After nearly a year on the market, our house finally sold. Given the economy, that’s something of a minor miracle. Receiving a small check after the sale of that 1,800-square-foot albatross was just icing on the cake.
So while that is all well and good, the not-as-good stuff follows: packing up, sorting through and moving 15 years worth of stuff.
To two different homes.
I won’t go into detail around the decision to end my marriage, but when all is said and done it’ll be a good thing for everyone involved. (Even though in the thick of it, it seems anything but.) In the interest of continuity, we each decided to rent apartments in the same complex while we navigate the waters of shared placement and custody. I also needed to find a place that allowed dogs. Given all the changes our girls are going to experience, giving up the 4-legged family member simply was not an option.
So, here I am, entering a new normal. Obviously, I’m not alone. At least 49 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. According to an article in Divorce Magazine (yes, there really is such a thing), “there were approximately 2,230,000 marriages in 2005 — down from 2,279,000 the previous year, despite a total population increase of 2.9 million over the same period.”
Because there are so many people in the same boat, with a ton of questions, there’s a lot of information out there on the subject. That’s important to me as a parent who wants to ensure that even though this is probably one of the most traumatic things a child can experience, there are things you can do to help your kids through it. This article in particular has some good advice.
Almost everything I’ve read says that a good support system is critical in these types of situations. I’m fortunate to have a super group of people in my life doing just that. I’ve also encouraged the girls to reach out for support to whomever they feel comfortable. I’ve stressed that it’s OK to be sad or angry, or to worry about what will happen, because those are normal reactions to this type of thing. My ex and I also promised to never speak ill of one another in front of the girls because no matter how we feel about each other, they will always tie us together. It hasn’t always been easy, but each day is a new opportunity to try and get it right.
If there is one good thing to come from this situation, it’s the newfound freedom I feel to express myself honestly. I’ve never been an outwardly emotional or expressive person. When I became a mother I got better at it, but it was also tempered by the instinct to protect the girls from negativity and hurt. However, as they mature and are better able to verbalize how they feel, we’ve had some really honest conversations. I’m glad they feel comfortable sharing, even if it’s not something I always want to hear.