Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bitter Party of One

If you've known me for any period of time..well you might have heard me pretend to be a restaurant hostess....paging you because your table is now available.. It comes in quite handy. You're upset about work? You're upset about life, a friend or a relationship? You need to laugh at yourself? I can always throw it out. "Bitter party of one- your table is now available..."

But personally, I've had a standing reservation for "Bitter Party of One" for over a year. It's quite easy to reside there when you're going through a divorce.

I've gotten so much mileage out of this particular joke that even my therapist has heard it and maybe she now uses it on her other patients (the crazy ones like me)... but in my session this week after being on the receiving end of some particularly painful comments this weekend I proclaimed the following: "I'm done. I just can't be angry anymore. It takes too much energy and I'm ready to move on. " She smiled and said "Ashley- you're ready to pay the tab at your bitter party of one table..." And I am. And I have.

I've resided here for too long and life is too short. The view from my little table has been interesting. I like to picture my table as on of those little cafe tables outside a bistro in Paris. The tables usually face a park or a street. Dogs are welcome in Paris so I've had Tobie's leash tied to my chair and I've been handing him scraps from the table. I've been looking at a park watching Cole play... and well there's a couple of extra chairs at my table and friends and family have come to enjoy a beverage or three... and then have left me alone at the table to think. Behind me is a window so as I've thought and processed I've been able to turn around and look in the window, see myself and not always like what I see...

My marriage failed. But I'm coming to realize that it doesn't make me a failure unless I let it. I was not a perfect wife, but I was a good & faithful wife. I loved my husband more than myself for most of our marriage, though I don't think he'll ever see that. While I'll never blog about the particulars of the demise of our marriage- I took care of him, the house, Tobie, the finances and our life. I gave him a wonderful, beautiful son and I supported his dreams even when it meant sacrificing my own. I'll never be sorry that I made those sacrifices because I've come to realize that no one else has ever loved him like that. I wish only the best for him.

How do you make a decision to walk away from a marriage? It took me a very long time to come to that conclusion. I labored over the decision.. with God, with my husband, in therapy, with my friends and family. For me I had to come to a place where I'd thought of it all. I had to be okay with being alone. I had to figure out how to make it easiest for Cole. I had to ask really tough questions. I had to accept that Cole might be my only child and that I might never be in a relationship again. I worked through it and made the decision. It has been the hardest decision for me thus far in my life because I wasn't just making it for me. I don't know that I'll ever get another chance at being married or have more kids. I only know that I have to focus on my faith, Cole, the present and to be thankful for my life. No, it's not the life I thought I'd have or dreamed I'd have, but have you seen my son? He's amazing. How could I ask for more?

I feel as though God has led me down a path where He ultimately broke me as a person.. only so He could put me back together because I was finally able and willing to listen to Him and to admit that I can't do life on my own. I have to trust in Him.

I'm changed. For the better I think. I've had to examine my flaws. All of them. I've grieved. Grieved for the loss of my marriage and my dreams. Grieved over the guilt and the uncertainty. Grieved for Cole and that he won't have a Dad present daily in his life. But I made this decision for him as well. Time has helped me realize that it was the right decision no matter how difficult it was to make it.

It's time for me to move on from my table. The waitress has brought me the bill. I'm paying it. I'm letting Cole know it's time to go and grabbing Tobie's leash. I'm walking away with my boys. I've left a tip and my guilt on the table.

A very long time ago.. I bought a copy of Life's Little Instruction Book and two of the instructions got ripped out. They've followed me to college, to all of my crappy apartments and finally this house that I call home. They usually reside on a cork board, the fridge or wherever I can see them daily. This one is helping me along right now and if you're reading my random blog maybe someday you can use it too.

"Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to one can tell the difference.." This process isn't completely over for me I realize... but I'm getting there.


Cathy H said...

Wow. Very cool post.