And there it was. A text during my morning conference call.
After 18 years of marriage. 5 kids. It all ended with a text.
“You are officially divorced.”
I wasn’t sad exactly. Or happy. Or anything. Just kind of stunned. Stunned that I was now “divorced.” It had been two years. Two years from the moment my life unraveled. When “we can get through this” changed to “we won’t.”
But I’ve never quite gotten used to it all. Kind of the way, I can’t really get used to getting older. The age I see on those dumb health forms doesn’t seem to really fit me. But it’s true. It’s real. It’s happening. I know because I’ve seen my neck.
I was once told that I wasn’t nostalgic because I’m a purger. I really like to get rid of stuff. But the truth is – I am nostolgic. Just about people. I don’t like to let them go.
And the thing about marriage is that person is in your heart, your blood, your everything. Even if the relationship doesn’t work anymore. Even if you might be happier living separate lives, they are woven into your being. And it’s very hard to let that go. At least for me. I also tend to be eternally hopeful. If we can just get over this, it will be okay.
But you can’t will things into being okay. Or at least I couldn’t.
When I had my first daughter Dylan, I remember being at a playspace and watching a mother of twin babies. It seemed like a lot. She seemed like she might need a hand. To this day, I regret not asking her if she wanted help. I mean, I certainly could have held a baby or two while she went and peed.
But it wasn’t until I had twins, that I really understood. How much more tired you are. How much harder it is. How much you really need someone to hold your goddamn babies so you can go pee.
And it was kind of like that with divorce. I just didn’t get it. Until I did.
I remember one of my friends getting divorced in our early 30s and she said, “It sort of feels like getting in a car accident every day for a year.”
And honestly, that’s pretty much exactly what it feels like.
It’s horrible and emotional and traumatic until one day, you wake up… and it’s a tiny tiny tiny tiny bit better. Am I on the other side of the worst part? Gosh, I hope so. I really think so. I certainly no longer feel like I am in a car accident every day. But the process is a rollercoaster.
It’s hard to read Facebook anniversary posts.
It’s hard when one of my children says to me, “I’m embarrased to have parents that are divorced.”
It’s hard on finances.
It’s just well, hard.
I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone. But if you are at that crossroads, you will be okay. I know you’re shaking your head with tears streaming down your face. I know because that was me. And you won’t be okay until one day, you will be. I did start wearing water proof mascara. I never switched back.
Oh and I now put plastic in the dishwaster.
Rick and I used to argue over whether to put plastic in the dishwasher. I prefered to handwash it because the hot water degrades the plastic and then the chemicals leach into your food. He preferred to throw it in there and hope for the best.
Ironically, once I got separated and divorced, I was so overwhelmed with responsibilities, I no longer had the time or the energy to handwash plastic.
It just all goes in the dishwaster. And now I just hope for the best.
I also really worried that post-divorce noone would ever date me. WHO IS GOING TO DATE A MIDDLE AGE LADY WITH A NECK ISSUE AND FIVE KIDS WHO CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO HANDWASH PLASTIC?! You have to admit, that’s a valid question. Turns out, it wasn’t much of an issue.
And I no longer see divorce as an end. I see it as twist in this life – a life that holds no guarantees. Is this the turn I imagined for myself? Uh… no. Kind of like none of us started 2020 toasting, “Let this be the year we wear masks! And hell, let’s do it in 2021 too!”
But pandemic aside, I feel calmer. I feel more like myself. I feel happier. I feel like I lost track of myself somewhere along the way with all the kids and trying to will my marriage into working. And now I can sort of breathe again. I guess, in the end I found a way to let go.
But I won’t disparage my marriage. Because for a long time I was truly happy. I can’t speak for Rick. But I know we had a thousand million moments of laughter, and happiness over the years. We experienced that wonderment together as we brought babies into this word. There was no one I trusted in, respected or believed in more. And I won’t let the end take away from those years when we were unstoppable.
Will it continue to be hard as we navigate the future, separate but always connected? Yes.
Will it be okay? I’m sure of it. Okay, I’m pretty sure of it.
I don’t have any great takeaways from divorce. Maybe it’s too new?
But I leave you with this. If you ever see a mom of twins, please offer to hold one of her babies. You can tell her I insisted.
Buy waterproof mascara.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
And hold on to the ones you love, and let go of the ones you must.
I was recently watching a video of Rick and me – just before the birth of our first child Dylan. My friend Margo is filming and our dog Martini is going nuts mostly because she was nuts. We were on the edge of the craziest journey of a lifetime – parenthood. I watched that video several times looking for a moment. A clue. A something.
