“Hey,” Dave asked me on Thursday of last week, “I want to take the kids to the pumpkin patch on Sunday.” Our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch was always something I’d looked forward to, but I’d assumed that he meant he wanted to take the kids with someone else. Fair play, I shrugged, and agreed. Can’t have it all ways, right?

When Saturday turned out to be a bust – the kids were happily ensconced on my couch playing with their new capes and jumping around like a couple of monkeys, Dave suggested Sunday as the day we’d go to the pumpkin patch. Still certain he didn’t mean, “how ’bout we BOTH take them to the pumpkin patch,” I agreed. The kids were going back to his house; what he chose to do with them and with whom wasn’t something I really had any say in – and frankly, it wasn’t exactly something I was upset about. Next year, I comforted myself, I’d be able to take them to the pumpkin patch.

“Well,” I said, “why don’t you come over and have breakfast with us before you go? The kids made cinnamon rolls and will be happy to see you.”

“Oh,” he said, confused. “I thought we were going to the pumpkin patch…”

“Wait,” I said. “You want ME to go, too? Okay!” I happily agreed. I love the pumpkin patch NEARLY as much as I love the color blue and finding eclectic artwork.

We decided, after noshing on cinnamon rolls, that we’d simply pick up some pumpkins at the store and go over to The House Formerly Known As Mine to decorate them. Thoughtfully, Dave asked if that was okay with me. Considering I’d had my garage door opener – my one way into the house to collect my things – taken away, I was thrilled to go over there, decorate pumpkins and collect the things that were mine. I hadn’t taken much of the stuff from the house when I moved – the plan had been to keep The House Formerly Known As Mine “Switzerland,” so I figured leaving some furniture behind was okay.

We pulled up to The House Formerly Known as Mine and I noted the peonies, which I’d carefully planted many years ago, were preparing for winter, shedding leaves and turning an unsightly shade of green. I blinked the tears from my eyes before anyone could notice, wondering if anyone would be taking care of them as I once had – with unabashed joy.

As the kids got settled inside with their pumpkins, I began the arduous process of dissecting the pile of things that had been left in the garage – presumably my own stuffs – and moving the items I needed into the back of the van so that I could transport them to my own home. It only took a few minutes, but I wasn’t quite ready to enter the home that had once been mine – my forever home. It’s been extraordinarily difficult to see the places I once haunted; to realize that it is, in fact, all over now.

Without making eye contact, I grabbed a cup of coffee and went back into the garage, only this time, it was to sit and let the tears flow without fear of repercussion. I sat myself on the cooler we’d once bought together for this or that and stared around the garage, the sun shining merrily, my neighbors all working in their yards or on their cars in the same way they’d always done. While I’m not narcissistic to assume that life will not go on without me, it did dawn on me that it had and that inexplicably hurt.

I looked around the garage, which seemed a glaring reminder of what had come before.

There’s that rake up there, the one that’s made to look like a bumblebee that we bought for the kids to “help” in the yard after the trees had dumped their leaves. It had to be five or six years old, but there it was – still intact and still working.

And over there, the matching pink and red Red Ryder Big Wheels I’d bought on two separate Black Friday’s off Amazon: one for Alex and one for Mimi. I smiled, recalling how happy I’d been to find such a good deal on them; how much I’d loved riding my own and how I just knew that someday, these would be treasured toys.

Right there, in front of me was the adorable Power Wheels I’d bought Alex that March, well before I knew that I’d soon be moving.

To my left were a couple of buckets leftover from Easter. I’d moved them outside so that the kids could “garden” (read: dig holes in the dirt) with me, a favorite activity for the four of us. I wondered briefly if we’d be able to do that again someday; how joyful it would make me if we could.

On that shelf, the one we’d bought when we first moved in, I saw all of the sprays I’d bought to save my roses from the dreaded black spot, carefully applying it every other week so that their blooms would smell of heaven and their leaves wouldn’t turn an unsightly shade of yellow. I remembered how many hours I’d spent in that rose garden, lovingly tending to the plants, releasing my stress and watching something beautiful come from a small, innocuous plant.

And there, hanging up, the Baby swing that had fit both Alex and Amelia at one time or another, allowing them to swing alongside their older siblings until they both grew out of it. I remember carefully choosing a playset for the kids so that they’d have a backyard playground, Dave and I in agreement that it made our house feel like a home.

Tears rolled down my cheek as I wondered how it had all come to this.

I couldn’t answer that, so I swiped at my eyes and took a deep breath.

It was time to watch my babies decorate their pumpkins before I returned to my empty apartment, armed with stuff I’d left behind, leaving those things that were never mine to take.

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26 Responses to Week Four: And Even Though It All Went Wrong

  • Week Four: And Even Though It All Went Wrong http://t.co/kZHeoxba

  • Pete In Az says:

    {{{{Aunt Becky}}}}

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Thanks, lovie. I’m trying. One foot in front of the other, right?

      • Pete In Az says:

        Yup.

        I haven’t ever gone through a divorce, but, I have been through what I call “The Dark Times”. It hurts, it sucks and your stomach don’t feel so good.

        It, however DOES get better. Way too slow, at first, but, it picks up steam as you climb up out of the hole.

        This may, or may not help, but, what I did was kept busy and occasionally asked myself: “What would normal people do?” and it seemed to work pretty well.

        It Does Get Better.

  • Catt says:

    Crying reading this.
    HUGS>>>>HUGGS>>>>>HUUUUGGGSSSS to you.
    Its hard, but you are one tough bitch. Try to keep your chin up.
    I don’t actually know you- but if I did, I would hug you to death. You sound like you need it.

