Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm Only Happy when It Rains and Other 90's Cliches

It's been about 18 months since the Ex and I agreed, over the phone and on the way home from work that the break was better than the marriage and one of us said the "D" word for the first time. In those 18 months, I've taken a good hard look at a lot of things. At what I want vs. what I have. At who I want to be vs. who I am. At how I want to raise my kids vs. how I am raising my kids.

The truth is that this divorce has been good for me in more than a few ways. I've grieved and I've cried and I've gotten mad. But all in all, I can only say positive things about the shape of my life now compared to the shape of my life then.

For the first few months, I battened down the hatches. I didn't change anything, didn't go anywhere, didn't expose myself to anything. Because I was tender and bruised and a little broken. Because I was afraid of what was waiting for me out in the big world.

In the last few months, I've made some big changes, though. Changes that have helped me find my feet and feel a little more like myself. I got my Jeep, which I love and which has yet to mysteriously quit working for months on end. (Suck it Ford.) I took my kids on a real vacation, something that I always figured was completely out of reach. I've created a lot of new traditions and rituals that make my life go smoother.* I painted my living room. I know that doesn't even seem like a big deal, but it makes my house feel a little bit more like my house and a little less like the House that Marriage Failed. I've done social things. With real people. In real life.

One of my challenges has been to figure out who the single me is. I was married a long time, you know. Well, a long time from my seat.

One big part of that challenge is that who I believe that I am is basically who I was when I was 22. I know, intellectually, that this can't be true. I must have changed. I've lived, loved and lost and that usually adds up to older and wiser territory, but all I can see when I look at myself is an awkward kid who likes to drive with the windows down, loves rainy days and is still trying to figure out what to be when (and if) she grows up.

Someone once told me that an alcoholic becomes arrested at the age they started drinking, failing to mature and grow. Sometimes I feel like that's what I've done. Just stopped. Like I put everything on hold and refuted change and growth for a decade.

But then I look at what I've accomplished, what I've done and I know that I have grown up. I just wasn't looking.

Last night, I was watching Doctor Who with the girls (major parenting win), and I said, "When I grow up, I wanna be River Song." Brynna wrinkled her nose in that way she has when she's really thinking hard about something.

"Mommy," she finally said. "You are grown up and you've got a job and you're who you are."

"I don't think we ever quit growing up," I responded. And I was right. We don't. We don't stop changing and growing and working toward something else. Something amazing.

But she was right, too. I am who I am. And who I am is fine. Better than fine. Who I am is pretty darn great.

Sometimes, I still find myself mourning the life I thought I'd have that's gone forever now. But never the life I had. And never myself. I'm not going anywhere. Except for someplace amazing.

*I'm still working on this one. Getting the kids to do chores is still spotty at best and getting home before bedtime is still rarer than I'd like. I'll get there, though. I know I will because I've already come so far.


Joni said...

I love this, Jessi! So glad to see you coming out on the other side! :) You are indeed awesome, and I appreciate you sharing your journey.

Suze said...

Pretty cool.

Also, the song title TOTALLY took me back. (Did you know the band Garbage originated in Madison? Sweet.)

Jessi said...

Thanks guys. I love you both.

Suze - I didn't know that, but it kinda seems like a lot of greatness came from Madison. :)

Strangeite said...

Of course that is a parenting win.

In our household we don't watch much TV anymore but have discovered that the classic Doctor Who's on Netflix are the perfect family show to watch right before bed.

30 minutes long, gripping stories, scary enough to keep the kids enthralled but fx crappy enough not to keep them awake at night. Just perfect.

One of these days we will get around to watching the new Doctor but for right now the early Doctors are keeping our family entertained.

Plus I love the fact that my 2 year old now randomly mentions the Doctor and the TARDIS. And the fact that my 6 year old can't decide if she wants to be Sarah Jane or Romana for Halloween.

Jessi said...

Strangeite - I just never got into classic Who. I know that makes me a terrible fan, but I don't know, just wasn't my schtick. I am a fan of the scarf, though. I actually don't let the girls watch the new ones without pre-watching because they sometimes get pretty scary. Although, in my opinion, the Vashta Nerada and the Weeping Angels are the scariest and they are Brynna's favorites. She it completely nonplussed by the Daleks.

Strangeite said...

You might give them another shot.

The City of Death was written by Douglas Adams under a pseudonym and is fantastic. The Pirate Planet was also written by Adams as is just great goofy fun. Both are the 4th Doctor.

The Green Death is an interesting 3rd Doctor story that holds up really well. I mean it has giant man eating maggots with teeth. Good stuff.

The Three Doctors is not the best but is worth watching to see how different yet the same the first three Doctors were. My favorite moment is when the 1st Doctor gets frustrated with the Second and Third and calls them "The dandy and the fool."

I don't know how long it has been since you have given them a shot, but Riley (who, dear god, is now 15) has watched all of the new series and recently started watching the classics. He enjoys them a lot because he catches little inside jokes that were in the new serials but missed them on his first watch through. He has also said, watching them makes him understand why the Doctor has such an affinity for humans (the Time Lords banished the 3rd Doctor to Earth for several years).

Jessi said...

Maybe I will. I don't think I've ever tried anything from the first few Doctors, more like the 80's Doctors with that ridiculous umbrella and the celery. I don't know, maybe if I start back at the beginning, I'll like it better.

Strangeite said...

Oh no. The 80s and the 90s were a dark time for Doctor Who.

Start with some of the 4th Doctor's stories and then the 3rd.

Cathy G. said...

The 80s and 90s were a dark time for us all....