And I did the same when thinking about our wedding day. That exact moment I walked down the aisle at the Yale Club to Canon In D major. Was there a moment of regret? Of hesitation? Of anything?
I’ve never been more certain. Rick and I met in 1996. It was the early days of Fox News Channel. Damn, who was that hot boy in the newsroom? We went on one date. It was incredibly perfect the way some first dates can be.
But life pulled us in different directions and we ran into each other four years later. It was on the steps of the Stamford, Connecticut courthouse stairs. We were both covering the same murder trial.
Rick asked me on a second date. I agreed. Within 2 months, I had moved in with him. I knew this guy was it. It only took 2 months. Well, four years and two months.
Life is crazy. The way it seems to take forever and rush by at the same time. How did we get here, joined by five kids yet so torn apart? So how does a marriage fall apart?
I can only describe it as a million moments that somehow don’t go the right way. And you don’t really see it happening until it’s somehow beyond repair. Rick and I have been together for 19 years. I refuse to see that as a failure.
Rick introduced me to the beautiful religion of Judaism which will forever be a part of me and my children’s lives. He forever tied me to his gregarious, loving, boisterous family. He made this Connecticut girl truly appreciate the Jersey shore.
He will forever be an intricate part to some of the most wonderful days of my life… living in the west village where we walked city streets, ate at amazing restaurants, wore trendy leather pants and were pretty much the coolest we will ever be (other than that phase of the leather pants).
He taught my impatient self to take the time to really get to know people – from the doorman to the guy that works at the deli.
And he gave me the greatest gift of my life… five enormously well behaved, always polite and incredibly neat children. Or something like that.
If you had told me Rick and I would be one of those couples who wouldn’t make it, I would never have believed you. We wouldn’t end up like Brenda and Eddie. We were invincible.
But it turns out, we weren’t. And we can’t find our way back. It’s painful. And it isn’t easy. Not for me. Not for our kids. Not for our families.
But all of this does not negate what we built and what we have. It doesn’t take away that moment when Rick proposed on the roof of our building, in front of sweeping views of Central Park. It doesn’t take away the moment I said yes. Because even though I had trepidations about this lofty marriage thing, I didn’t have trepidations about Rick. I said yes in an instant and we forged onto the future.
I ask that you support us in this incredibly difficult process of “conscious uncoupling.” Especially if we promise to not use that phrase. Rick and I are forever tied and our lives will continue together in many ways.
I don’t know what a “successful marriage” means. I do know that I did the very best I could and I know Rick would say the same. Maybe some couples are meant forever and some couples aren’t. I really don’t know. I do know that what we had was love. And it was real. And for that I am truly grateful.
This post is sponsored by the Center for Parent and Teen Communication. All opinions are my own.
Parenting a teenager is kind of like trying to put together a piece of Ikea furniture. You know lots of people have accomplished it but you find yourself sitting on the floor, surrounded by chaos and probably weeping.
Yes, there is going to be crying. Yes, it’s more challenging than you thought. But by the end you have raised a confident, successful adult (or you have a slightly wobbly dresser). Either way, success!
The Center for Parent and Teen Communication is a great resource when you’re pretty positive you have no idea what your doing.
Like this article from Dr. Ken Ginsburg. He writes about an exercise where you remember the things you loved about your child during their younger years and you see how those same attributes are still present in the teen years. As Ginsburg says, “They are the little boys and girls you have always loved, now growing into young men and women. The path may occasionally be bumpy, but they remain as you have known them to be.”
Ginsburg seems smart so I try it…
THEN: My daughter Dylan at 4.
NOW: Dylan at 14.
She is brave and strong. She is the first to raise her hand in class and strongly argue her opinion. She know her true compass and she follows it. She is passionate about the rights of kids. She believes young people need to speak up and be heard. She tells me that one day she will be a Supreme Court Justice or a Pediatric Surgeon. Or maybe both. Why would she ever limit herself? She still loves art and being messy. Life is too short to spend one’s life cleaning instead of creating.
I recently went home for my 85th high school reunion. It was super fun.
I saw a bunch of old friends who I adore and even got some of our old band “Pink Lace” back together.
In full disclosure this high school band consisted of one of us playing the keyboard and the rest of us belting out “Big Shot” by Billy Joel. We were very serious about practicing our first night as an official band until we found out a less musically inclined friend was having a party so we abandoned our practice and well, the whole band sort of fell apart that night. We all have our Yoko Ono.
