My marriage didn’t fit me and neither did my wedding rings . . . except when I was pregnant. When I was pregnant my wedding rings fit perfectly on my ring finger. Most ladies I know have to wear their wedding bands on a necklace when they are pregnant because their rings don’t fit. Not me. The only thing that fit about my marriage was the child we brought into the world together.
Flashback Mothers Day 2012:
I had just woken up to tend to Jacob, it was early and the light had just begun to shine brightly in our house. I stumbled into this room, still half asleep and exhausted from the previous night. My Husband and I had been up fighting until 3 am, nothing was resolved between us despite the countless hours we spent talking in circles.
I picked up Jacob and snuggled him close to me, touching his golden curls and kissing his sweet face. I tried to get him to giggle as I tickle his toes. In the midst of the chaos of my life with my husband, this is where I found my joy, in moments with my son. I loved watching him grow and learn. It gave me joy to attend to his needs. Being a mom was the fulfillment of a life dream and I loved it.
This Mother's Day, Jacob was 18 months old, it was my second official Mother's Day. Although I didn't expect much of anything on this day of celebration. I knew my husband wasn't much for holidays. He usually forgot them, even Christmas. I'd have to purchase things for myself so I'd have something to open under the tree. I did that mostly so that his older child, Rebecca wouldn't feel bad that I didn't have any gifts. I wanted to show her that everyone mattered. I was willing to keep up the illusion of a giving relationship, to try to maintain her innocence.
It didn't matter how much how I loved to celebrate, my husband didn't find it important, so he made no effort. Even my birthday was hard for my husband to remember even though I was born on the same day as his ex-wife.
Holidays were just days on the calendar to him, just another day. It was like the way he described our union, to him, a marriage was "just a piece of paper filed in a courthouse". I think of marriage as sacred partnership, but there was no sense in changing his mind. It didn't matter how differently I believed, I just tried my best to work around it.
I had decided that I wanted one thing this Mother's Day. No matter how depressed I was, dipping in and out of hopelessness for our future, I knew I deserved this one thing this special morning. I simply wanted my husband to say to me "Happy Mother's Day". I knew I deserved that much. I was a good mom, attentive, loving and totally dedicated to my son.
I had given up my career to stay at home with our child, opting for a part-time job that brought in just enough money for us to pay our bills, well most of our bills. I had credit card debt stacked to the tune of $60,000, in my name only, even though the purchases were for both of us.
This was old debt, a sum we accumulated together from before we were married. In 2002 we lost our jobs at the same time, when we walked into closed doors at the company where we met. This was only a year and a half after we had met. Shortly after that his son, Riley was diagnosed with cancer. We moved in with my parents to save money, my future husband dealt with depression and ups and downs with layoffs and downsizing as he tried to establish a life in a new city.
We mounted monumental debt during those years, living as through we were both still employed. Trying to purchase relief from lifes circumstances. A moment of joy in a dinner or a hopeful tool purchase that never turned into a business plan. "I can make furniture and sell it online" he told me, before we bought the table saw. "It's an investment." We took the tool home and he never sold a thing.
I hadn't yet made more than $55,000 a year, so the debt I had accumulated was more than an entire years pay. We hadn't paid those credit card bills in about a year. We simply couldn't afford it.I knew bankruptcy was a real possibility for us, but my husband wasn't ready to face our financial situation. We would just fight about money. More circles. No progress.
Just then, my husband awoke and came to our little one's bedroom, where I was holding our son. I could tell by the way his feet hit the floor in the hallway, the moment he breached the threshold he started in on me with the same complaints ha had been voicing at 3 am the previous night. Its as though no time had passed.
Suddenly I felt it, a quiet knowing steady and true. Inside, without making a fuss and without mercurial emotional upheaval, it was just a calm knowing.
I uttered the words, "I'm Done."
"What?" my husband replied.
"I'm Done." I repeated.
"What do you mean by that?" he asked.
"I don't know." I said honestly.
I didn't really know what I meant by "I'm done." I just said the words that seemed right to me. I questioned myself thinking, Do I mean divorce? I didn't want to say that. I didn't want to admit that. I wasn't ready to say divorce.
My husband kept questioning me, for a few hours, he kept asking what I meant. He was incessant. I felt done, completely done and all I could tel him was that I was done fighting. He said he needed to know what I meant by that. I wasn't sure. This wasn't planned. I wasn't sure what was happening. I only felt that the words "I'm done" felt accurate.
He kept on pushing me for clarity I could not provide. After what seemed like hours of interrogation, as I was making breakfast he asked directly, "Do you mean divorce? I just need to know."
I knew the questioning would continue until I gave him clarity, so I said it right there, in front of him and my fried egg, "Yes, I want a divorce."
I wasn't even sure I believed my own words. I honestly didn't "want" a divorce. I never "wanted" a divorce. I wanted a healthy marriage. I wanted to love and to be loved, just as I am. I wanted to feel safe with my partner. I wanted to know joy and I wanted inner peace.
What I realized was that if I wanted any or all of those things, then I knew I could not stay in this relationship any longer.
I knew the things he was asking for in our relationship I could not give, and what I needed he was not able to provide. It wasn't a struggle anymore, it was just a matter of looking at the facts. We did not fit together.
I wanted to know joy and the only way to move was towards joy meant I had to divorce my husband. There was no other way around it, divorce would be a byproduct of my heart's desire for joy.
I calmly left the house later that day. It wasn't as dramatic as I had imagined. He let us go without a fight. I simply packed up some clothes and few toys for my son and I and moved into my mom's house nearby. Mother's Day is the day I liberated myself, jumping into a new world of possibilities for my future. He never said "Happy Mother's Day", not for 6 years.