  • silvertrish says:

    First off *GIGANTICUS HUGS*

    Second, I am so amazed/impressed at how well you are doing with staying friends with the Daver. I know it is likely unbelievably hard on you, but I am so impressed that you guys are trying to stay friends, and so much more than civil for your little ones.

  • You are being so much better about all this than I ever would have been. And, whether you meant to or not, you are giving those of us who divorced and got to keep All the Stuffs the perspective that our ex-spouses might have had, which makes me feel more sympathetic to the poophead.

    You guys are being so ADULT about the divorce. You are kind of winning, even though it may not feel like it.

  • Cindy
    Twitter: WalkerCynthia
    says:

    Oh, AB, i love you. I wish I had an amswer. What I have is a pair of ears. If you need to talk, I can listen.

  • Joules says:

    Just keep swimming. You can do this. It will get better. A bunch of platitudes, sure. But all true. Ultra (((((hugs)))))

  • Jillian says:

    Aunt Becky! I have been out of the blog world for awhile I am trying to catch up. HUGS to you times a million it will get better.

    Hang in there more hugs!

  • Elisa says:

    Of course you can garden with the kids again. And will. Their love for you will never wither, even if your peonies possibly will. They will continue to play and laugh and make mischief. When the day comes when you’re “gardening” together again, they won’t see anything strange about it, they won’t be holding back The Tears Of Emotion like you will be.

    I was 9 when my parents divorced, and I remember that most of all, I wanted to do the same things we had always done. To watch cartoons on Saturday mornings and eat meat loaf for dinner.

    Also – what I’ve noticed during my own bouts of The Dark Times, it helps to have something to anchor your feet back to the ground. The Sadness tends to distance you from the normal life, filling your head with abstract thoughts like “what should I have achieved in my life” and “I’m so incredibly alone, like I’m floating in space”. But then you have to go to the market and buy toilet paper. Or you have somebody coming over and cooking for you and you remember again how good food can taste like. There’s nothing like a mean burrito to get you back in to Planet Earth. So, please, do keep on doing all the things you always have. Even if you can’t do them at The House Formerly Known as Yours, there’s a helluva lot of “normal” things you can still keep on doing, especially with your kiddos.

    I’m rambling. Might be because I’m possibly a bit tipsy right now. Also Finnish. Sorry for all the language errors.

    Heaps of love your way,
    Elisa

  • Gwensarah says:

    Oh I just want to hug you. And take you to ALL TEH PUMPKIN PATCHES. Just remember, if you get lonely, you can skype/google+/carrier pigeon. I so understand what you’re going through.

  • TiaMaria says:

    Oh sweetums. How I wish I could run to you, wrap you in bear hugs, curl up with hot apple cider and watch trashy TV with you. I know your pain, and it SUCKS. We’re all here for you. We’ll listen, cry with you, and make you laugh when you need it. And maybe, asking what normal people do is brilliant. I can always teach you to love Pinterest :p I love you hard, my dear. Stay strong, good things are on their way for you.

  • KaraB says:

    Big hugs! That song always gets me.

  • Lynda M O
    Twitter: Lynda M Otvos
    says:

    It’s true, Becca, it will get better and easier and lass fraught. Been thru two divorces and neither was as well done as you and Dave are doing. Stay the course, cry the tears, refuse alcohol, accept hugs and money. Love coming across the Rockies heading straight for you.

  • alexis (You can call me Al)
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    As hard as this is now, think of the tens of thousands of dollars in therapists’ bills that yo are saving your children. (If your kids are like everyone else’s kids, there probably will still be therapist’s bills, but you are keeping them to an absolute minimum.)

    I’m almost finished with my projects and papers for this quarter. when I finish, which should be this weekend, I must blog about you again because I’m so incredibly proud of what you’re doing, not only for your own three children, but for the countless children who will benefit from their parents following the example you’re setting. I’ll end you a link when I do.

  • alexis (You can call me Al)
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    P.S. I’ll be able to edit tupos out of the blog:)

  • Janis says:

    (((((Hugs.))))) I can’t even imagine what it feels like to leave your home and the garden you once lavished with so much love, and how bittersweet it must be to visit it. (((((More hugs.)))))

  • Jolie says:

    You are an inspiration and example to all. Love ya!

  • Kary May says:

    This was so beautifully and poignantly written, I couldn’t help but get a lump in my throat. I’ve been there. I think that what was the hardest part for me was having to deal with the feeling that I’d stolen my children’s “perfect” childhood from them. And, of course, every time I imagined what their life would have been like if I’d stayed with their father, it was perfect. I had to remind myself that if it had been perfect, I wouldn’t have left.

    My 31 year old son told me awhile back that while he thought his world had ended when his father and I divorce, he was 12, he was so glad now that we had, and then he went on to list the ways in which his life had changed for the better because we divorced. One, was that is relationship with his father improved because I was no longer there to be the buffer.

    Of course, you’ll make more memories with your children, it can’t be avoided. They can still have a happy childhood, it won’t be perfect though because there is no such animal.

    More hugs sent your way!!!

    Kary

  • KellyN says:

    HUGS!!!!! I am right there with you. Haven’t been back to my former house in almost 2 months. He always comes here to swap stuff or do the pick up/ drop off of little girl. Still have the garage remote, though. Not that I have a use for it…

    One day at a time, I guess, right? Hope it gets better for you!

  • Denise
    Twitter: acctodenise
    says:

    Hugs to you lady. That was rough. More hugs.

  • Marta
    Twitter: marta28
    says:

    Oh Becky, I’m sorry. That it sucks. Because it does. I think about the D-word, often, in this terribly idealized way and then sometimes I read things like this and I wonder am I really prepared for that? Can I really handle all of that? I don’t know how you do it. You are brave and strong and amazing.

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    I love you and I miss you. Wish I could be there in person.

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