent that from happening, because I went on to birth my son, and my eyes were opened.

Not everyone will get the chance to let an infant soul teach them about the true meaning of love, so we gotta pull up our socks sometimes and take the higher road, even if it’s scary. I should have walked away, admitting that I had no clue how to love my partners well, rather than act like a selfish cow. I should have headed straight to the therapists’ couch when shit got really complicated and faced whichever path presented itself with clarity and honesty.

We were lucky that we kept our family intact. We still carry the wounds of our selfishness, our fear, our lack of clarity, and our inability to speak our truths, but I think I can speak for all three of us when I say we are committed to working to heal those wounds each day, with each beautiful clean slate we get as we wake.

Love each other people, even if you can’t be in love anymore. Share your truth, your fear, your hurt. Make your mistakes meaningful. Learn from them, grow from them together or apart.

Our tiny light could be snuffed at any second. That is the only thing you can really count on. I’m thinking you’re gonna want to make sure your light is shining, and when it’s dim, it’s yours to re-kindle in whichever way you see fit.

More on the random cruelty of the universe, and a call to action for you my dear friends, in tomorrow’s post.