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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.

31 Responses to the text that changed my life

  • Maria Perez says:

    Just wanted to send you a virtual hug ((Un fuerte abrazo)). At a rough time in my life my distraction was reading blogs and yours was one of them. I think you only had 2 little ones then and as I scrolled down that picture showing how grown and beautiful they all are took my breath away.
    Be well.
    Be happy.
    Life’s much too short not to.

  • Karen Palmer Bland says:

    Kelcey – I am so sorry to hear that it’s been so rough – LOVE YOU – please email me so we can connect! XOXO

  • Vanessa says:

    Thank you for sharing. You are so real and it’s so easy to connect with your words and you because of it. Thank you for being open and funny and vulnerable and real. It is so refreshing and just what the world needs more of.

  • Ilene Folbaum says:

    I cried reading your post and knowing how genuine every word was. I will forever miss the unstoppable couple you were but I know you will always be unstoppable parents and terrific human beings. Love you.

  • Olivia Rodrigues says:

    Wow! What a post. You got me chocked up. Onwards and upwards. Really missed your blog posts and such a lovely surprise to see on my emails. Welcome back. The kids have grown and absolutely precious. You got this!!! Keep shining always. Love and Hugs Cape Town South Africa

  • Kerri Paquette says:

    I have followed you on your journey for a very long time! Your family is beautiful, just like you. You are strong and so very capable, even if it means putting the plastic in the dishwasher :)! The kids will grow up so quickly. It is hard to believe my 7 little ones aren’t little anymore. My oldest is a nurse and has 4 children (and an ex from her first son) and is now married to a wonderful man. My daughter with multiple learning challenges (we were told she would never learn to read or write or do math so to apply for disability as she would never work) is now co-manager of on of the largest Home Hardware’s in Canada and teaches riding lessons, has her driver’s license and has a small farm with her boyfriend and has cows and chickens and her horses. My 3rd is and Early Childhood Educator and has 2 children, one born during COVID. My fourth graduated with his Business Commerce Degree in Finance and is working at a Car Rental agency. My identical twins are in their 3rd year of their Nursing Degree! They live with my husband in a city 1.5 hours away. He comes home on weekends. My youngest is 17!!! He also works at Home Hardware (not hired by his sister). He wants to be a carpenter and helped build our chicken coop this year and has done many more projects too. The non-profit I worked for has closed due to COVID and my health issues have lead to me being unable to work. That has been a challenge financially and emotionally. But we will manage. You will mange too and you will be a great mom to your amazing kids!! Hugs!!!

  • G Knudson says:

    I’ve always looked forward to your posts and was wondering how you were doing after the divorce. Life is overcoming one thing after another and we have to make the best of what we have. I’m so glad you are able to move on and be happy again. Nothing wrong with memories but it’s always better to live in the now rather then the past. Best to you and your gorgeous family. My goodness the kids are looking so grownup.

  • susan kintner says:

    honey this is beautiful-so honest, so tender, so raw, so gracious. You are a fighter and you move on-gently. Your children are magnificent and they know they are deeply loved. I love you, m

  • Fran kasen says:

    Dear Kelce, Whatever form it takes, you and Rick have created a fabulous family with extraordinary children. Obviously somethings worked very well. I’ve enjoyed your writing from the very start. Your words of wisdom and humor entertained and inspired so many of us. Love to your gang! 🥰

  • Sam says:

    Love you Kelc. Beautifully articulated. Divorce is hell, you helped me through mine so many years ago and I’m sorry for yours. But there is so much light at the end of the tunnel! Btw I’m hoping for a West Village Mum’s Playgroup reunion before our kids graduate from university! I wish we still lived half a block from each other.

