Did you watch Jon & Kate plus 8 the other night? Even if you don’t watch it, you probably know that this reality TV family (Jon + Kate plus their twins and sextuplets) is falling apart at the seams. Kate seems obsessed with publicity; Jon wants a normal life back (and seems to have had an affair, too). Regardless of whose side you’re on, there were many somber moments in the episode such as Kate’s realization that they may have just taken their last Gosselin family photo together at the sextuplets’ fifth birthday party.
That moment resonated with me, a lot. I cried when I saw it, for reasons I have had to be completely silent about for the past 2 years- until now. Almost 2 years ago, we took our own last family photo, also at a “5th birthday party” of sorts- a joint party for R’s 4th birthday and S’s 1st birthday. I smiled and laughed and hid the fact that I was in deep emotional pain as I tried desperately to save my marriage. Barely 6 weeks after that party, my marriage ended quite abruptly, under distressing circumstances. And in the 19 months since my marriage ended (hard to believe it’s been the majority of little S’s life), I’ve had to endure much worse, seeing a side of people and of life I never believed existed before. I joke (sort of) that my story has many elements of Lifetime TV movie to it- I’ve become used to seeing jaws drop as I give the “nutshell” version to people. Sometimes I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Mostly, I just hug my kids extra tight.
As longtime readers of this blog may know (even if they did not know about my divorce), my children also both (have) had special needs and this has become a major focus for me each and every day. My son has a disorder called apraxia and still is not talking, even though he is nearly 3. He has received a host of different therapies through Early Intervention which has made a huge difference. This morning he pointed at me and said, “My Mama!” and I melted. He can now walk, run, and (almost) jump. He tolerates activities that used to be very difficult for him. And he is just about the sweetest- and smartest- little boy you’ll ever meet.
Dealing with my son’s special needs- on top of difficult divorce proceedings- over the past year and a half has been one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced. But, as I always learned from my own parents, I know how incredibly fortunate I am on so many levels. I am blessed with the friendship and support of many people. Now that I can be “go public” about my divorce, I hope that anyone out there who is struggling with the same challenge knows they are not alone.
This blog has been- and will continue to be- a wonderful distraction and tonic for me. I love that people enjoy reading this blog, and I love working on it. Writing about kids’ toys or clothes while all this other stuff in my life has been going on has at times seemed oddly incongruous, but it has done wonders for my soul. So thank you for being such a good audience.
Earlier this week- 19 months after my husband and I separated- we finally signed our divorce agreement. While I wouldn’t wish this nightmarish process on my worst enemy, I finally feel a tremendous sense of relief, accomplishment, and hope for my family’s future. My children and I experience joy in our home, laughter with our friends, and love among our family, on a daily basis. And those provide security, confidence, and an excitement for the future that I have not felt in years. To those of you who knew already- and to those of you who know now- thank you a million times over for your caring and concern on this “journey”. Much love to you all!