Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We’re Skipping the Anniversary This Year

After almost 13 years of marriage, Thomas and I have decided to go our almost separate ways (we have kids, people--tied for life). We officially separated in early January and expect that everything will be final in mid-August, less than one month after what would have been our 13th wedding anniversary.

We’re trying to stay amicable throughout the process, but there’s a good reason why divorce is of the five most stressful life events. I think that selling a house should also be on the list, so we decided to get that one out of the way at the same time. And, as Thomas says, after 14 years you get pretty good at pushing each other’s buttons. In fact, those buttons can get pretty worn with use.

The girls are taking it better than expected. Well, Hannah is. Charlotte, not so much. Her temper tantrums increased for a while, and she asks, almost daily, if Mommy and Daddy are both going to be home for dinner. The pediatrician says this will get better as she adjusts. She is only five, after all, and the apraxia also limits her ability to communicate her displeasure.

Hannah, on the other hand, was initially excited at the prospect of finally getting her own bedroom. She assumed that one of them would live with me for a while, the other with Thomas, and then they’d switch. Um, no. Sorry. Then when she saw a book on divorce she asked, “What if every page said, 'Don’t do it?'” That called for a very long hug.

And then she began to imagine other, more interesting possibilities.

The next day, when I asked if she wanted to talk about it some more, she thought about it for a bit and then asked if I was going to get married again. I assured her that I wasn’t thinking of that right now. In fact, I wasn’t even thinking of dating right now. Then she asked, “Is Daddy going to get married again?

I said that I didn’t think he was thinking of that right now, either. Next up was “But you both might get married again?” Me: “Yes, I suppose so.

Hannah came back with, “So that would mean two weddings.” Small pause. “So I’d get to be a bridesmaid twice?!

A short time after that, she sighed and said, “Well, I guess it’s almost dating season.” I laughed so hard that I choked on my coffee (we were at Philz, natch). (Later, Thomas and I wondered just how many you were allowed to bag in a dating season.) But she wasn’t done. Less that five minutes later, with an incredibly sly look for one so young, she offered, “Well, when you’re ready to date, I know a couple of boys you can get down with.” I had to leave the building. After regaining my composure, I asked what, exactly, she meant by “get down with.”

You know—get some lovin.” I startled quite a few people with a shout of laughter. And then I said that I hoped she was talking about one of her teachers, though all are happily married and of no dating interest to me, and not one of her classmates. That’s taking Mrs. Robinson a bit too far. A lot too far. And she’s SEVEN. She is not supposed to know these things yet, right? Right?

This is a life change that, of course, neither of us had really expected or planned for. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do—after all, Thomas was such a good friend for so many years—but I know that, in the end, both of us will be happier for it. We are committed to making sure that Hannah and Charlotte always know how much they are loved and that they will always come first. I hope that he and I are able to become better friends and learn, one day, to stop pushing those damn buttons.

Oh, and, Thomas gets custody of the dog.


Unknown said...

So sorry to hear this Melanie. Drop me a note when you get a chance. I changed jobs and left behind a bunch of email addresses, including yours. Hang in there.

Melanie K said...

Jeff--I am quite embarrassed to say that I'm not sure WHICH Jeff you are. Your blogger profile isn't public, so um . . . help? :)

James said...

wow, I teared up from sadness and then again from laughter. Keep writing, it will help (and its fun to read). I inferred something like this was up from your Facebook posts, but it is still hard to imagine. I went through divorce from Marcy in 2006/2007 and even without kids (which is clearly adding to the pain and the laughter for you) it truly is excruciating. But it does get better. I hope you have a great network of friends to lean on and talk to through it all -- and though we haven't spoken in forever I'd be happy to be a sounding board anytime. It will get better, I promise :)