splitting up together

Finding The Magic In The Messiness Of Splitting Up Together

Finding The Magic In The Messiness Of Splitting Up Together

Splitting up together. Bird nesting. Giving the kids custody of our family home.

However you choose to phrase it, this is what we decided to do as a family when my husband of 25 years and I split up.

I loved the premise of nesting as soon as I heard about it.

Let’s Talk About The Stupid, Jerkface Language Of Divorce

Let’s Talk About The Stupid, Jerkface Language Of Divorce

I’m struggling with the words that go along with divorce.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve even said the word divorce out loud. I’ve only written it. I just doesn’t feel right to me – it doesn’t feel like it describes us or our family’s situation.

We didn’t even want to use it when we told our kids, and I didn’t use it when I told my side of the family. I think I mostly say that we are splitting up. But why? Why does it bother me so much?

For the most part, I think it’s because…

To My Husband, At The End Of Our 25-Year Marriage

I took my wedding ring off today.

Not to send a message to you — or to anyone else for that matter. I did it as an act of self-love. As another punctuation mark. Punctuating the completion of our marriage.

And it does feel complete.

It feels sort of odd that I didn’t take the ring off to mark an ending — as much as I did it to mark a new beginning. For me. For you. For our family.

I thought about just changing the hand I wear it on, to signify how our love as a family is still there but now it just looks different. But that didn’t feel quite right. Because we will always be a family, whether there is a ring or not.

And when I did take it off, I felt nothing but gratitude…

Thank you. For always being such an amazing provider for our family. And for giving me the incredible kids that we have. (Don’t make me go into the ugly cry over those lovely humans we created…)

Thank you for making it possible for me to stay home with the babies — when I never-in-a-million-years thought I would stay home with the babies. And thank you for always understanding how conflicted I felt about putting my career on hold — but also for seeing how much my heart wanted to hold those squishy-baby years tight and never let them go.

Thank you for always supporting me in every whim I ever had…even if you were rolling your eyes on the inside. (Because my third eye still saw everything you thought I didn’t see.)

Thank you for loving my family as your own. For still wanting to take my parents to doctor appointments, celebrate special occasions as a group, and do big family things together, for as long as it works for both of us.

Thank you for whole-heartedly agreeing to this “nesting” thing that is weird and messy and weird and uncomfortable and weird and tricky — because you want to make this transition as easy on the kids as possible. Even if it seems a bit weird. And even if it means we are the ones who are inconvenienced.

Thank you for being my Imago. We did an amazing job of bringing each other’s crap up and looking it straight in the eye. (After trying to avoid it as long as humanly possible.) I know I was just as gifted at bringing up your greatest fears and issues as you were mine. Bless our hearts.

Thank you for bringing our marriage to completion in the most conscious and loving way possible — for the kids and for us. And for being just as averse to “the D word” as I am.

Thank you for offering to help me with moving and assembling and doing the heavy lifting. I appreciate it all more than you know. Even if I didn’t take you up on it. It still meant a lot.

Thank you for still wanting to take family vacations, and for using your hotel reward points to book hotels for dance competitions. You have always been more than generous.

There is so much you have done — still do — and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Even making me a meal and bringing me a cup of coffee or tea when we are all together at the house. I see it all…and I see you. And your giant heart.

When I took the ring off today, I also thought about the vows I would say to you now. Is that a thing? Divorce vows? Because if not, it should be. (Even if we don’t like to say that word.)

My vows to you would be no surprise…

I promise to always put our kids and family first, no matter what.

I promise to be just as much of a pain-in-the-ass in the future as I always was as your wife. That means I will keep pushing the armchair over toward the fireplace every time you pull it away from the wall. And I will straighten All The Things that need straightening when they aren’t how they should be. And I will close all the doors and cabinets that are left open all the live-long day. Probably with more force than necessary.

I promise to start taking turns with the late-night teenager pickups…at least until she can drive herself in a few months.

I promise to continue loving your family as much as you love mine. Because they are amazing.

I promise to keep being a freak about decluttering and cleaning our family home as much as always…and I appreciate you doing even more than you always did, ever since I started working full time.

I promise to be just as much of a slacker on all the details as I always was. We make a good team when it comes to forgetting special weeks at school or appointments or who’s picking up which kid from where. (At least some things won’t change!)

I promise to share all of our friends — I would never make any of our friends or family choose between us.

I promise to honor you and your journey, and I honestly wish you nothing but happiness and big love and lots of joy.

(That sounds so funny to me — like I’m not going to see you in 10 minutes when I take our girl to dance and you head out to pick up the boy from school.)

I know this all still feels really, really, really weird. But thank you for doing all you can to make it not feel like a Big, Scary Thing that neither one of us wants it to be — for us or for our kids. I promise to do the same.

And I still wish you joy and bliss — and happiness with someone who’s even more loving and badass than I am.

Photo by Hunter Newton on Unsplash