It was also really nice to see my mom. Over the summer, 5 year old Cash and I spent a week visiting my mother in Connecticut. And you really should visit her too. Why? Because she’s friendly, loving, nutty and well, read and you’ll see why.
1. The first morning I’m there, my mother comes tearing into my room at 7:30 AM and says, “CASH AND THE DOGS ARE MISSING!! THEY WERE OUT IN THE YARD PLAYING AND I CAME IN FOR A SIP OF COFFEE AND NOW THEY ARE GONE. I’M HEADED TO THE BEACH TO MAKE SURE THEY AREN’T THERE.” And with that, she runs out the front door, to make her way as quickly as possible to the beach.
For any of you who know Cash, this isn’t really an overreaction because this kid has ridden a NYC elevator by himself, was found hanging over a 5th floor balcony, slipped though jetty rocks, wandered down our street alone when he was about 2 years old and a bunch of other things I’ve suppressed. And by the way – all these things happened while we were trying really hard to keep tabs on him.
Back to the missing 5 year old boy and the two dogs. I did find them. They were in my mom’s 1st floor studio apartment that she sometimes rents out. When I opened the door, Cash said to me, “We were hiding from Nanny!”
I’m sure it was the dogs’ idea.
2. Waking up in my mom’s house was sort of like living in an aviary. Every morning I would hear a tremendous amount of chirping.
At first, I thought – wow, there must be a tree very close to the house. But the sound of baby birds was so persistent that I finally investigated. I’m very Enyclopedia Brown like that. And there it was – a bird nest right next to the air conditioner outside my bedroom window.
Huh. Well, the birds were there before me so I figured I could live with a little chirping. It’s actually not that bad living in an aviary. I’m sure way better than a reptile house.
3. My mom will let you put this octopus hat on her.
4. My mom and I went to a clothing store and she decided to try on a few things. In their stock room. Even once we clarified for her that she wasn’t in the actual changing rooms, she was completely undeterred.
My mom doesn’t sweat the small stuff. And the sales girl wasn’t messing with a 70 something year-old woman who was changing in the stock room. So if my mom ever walks into your shop, don’t mess with her.
5. My mother consistently breaks out one of her favorite t-sbirts, “I just want to drink coffee and pet my dogs.” Obviously a crowd pleaser. But this trip my mom broke out a brand new shirt…
Yup. Dirty dancing. Why? I’m not sure. But I’m guessing because nobody puts baby in a corner.
(This is a sponsored post for Custom Ink Fundraising.)
I’ve alway considered myself to be a bit of a fashion designer. This is mostly based on the fact that I’ve watched a lot of episodes of Project Runway and I have an unused sewing machine in the basement. But then came along an opportunity to design a real actual shirt.
And look what I designed!
A pretty cute kids shirt, right? And no Heidi Klum or sewing needles required!
I did it through Custom Ink which makes it easy to design and sell apparel/accessorties so you can raise money and awareness for good causes.
I love a company that is focused on doing good things. Founded in August 2013, Custom Ink Fundraising has helped people raise over 50 million dollars for incredible causes.
I’m raising money for the Plastic Pollution Coalition which is working to clean up our oceans and reduce our reliance on plastic. Because plastic packaging is overwhelming our planet.
I mean.. you know that scary fish quote.
By 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish.
And it’s toxic to human health. We can pretend that it’s not happening but it is. And it’s so gross.
I’m selling my kids t-shirt over at Custom Ink for only $95. Okay, seriously. They are only $25. For two weeks only because you know limited editions sell like hotcakes. And the proceeds go directly to the nonprofit. Plus, there’s no up-front costs or risks.
It was super easy to design and set up my fundraiser and obviously you could do this for any cause. The Custom Ink Design Lab gives you free access to a library of fonts and over 70,000 pieces of art. You can also upload your own artwork, photo or logo.
Now if you’re not a talented designer like me and Michael Kors, the team at Custom Ink will help you do it. How awesome is that?! Plus they gladly and quickly answered all my dumb questions.
So back to my cause – saving the world. I have never quite understood why we are so intent on destroying something so beautiful.
If every one of us could do something small…. start recycling (I’m talking to my friend Jaime K.), actually bring those reusable bags to the market, use a reusable water bottle, say no to plastic bags and support causes that help protect and clean up the environment.
Imagine if we all did something, how much would actually get done.
If you feel like saving the environment today, please consider buying my cute t-shirt for the cute kid in your life.
(This is a sponsored post for Custom Ink Fundraising.)