Remember How It Feels

Stigma is a word we don’t talk about much these days when it comes to divorce. It’s completely glossed over on TV or movies. Divorced women are always portrayed by a middle aged lady who was the perfect wife crying in a bathrobe over her husband who left her for his secretary but then wins a five star vacation on a radio contest and transforms into an empowered, red lipstick-clad world traveler. OR it’s an empowered, red lipstick-clad business woman who was the perfect wife but her husband never appreciated her dedication to her career and also he cheated on her with his secretary because he’s intimidated by her wild success and she reclaims herself with a five star vacation.

But hear me out…

Some of us are regular moms. We don’t get to embark on three month long jungle trips to find ourselves. We are struggling to find socks before school in the morning (don’t even think about asking for matching) and we are making pasta for dinner (again) before soccer practice. And we don’t all have sassy gay friends to give us makeovers. And we don’t have a crew of girlfriends to take us out dancing every weekend and do yoga in the park. Because our crew of girlfriends are still regular moms too and sitters are hard to come by.

I CHIME IN with a haven’t you people ever heard of…a normal suburban divorced lady with two kids just doing her goddamned best? (Did you sing it?)

Even my ex-husband, who regularly disagrees with me on many things (because arguing is forever, kids) made a very poignant comment recognizing that there were a lot of speed bumps I had to deal with in the wake of our divorce that he, as a man, did not encounter. Props to you Glen Coco. You go, Glen Coco.

For example, if you’re not dating, you’re constantly encouraged to get on a dating app (I didn’t.) If you are dating, you’re questioned about whether it’s going too fast.

Other moms that you thought were your friends “report” back to your ex-husband when you’re in the late line for school pick up, which is a lot because guess what, you have to work now. (Also, joke’s on you because I was frequently in the late line when I was still married, thank you very much.)

Some people just stop talking to you all together. And to them I politely say, don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. (I believe that is Psalms.)

Perhaps my favorite anecdote of all happened a couple of weeks ago when I was at a Women’s dinner at my church. A mom friend of mine gave me a big hug and said to me in front of a group of people, “Hey! I’ve been following your Instagram and you seem happy, but are you really?”

Excuse me, Brenda?

Is my non-shared life just cocktail party fodder now because I’m single? Do I ask you if you and your husband are as happy as you seem on Instagram? Honestly. The audacity. “Hey, I saw that you guys went to Disney, but between you, me, and these other dressed up ladies sipping white wine at this church dinner, how is Bud’s porn addiction, did you guys get a handle on that yet?”

My point is this…whether you’ve been through the process of coming out of hibernation after a divorce and all the social awkwardness that comes with it or not, remember¬† how it feels when you’re vulnerable. Remember how it feels when you’re fragile. Remember how it feels when someone has embarrassed you and you have no idea what to say. Remember how it feels to have something in your life implode publicly. Remember how it feels when people you thought were your best friends don’t call you for months. Remember how it feels to be humbled, to look back and realize you weren’t perfect and you’re not a victim and you’re just a normal person like everyone else.

And use those memories to recognize and help other people get through those times.

And no matter what -if you possibly can -take a five star vacation. And post all that ish up on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actual Things: Unmarried Dot Com

Dear friends,

I’ve had a cold so long I can barely remember what it’s like to not have a cold. As I was lying in bed last night still hacking after a second dose of Nyquil and some good old fashioned night soup*, I started to get really fed up. (*Night soup is that thing where you are so desperate to stop coughing you get up at 1am, make soup to eat in bed, spill some of it on yourself and then pray you don’t die of an accidental cold med overdose leaving your children to find your puffy-faced body in a bed full of used tissues in the morning.) I decided to refocus on tranquility by saying all my thank you prayers. Since I’ve been Catholic most of my life I have a habit of ending my prayers with the sign of the cross, only last night instead of the traditional “Amen” I realized I accidentally ended my prayer with, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit, Dot Com.”

So there I was, wheeze-laughing in the dark in m’soup-stained tank top…

This brings me to my second actual thing. I overslept. Which means my kids overslept. Which means we had approximately 9 minutes for a 12 minute drive. By some miracle of traffic patterns, we coasted up to the door with about 15 seconds to spare as I tossed backpacks into the backseat like they were life jackets on a sinking ship. As I watched my sweet blonde cherubs head for the front door I rolled down the window and started shouting things like, “LET’S MOVE! LOOK ALIVE! I WANNA SEE KNEES TO CHEST!” It really put a pep in their step and I’m thinking that maybe I should start wearing a coach whistle to drop off.

It’s a good thing I’m such a natural motivator because kids can be so inconsiderate, am I right? Like, I didn’t leave the house bra-less in a soup-stained tank top and accelerate through four yellow lights for you to mosey in 20 seconds after the bell and make me look like a bad mom.

Thirdly, and this is a biggie: I got unmarried a while ago. For months now I’ve mulled over when and how to share this information publicly, but the more I thought about it, the more all of your comments over the past years came flooding back and reminded me that I should just keep it real. It wasn’t in the plan for the original fairy tale ending, but I still got a lot of fairy tale moments over the years that can never be undone.

So I’m back to writing. As a single mom, I assure you I have a backlog of material to share with you. If you’re reading this, please know that I appreciate you. I hope you’ll forgive my absence and come back with all of your hilarious feedback I treasure so much.

And those are the actual things.

Love, Emily

 

Alternate Titles:

Working On My Night Soup

Accelerating Through Yellow Lights: A Philosophy For Life

Unmarried With Children

Fairy Tale Middles

I want to sneak in a HUGE thank you shout out to the many, many supportive women friends who have been true bright spots through this cloudy, unpredictable season of my life. Here are a few of them:

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Of Pie and Bravery

Thankful For Pie

I remember my first crush in Kindergarten. I also remember the first and last names of each boy I had crush on in subsequent grades up until middle school when I had THE BIG crush on one boy for like four years. He was the Winnie Cooper of my Wonder Years. I’ve had countless crushes in my life, most of whom never even knew. I suppose that is the gift of the combination of a big imagination and intermittent shots of anxiety to keep you practical.

I know some parents balk at the idea of little grade schoolers having crushes, raising eyebrows and saying how they are way too young for that, etc. But to these parents I ask, do you show your kids Disney movies? Continue reading

Holding It Together: Getting Your Head Straight Without A Head Injury (Preferably)

Yesterday I had six staples removed from the back of my head. (I am going to spare you the gross “before” pictures but let me just say, getting them pried out was no picnic either.)

About a week and a half ago, I was scooting a chair out when I fell backwards onto my neighbors’ stone tile floor. Continue reading

How many years are there?

The other morning my newly-turned-five-year-old and I were sitting on the couch watching cartoons and eating Doritos while the other half of our family went on a bike ride.

Savvy was singing the Days of the Week song, which is where you just start with Sunday and sing the days of the week to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine. Try it, it’s catchy.

Savvy: “I know how many days there are. Seven.” Continue reading

Don’t Leave A Message

This is going to be a short post. The reason I say so is less to set your expectations, and more as a note to myself because I have a lot to do.*

(*Post-post edit: Narrator’s voice: It was not going to be short.)

I went for a bike ride the other morning and as I was careening down a hill covered by a canopy of trees, listening to Dashboard Confessional (Hands Down) I had this really intense euphoria of the universe telling me, “You have literally no idea what is going to happen to you! Isn’t that so exciting???” And I instinctively didn’t trust my own thoughts, because usually the future is a mental montage of my own poorly-reenacted life story that begins with a narrator sternly saying, “She always carried an uneasy suspicion she would someday be murdered, but she never imagined it would be by someone so close to her…” Continue reading