The note your ten-year-old writes you because she heard you crying in the bathtub.
“Mommy, we love you very much. Who wouldn’t?”
The way she comes in while you’re laying there in three inches of hot water; depleted, exhausted, alone, and how she tacks her little note onto the tile across from where you lay so you can see it.
“Mommy, we love you very much. Who wouldn’t?”
The way your skin feels right after the bath; smooth and velvety and warm.
The peace of being alone in the house because your husband has taken the children out for a bike ride, and how you sit on the porch with your summer skirt on and light up that cigarette. How glad you are that you saved this little bit of tobacco for a moment like this.
The big, tall, magnificent trees in your yard and the way they move in the wind. The sound of the wind.
The peace of being alone; everything is going to be alright, you tell yourself. You’re going to be alright.
Wondering if you could fall in love with your husband again. The possibility that the love you seek is right here, at home, with him.
The quiet beauty of your ramshackle home at the end of the road, a home with no one in it except you and the dog.
The way you leave the front door open for the wind. How you need the wind to keep you moving, especially now.
How after the cry, and the bath, and your late afternoon glass of wine, you feel capable again. Strong. Ready. Right. You can mother, you can love. You are standing.
How when your ten-year-old asks you what’s wrong and you say, “I’m just sad,” and she says, “about daddy?” and you say, “no, not exactly,” and how she asks if you’re mad at him, and you say “a little, but it’s not about daddy, it’s about me.” Then how she says that the two of you will talk about it later, and how you see in her eyes how excruciating it is for her to see you upset and to not understand what’s wrong.
And how impossible it would be to explain everything to her.
And the gratitude you have for her even though you wonder if this is okay for a young girl to comfort her mother like this, again, and again.
Because you don’t know.
But here you are standing, and you can love. And that’s all you know for sure right now.
beauty, laur. Especially, now.
thank you my love, thank you!
The last few months I’ve been wondering the same thing about my husband. We are dancing the dance of learning to be different enough to be out of our old shit and same enough to find the love that once was. It is intense.
This piece was beautiful. xoxo
Thank you so much Hannah. It is a dance. Though our marriage ended this year after 22 years of marriage and 25 years together, I think we danced the dance very well. I tell my friends that Mark and I did amazing things together in our 25 years – the divorce is just one of those things. We tried to let go of the form of our marriage – because like all forms, it wants to be organic, to be able to change and grow. At the same time, we tried to to keep the essence of our connection true – and I think that’s why we both left the marriage intact. So sweet to hear from you!
This piece is so beautiful. Heart-breaking and heart-mending all at once. I love how the writing of it is its own healing. How it clears the path. How, in some ways, it IS the path. How our stories are our path. I love you.
you’re right Trixie – the pain IS the path. And how often, how every time, that pain always feels in the way or the problem, or like some evidence that we are off the path entirely. Silly us. I love you.
so true and raw…you blow my mind with the way you see the world around you. love you xoxo
Oh baby! We’re all in the same boat. Different details, same boat. Love you!
I love what Maya said, Heart-breaking and heart-mending.
That is a good thing to remember in moments of despair and panic: I am standing and I can love. That is enough to know for sure.
That’s it, right? And this business of forgiving ourselves over and over and over and over. Our hearts are good – we do not mean to harm – but we will and we won’t mean to. Thank you for reading.
Laurie, this is so tender and beautiful and so painful. I kept thinking as I read it that I heard the ten year old girl within you crying….just as you were at the same time mothering your ten year old daughter. And you go right to the heart of the poignancy of the ending of a marriage as well as the respect and love you have for the man you married long ago. Katherine Hepburn said, about a marriage and divorce she had when she was young, ” We treat each other with the respect of two people who were once in a terrible automobile crash together and both survived.” But of course, there is much more, so many layers that have to be plumbed when keeping what is past intact, moving away from it, wanting to hold onto its securities and friendship but needing to grow and go forward. You are a master with words, such an inspiration even as you hurt and feel good at the same time.
wow – thank you. Getting your note gives me courage to move forward when all I want is to move backwards; to mother the kids all over again, to be young with my husband and make different choices than we made. But that is not possible. We are here. This is now and we move forward, trailing our story behind us. I love the Hepburn quote and I appreciate your reflection of who I am. Thank you! xxx