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Still here

May 31, 2011

Why does every book in the world talk so much about FOOD? I swear, it’s a conspiracy, the same way every song, movie and book suddenly became about betrayal and breakup right when my ex-husband and I split. Here I am reading a detective novel and they’re constantly eating stale crumpets, grimly, and bags of crisps (it’s Kate Atkinson, Started Early, Took My Dog) and I keep losing the plot because all I can think is, Yum, stale crumpets. I am starving.

The au pair is back from France and was properly, if belatedly, concerned about my health and recovery. I suppose one nice thing about having been married to someone for half your life is this: having seen me in sickness and health (and childbearing and so on), he knows that I am generally stoic. So if I say I feel bad, he takes it seriously. He has volunteered to take the kids tonight, and though I’m tempted to stay on my high horse (who does he think he is, showing up and offering to help? I don’t need his stinking help, I can do EVERYTHING all by myself) I don’t have the energy. Or the desire. It’s harder to accept help than it is to give it, I think. It’s hard for me to show any weakness at all, especially to him, but that’s just absurd. I made it through ten days w/ the kids, I can settle down a little bit. I don’t have to be perfect.

I don’t even have to be better than he is. He can be a good guy, a good parent, too.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Libby permalink
    May 31, 2011 4:37 pm

    ’tis true, you don’t have to be better than he is, at least all the time. So take the help and rest up, please. There’s my assvice for today.

    Also, I just finished that book! I adore Kate Atkinson, and I loved this one. Her little witty asides of what people are thinking are just brilliant. Confession: I want to hook up with Jackson Brodie, as well. :o)

  2. May 31, 2011 7:46 pm

    You poor dear. I’m reading Until I Find You by John Irving and there’s not much food in it. Lots of odd sex, but not much food. And isn’t it strange, how there are some people from whom it’s harder to accept help than others? But I’m glad the kiddos are with him and now you can rest and rest and rest.

  3. May 31, 2011 10:14 pm

    i don’t have anything to add. just i hope you feel better soon. i love a good whodunit, so now i’ve got to get this book! thanks!

  4. Living Down Under permalink
    June 1, 2011 9:30 am

    Sorry to hear your recovery isn’t as quick as you’d have liked. My partner recently had “minor” surgery over the easter weekend. He kept saying it was minor and that he’d be up and about in no time. Turns out, he too was optimistic. But he’s better now and you soon will too!

    This post made me sad for your ex. The au pair. I suppose it’s because i saw my own father (and mother) in the post. He who can do no right. And she who knows when she is small and petty and begrudgingly is gracious. Don’t get me wrong, i totally understand your feelings and can even empathize. I sometimes feel that way and I’m happily married.

    Let me explain what I’m getting to. My parents married but were never in love. My mother knew it wasn’t right for her but she did it anyway (she was heading towards her late twenties and there was cultural pressure). He didn’t have a clue. A sad situation all around, but it is what it is. My question is, (and maybe you can shed some light on it or maybe not), how is it that you can love someone, marry them knowing they’re your best friend. And still end up where you’re at? I saw your list and went through it out of curiousity, and most didn’t apply to me. But it raised the question. It’s the same question I have about a close friend of mine (who’s much older than i am and divorced) but I don’t have the guts to ask her 🙂

    BTW, if you’re wondering why I read your blog, it’s because i stumbled across it on Babble and loved your writing and your voice. Plus i have a morbid interest in depressing subjects, including divorce and death. I’d have to consult a therapist to explain that one!

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      June 1, 2011 12:05 pm

      The (probably unsatisfying) answer to your question is simply this: people do change. Friendships change. Love affairs change. I loved my boyfriend when I was sixteen with every single cell in my body, and eventually we broke up. I have had best friends whom I could not imagine life without, and we’ve drifted apart. I have been close to relatives, then not so close, then close again. When I married my husband I was thrilled. For most of the time we were married (most vividly when the children were small) I was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I loved my husband unconditionally. I never thought we’d get divorced. I still have a hard time believing that we did, sometimes.

      How do you go from not noticing some guy you hang around with for a few years to suddenly realizing you’re madly in love? How do you go from confiding everything in a best friend to suddenly realizing you don’t really care for that person so much any more?

      It was wonderful for a long time. Many years. And then there were changes–both sudden and gradual. Something happens and you react one way and your spouse reacts another. Each of your reactions is mutually incomprehensible. You grow older, the children grow older, your priorities change. You realize you want to change your life, your career, you realize you DO want to travel after all, or maybe that you DO want to settle down, and your spouse is bewildered by your change of heart. None of the above is precisely what happened to me, but these are just some examples. There are as many reasons to fall out of love as there are to fall in love. And both processes–falling into, falling out of–defy explanation and logic.

      So if you ever ask your divorced friend why her marriage ended, you’ll get a different answer than if you ask me. Hell, if you ask my ex-husband why our marriage ended you’ll get different answers than if you ask me–and we were in the SAME MARRIAGE!

      I don’t mean to say it’s a pointless question–quite the opposite. It is, in fact, a question I ask myself almost every single day. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll keep wondering why we split up until the day I die.

      (Divorce is not always depressing, however. It is hard and painful and sad, sure. But it’s not ALL hard and painful and sad. See my posts on Babble about how my parents’ divorce made my childhood better if you haven’t already….)

      • June 2, 2011 10:48 pm

        I just wanted to chime in and say how much I admire your thoughtful and well written responses to your readers. It’s unusual and much appreciated.

      • Living Down Under permalink
        June 12, 2011 5:48 am

        I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write back but i wanted to thank you for your candid response – it’s really nice that you take the time to respond to us, your readers.

        With respect to your answer, I guess I never got how people grow apart (I don’t think i ever thought it through but then we don’t make “lifetime” commitments to friends do we!). I did read about your family and think it’s beautiful the way they made it work. And gorgeous that you felt both wanted and loved in both homes. You are truly lucky. I agree that divorce is sometimes better than the status quo. Thanks again for being so open about yourself.

  5. June 1, 2011 10:08 am

    Poor throat. A speedy recovery to you.

    You can accept help knowing that in your turn you’ll give it. And so turneth the world.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      June 1, 2011 12:10 pm

      Thank you, my mystical Irish friend. You’re right. And today I woke thinking how nice it was that he was back, actually, because pawning the children off on friends is not the same thing (for them) as having them be with their father–whom they missed, whom they were happy to see, who loves them. My younger son especially missed his dad a lot, and is ecstatic that he’s home. And I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing I can just say “Oh, can you take them to baseball on Saturday?” if I need to. Which I do. And which is no big deal. It’s what ex-spouses do for each other and for their kids.


  6. June 1, 2011 11:18 am

    Sensible decision! Kick back and relax – you need some non-parent time when you are recovering. Hope you enjoy it!

    Ali x

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      June 1, 2011 12:40 pm

      How’s the gall bladder treating you?

  7. June 5, 2011 8:08 pm

    The nerve of some people, writing and talking about food all the time. Can I suggest a Vicodin smoothie? I’d mail you one, but I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.

  8. June 17, 2011 8:49 am

    I hope youre ok???

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