On top of being a sentimental junkie, I have a crazy head for details, particularly dates. I can tell you that I flew to Europe on the 7th of January, 1999 and flew home on the 20th of May. I can tell you that J and I unofficially decided we wanted to be married on April 10 and that he got down on one knee on the 20th of July. I know that Junior was admitted to the hospital with a broken arm as a baby the same day that Sis was admitted with an infection five years later. I told J he would be a daddy for the first time on June 7, 2003 and in a really ironic turn, he shared with me that he had "checked out" of our relationship exactly 7 years later.
Today, I hit the official year mark since my life turned upside down. 365 days since I have felt emotionally secure on almost any level. 365 days since I could take my husband’s love for me as a given. 366 days since I had the happy, fleeting thought "I have everything I want" as I looked at my newborn daughter and considered the rest of my beautiful family. Knowing myself like I do, June 7 will never pass by again, just like any of the other dozens of days that hold some meaning for me, without a thought. I keep trying to tell myself that it is just a day, and I know realistically it will never again hold as much sorrow as this first 'anniversary.' But it will come around every year and every year, I will think about the emotional 'hit and run' blow I got from the person I loved most. I will work on not giving power to something so silly, but for now, I can't imagine not dreading the day every year. I have been fearing it more than my wedding anniversary coming up in August. I know me and I know my weaknesses and one of the few things I truly ever treasured about my personality is my sense of tradition and sentimentality. I can no more forget the days that hold shadows every year than I can keep from wanting to celebrate and make a huge deal out of birthdays and holidays. I used to enjoy being a 'rememberer' and and tradition maker, but it has been one solid year of that aspect of myself bringing me nothing but pain. I know it won't always be this way, but remembering still hurts at the moment.
One week after my birthday, I recieved word from J that he had finally filed paperwork for divorce. Several days after that, my children came home from a visit with him talking about his "girlfriend, who goes everywhere we go." He had had her around the kids for several weeks without my knowledge (supposedly she would just 'happen' to be where they went, but they never knew her name). I thought I was more prepared than I was, but I don't suppose there is any getting ready for things like that. So, not a great week, but my biggest challenge lately was this last weekend. It was the first weekend that I knew my children would be around her and I was sick about it. It is among the worst of feelings to know that you have to hand your kids over and get no say in who they get to be around while they are not on your watch. Worse, that it is their father that is perpetuating such a horrible, helpless feeling.
Not only is it offensive to have to know my husband has left for another woman, I have to know she is around my little ones and being presented as a "friend." It just feels like such a dirty trick on them. I would never want them to have the truth but at the same time, it is horrifying to me that this woman, who has been a predator to the health of our family unit since before 2 of my kids were even born, is now someone who gets to be around them regularly. They still don't know her name (or don't remember it) but I will cringe to hear it in my home out of the mouths of my children. I know my role as their mom. I will smile and encourage them to like whoever their dad is with, but it might actually take years off my life. If you ever wonder what it might be like waving your kids out the door to hang out with the "other woman," imagine sending them off on a playdate with Hitler or Voldemort and you about have it pegged. Okay, I know she isn't evil and that she is probably nice to them (for now) but if their father is putting someone who is not their mother in the role of 'partner,' the last person I want is someone who who can't possibly ever love them. Love requires unselfishness. She has assisted in one of the most selfish acts out there. She pursued a man with a wife and children and she is not anyone I want in any capacity around my kids. But, for the moment, she is their father's choice. So, twice a week and every other weekend, I don't get one on the matter.
Long story short, this has been the longest year of my life and I keep hoping to wake up healed. I had hoped to be in a very different place by this time this year. I hoped we would be well on the road to recovery. I didn't think I would be here. I had so much hope and faith in J's ability to do the right thing up until the minute he left. The hope is gone, and I am still reeling from that. I'm still trying to picture myself being happy this way and my future as being anything but scary and lonely. For the record, my faith in him isn't gone. Whoever he is now, I still feel like I know who he was and I have tremendous faith in my own power of discernment. I don't believe he will walk his current path forever and regardless of how angry or sad or disillusioned I get, I feel like part of me will always root for his better side. One way or another, I believe someday he will genuinely walk tall as a good man. Even after the year we have had, I believe it. I have no doubts about his potential even when I am furious or sad about the things he is doing at the moment.
I keep trying to remember that I only have to do these first anniversaries once. There is only one first Christmas alone, one first Valentine’s Day apart, one first year mark, etc. As things start to circle around again, I pray that they get easier not having the memories of the year before. I am praying for peace, I am praying for forgiveness, I am praying to understand that I may never actually understand and some days I am simply praying for the energy to shower and fix something besides macaroni and cheese. I pray that June 7 of next year will see me much more hopeful and without some of the load I can't seem to put down. I also pray to thank God for the amazing friends and family that have helped carry me this last year. I know I am blessed.