  • Such a pleasant surprise to get your blog post in my inbox. Thanks for being you and willing to put your life on display for all of us. I’m glad you are through the darkest of days. It takes time to ‘redefine yourself’ but it does get there. (At least I speak from being a widow, which I’ve been told divorce is right up there.). The kids are so grown up and all beautiful. You have to be such a proud mama bird. To help with your finances, you should write a book. You’ve got a talent with words that the world needs to read! ❤️

  • Liz McGuire says:

    This is so beautiful and gracious and strong–just like you. Also, can we take a moment to praise the fact that you got all 5 kids to smile in the same direction for that photo?? xoxo

  • Rachel Bernstein says:

    Always beautiful, heartfelt and poignant. I’m so sorry for how things turned out, but I’ve no doubt better days are ahead of you. Sending ❤️ and hugs.

  • Debbie Botwin says:

    So nice to see your name pop up again. Your kids are so grown up and beautiful. I’m sorry you’ve been going through so much – but you’ve got this. Hope you’ll continue writing.

  • Alexandra Goveia says:

    Fantastic writing, as always. An honest and beautiful piece that had me captivated. Nothing will ever change the fact that you are a brilliant writer. I wish I could have physically been there to hand wash the plastic and watch the kids while you peed. I truly hope that soon I can be there to enjoy time with the woman I’ve always known and loved, pre- and post-divorce.

  • Thank you for the note from the inside. It sounds incredible real and raw and you embody resilience. Keep on cranking (as if you have a choice). Looks like a lot of love with those kids…

  • Cheryl says:

    Glad to see you back here, and that you’re doing well. I’ve always loved your writing.

    My husband and I separated after 18 years in August, so I’m still in the thick of it. I’m really looking forward to the other side. Wishing you all the best.

  • Julia Marques says:

    Hi Kelcey. Sorry to hear all the pain you have been through but you are way tough and you got this! Happy to see another great post from you. xoxo

  • Kevin says:

    Kelcey,I remember babysitting for you and my daughter in New Haven while your mom was in graduate school at Yale.I knew then that you would make a big dent in life and so you have.A talented woman,a great mom and yes a good partner.Lots to go .Best wishes on the next part.Kevin

  • jill s sherman says:

    Kelcey, Your words are so beautiful and articulate as always. So real, so honest. They made me feel sad but then so happy and touched that you are feeling the feeling of happiness again. Life is like that. I think having faith and trust that we are all on a path of learning and growing and the “take-away” is what brings us into the next experience. I only hope for happiness for you and your beautiful family. I will be sending positive thoughts to you, I hope you feel them. LOVE and HUGS, Jill

  • Avani says:

    You are strong and amazing! I’ve been reading your blog for such a long time (and unfortunately had that same van gogh print you once mentioned in my apartment too and got rid of it when we moved!). Can’t believe how much your kids have grown – such a beautiful family. You got this!!

  • It sounds like you’re handling it beautifully, for want of a better adverb. One of my friends who divorced said that just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you didn’t spend umpteen years together, sharing your lives. That doesn’t all just disappear.

    Your kids are all so big and gorgeous! Your marriage produced a beautiful family – that doesn’t just disappear either. God bless you and hang in there!

  • Nancy Walton says:

    I join with all of your other friends and supporters in acknowledging what a strong, caring, reflective, and insightful young (yes you are!) woman you are, Kelcey. I too was happy to find an email telling me you had written another blog post and as expected, it was 100% genuine you: full of truth and love, something we all need more of in these trying times. That you have produced and are raising children who are beautiful inside and out is a testament to just how important you are to be here, at this time, not only to parent them, but through that process to shine your bright in the world with your exquisite words and photos. Being the mama bird that you are, there is a future payoff coming: those five baby birds will always have your back. You will know that and value it the most when you are much older, but your last photo shows that you recognize that it’s happening now. You are surrounded with love and you deserve it.

    P.S. I second your friend Rhonda Sparks’ suggestion. You should write a book, or rather, you already have thanks to your dedicated blogging over the years. You just need to put them in manuscript form and put it out to the world. Your light continues to shine. ❤️

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kelcey kintner