Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not just any piece of jewelry

Tonight I took my wedding ring off. Permanently.

I probably could have stopped wearing it when we separated. As far as I know, Adam hasn't been wearing his since I moved out. But I chose to continue wearing my ring because, well... I'm still technically married. Also, to me, taking off that ring is about more than just acknowledging and accepting the fact that my marriage is ending. It's about being able to say goodbye to what a wedding ring symbolizes -- the love, commitment and bond between two people. It's about being ready to go out into the world without having visual evidence that you're taken; ready to face any questions that may arise if someone happens to notice your bare finger. It's about making a change, parting ways with the comfortable and taking another step toward the future.

And (on a less emotional note) being the kind of girl who is never without her ring, except maybe during an occasional painting project with the kiddo or while quickly rubbing some lotion in, I knew that taking it off would leave me feeling a little naked.

But tonight something inside my head kept saying, "You should take this off. You're going to at some point anyway. This ring symbolizes something real... something that no longer exists."

And so, after showering and lotioning up, instead of slipping the little silver band back onto my finger like I've done for the past (almost) seven years, I took the ring into my bedroom and placed it gently in my jewelry box. I still love and respect all the things that a wedding ring is meant to symbolize, and for a long time my ring did represent all those things. It just... doesn't anymore. I'll always keep it as a token of what Adam and I shared, the love that he and I were unable to hold onto but will live forever in our daughter. And who knows, maybe one day Morgan will want the ring for herself. Part of me kind of hopes she will.

As I turned off the light and walked out of my bedroom, I paused for a moment to let the reality of what I'd just done sink in. And in that moment I realized how peaceful I feel about this decision. It's a big step for me. Huge, really. It feels more significant to me than moving out of the house was, or even sitting in my attorney's office and telling him I'd like to file for divorce. But I'm ready to take this step. Ready to face whatever comes next.

Even if my left hand is going to look a little bare from now on...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's just the worst...

"Look, Mom. I did Nora's hair!"
I think I briefly mentioned before that Morgan and I moved. (See what I did there? Just breezed right past the depth and gravity of a certain recent post. The situation has been acknowledged and now we can move on. Which seems to be a theme these days... moving on.) Anyway, we moved into a little apartment seven miles north of the tiny town I've been living in since my family came to Utah 20 years ago. 

Rant: Isn't moving the worst? All the boxes and packing and dust and deciding who gets what and what goes where and OH MY GOSH, HOW DID I AQUIRE THIS MUCH JUNK?!? Ugh.

So, seven miles away. You might not think that seven miles would make that much difference, but guys... this is just crazy. I mean, we've got a Walmart and a stoplight and everything! (Do you hear that sarcasm?) I joke, but it's actually a nice place to be. My brother and his family live just a few blocks away, and we're still close enough that Morgan and Adam can see each other whenever they'd like. Morgan thinks that living in a new town is pretty awesome, although she keeps asking why we didn't move to Salt Lake City or "somewhere fun" like that. Me? I'm just happy that when I run out of Starburst jelly beans, the grocery store is now close enough that I can justify going back out with the sole purpose of getting another bag. When I lived farther away I never would have made an extra 25 minute round trip for jelly beans. Except for that one time...

Don't judge. Sometimes a girl just needs jelly beans. 

We've been living here for a little over a month now and as much as I'd love to say that we're all settled in and loving it here, the truth is that we're still living in bit of a disaster area. (I need to correct myself; I said that moving is the worst but actually, unpacking is the worst!) There are unpacked boxes lining the wall of my bedroom, occasionally spilling into the kitchen and living room when I attempt to locate something that is still packed away. It's gotten to the point that I'm considering throwing blankets over the piles of crap and telling people that they're one of a kind pieces from a new line of furniture I created. "I know it feels like you're sitting on a stack of cardboard boxes, but it's actually this awesome new kind of couch. Trust me, they're all the rage."

One of the most difficult things to keep up on during this whole moving process has been laundry. I feel like I can't unpack everything until all the laundry is folded and put away, but then I have a hard time putting the laundry away because there are boxes and all kinds of other random things cluttering up my space. I no longer have a laundry room, or even my own washer and dryer. I'm now using coin operated machines in a community laundry room. For this reason (and because, let's face it, doing laundry sucks) I try to wait and do all our laundry on certain days of the week. I don't think people without children will understand this, but having a kid doesn't just double the amount of laundry in the house, it increases it exponentially. Children have this need (at least my child does) to change their clothes several times a day. And not only are they using three pairs of clothing throughout the day, but when they shed them into the hamper something magical happens and the dirty clothes actually breed and multiply until before you know it, there are 18 dirty shirts and several so-dirty-they're-hard-to-identify articles of clothing that have miraculously appeared within a 72 hour period of time. Laundry? It's the worst, for sure.

There have been times that the unpacking has been almost done, only a couple boxes left. But it seems like every time I go to the house for any reason, I end up bringing another entire load of stuff back to the apartment and the process starts all over again. More boxes, more de-junking to do, more things to organize and put away. But that stuff ends up getting pushed off by more pressing things like taking Morgan to school, going for walks and making trips to the park, appointments with doctors and attorneys and, ya know, super important things like catching up on The Bachelor.

Speaking of The Bachelor, can we all just agree that Juan Pablo is actually the worst? Worse than laundry even. The worst of the worst!

I'm proud to say that a good portion of the past couple days was spent cleaning and putting more things away, and I feel like I made a considerable dent in the mess. While going through one of the boxes before dinner last night, I came across Morgan's zebra pillow pet - a gift she got two Christmases ago when she consistently answered the same way each time she was asked what she wanted Santa to bring her. "Hulk hands and a zebra pillow pet."

"Morgan," I called out as I pulled it from the box. "Look what I found."

"My zebra pillow pet! Thanks, Mom! I've been looking for this for like, fifteen years!" She's not dramatic at all.

And as I was getting her tucked into bed last night I noticed that her zebra and two stuffed bears were also wearing pajamas. So maybe she isn't entirely to blame for the laundry problem. It's been those darn bears all along!

Something I've had a lot of time to do this past month is think. To reflect on the past and begin making plans for the future. Looking at our surroundings, realizing that this will be the scenery of the memories we create for the next several months of our life, it's all a little bittersweet. This apartment wouldn't have been my first choice but for many reasons, this is where we ended up. The neighbors are a little... well, that's a subject worthy of a post in and of itself. I have a tiny kitchen and an even smaller bathroom. We don't have a yard anymore - something that we're having an incredibly hard time adjusting to. But despite all the little annoyances and inconveniences (did I mention the roosters in the vacant field behind my apartment complex that start crowing at 6:45 each morning?) this place is starting to feel like home. It's ours, and more and more I'm becoming confident that the memories we make here are going to be pretty darn awesome.

And that feeling? It's certainly not the worst thing ever.

Meeting sweet Baby Charlie (my friend Holly's daughter) for the first
time when they came to see the apartment. We had quite a good chat, she and I.