I know that my choices are not always right, and others may think that I made the wrong ones, but they didn't walk in my shoes at the time I had to make those choices.
When I came across this inspirational photo I was not thinking about choices in the way that I am thinking about them now.
I was thinking that I might like to go out to the grocery store today and just get out of the house.
I am actually re-thinking about my choice of staying in or going out, mainly because I woke up in a lot of pain and it was really bad and now that I am moving around I would still like to go out, but not sleeping well and the fact that if I get too tired, it will aggravate my pain so I don't know if I will just stay home or decide to go out.
But, as I came across this photo I began to think about my past choices. I would like to think that I made the right ones, but a part of me can think of a lot of instances that I know I did not make the right choice.
For 19 years I stayed in a terrible marriage because I thought that it was more important for my kids to have a roof over their head and two parents than my own happiness.
Now I know that was not the right decision as my kids have told me many times, "Mom we just needed you to be happy. Life after divorce was better for all of us."
Life after divorce was certainly a lot happier for me. I began to actually live and was learning to build my self-confidence which was nil.
The day that I left still comes vividly in my mind. I can see it all and have for many years. I had rented a storage building and was determined that I would split everything straight down the middle.
I was also making sure that the house was clean, spotless in fact. I was standing in front of the washing machine putting in a load of laundry when my husband came in for lunch. He was standing in the doorway, and he looked around and asked me if I had made him lunch.
Well no, I didn't expect him to come in, but there he was. I just shook my head. He sighed like it was the end of the world. He didn't even acknowledge the work I had done, how nice the house looked or anything. "What am I supposed to do for lunch?"
I remember sighing before I said "I don't know. You could have called me to tell me that you were coming in and to have something made for you, but as usual the thought of calling me never crossed your mind. There are plenty of leftovers in the fridge or you can make a sandwich or something." I was aggravated because he always did this and complained that it was never a hot meal waiting on him at the table.
He grew up in a age where he came home from school for lunch and his dad came in from the fields and his mom always had a hot meal waiting for them, but this was not the 50's or 60's or 70's. This was the year 2000.
If he had let me know that he was coming in for lunch, I would have made him a meal. But the lack of consideration was a major part of our marriage problems, that and communication. He could or would not communicate with me on anything.
I guess he could sense I was still upset from the night before. One of the kids had something going on at school and he should have wanted to be with us as a family, but nope. He was as uninvolved in his kids' lives as he was in our marriage. So, I went by myself and supported my child while he was home laying on the couch and just before we had left for the school, I had made a large bowl of Tuna Salad and we had that with chips and dips for dinner. It was still early autumn and hot. Besides we loved Tuna Salad.
It was easy as with 5 kids, they all had different schedules and didn't come home at the same time so they could eat when they got home and before we left. Jonathan was already in college in Phoenix Arizona and Karyn was probably either working at her after school job or doing something at the school, so Laurie Matthew and Nathan and I ate before we left. He was still laying on the couch pouting that we were leaving, and he only had a sandwich for his dinner!
Pardon my French, but he bitched and moaned about the Tuna Salad, and I had run out of patience. I don't remember the words, but I do remember that I was tired of the same damn thing day after day. In truth he barely worked the last two years and during that time I had 6 kids, and he was the neediest of them all. And even if I was just a stay-at-home mom, I worked hard myself. It took a lot of hours to keep a home going, kids fed, clean and clean clothes and yes, a messy house but not a dirty house.
I worked every bit as hard as he did even if he didn't see it that way. Many nights I would be outside at midnight hanging the laundry on the line, sweeping and mopping, folding laundry cleaning the bathroom while everyone was sleeping but me and then be up at the crack of dawn to get everyone ready for their day. Barely having time to pour myself a cup of coffee, let alone drink a cup of coffee!
So, I was really irritated and tired of his Woe is me, poor pitiful me, nobody cares about me attitude. And especially his acting skills got on my nerves. He would pretend he didn't know how to do something in order to get someone else to do it for him. He could barely make himself a sandwich. And never put the food back into the fridge. It was all part of the poor me crap. I was so tired of it all. I swear I really was.
I remember thinking "How Long Are You Going To Live Like This?" I rented the storage building the next morning after taking the kids to school. Sometime after the school event and taking the kids to school, I had already made up my mind.
Standing in front of the washing machine he continued to moan about needing something to eat, expecting me as always just to drop what I was doing and cater to him. I didn't. He finally grabbed something from the fridge and asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner and I remember saying "I'm not going to be here."
He asked where I was going, and I just looked at him and calmly said I was leaving. I will never forget the look on his face. It wasn't the first time I had said it, he just didn't realize it was the last time I would say it to him because I meant it.
I had a busy morning; I had already had a place to live. Check. I had followed up on a job. Check. I had called the school to get the kids records and started the ball to have them checked out of school. Check.
He just stood there looking at me and I went back to what I was doing, and I looked over my shoulder and he had this sad look on his face, picked up his cap from the counter and walked out the door.
We were gone when he came home that night.
Looking back, I know that I made the right choice in leaving. I might could have planned it better than I did but I had reached a point that I knew I had to do something different in my life and in the life of my kids. And I had a promise to keep. I will tell that story next; I believe.
The sad thing is that he has burned his bridges with his kids. Only 1 out of 5 talks to him when he calls. 1 out of 5! But he did it to himself. He didn't want to be a part of their lives when they were growing up so he really can't expect to be a part of their lives now. They grew up and moved on.
I feel bad for him in a lot of ways, but lately it is just a feeling of sadness. He has 6 wonderful grandkids and doesn't have any kind of relationship with them either. He had chances after chances to be a great dad and grandparent but his choice was not to be involved and so he isn't.
So, as I write this I am thinking of choices. Some are right, some are wrong, and some are still hanging out there to be decided, but I guess that Learning from our choices, right or wrong, is the most important part of the choices we have made or will make.
Be safe everyone and take care! BB
That is quite a story. I think we all do the best we can with the information and options available at any given time, and it's not for anyone to second-guess you. At least your kids support your decision.ReplyDelete
Thank You Steve, and sometimes in the middle of the night, I had all the self doubts I suppose anyone would have, especially when my self confidence was so low, but learning that I was stronger than I ever believed was a great feeling, a part of healing but I do think that journey was one of the most important parts of saying to myself "Yes You Can Do This" and actually being able to do it.Delete
My kids did support me in ways that was balm to my soul. Every time they said "Mom I am proud of you and what you did for us:" I would reply how proud of them I was and still am and how much they did for me in return.