Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Unhappy Anniversary

Yesterday should have been my 13th wedding anniversary.

Instead I spent the day remembering that happy Friday in February when we tied the knot at the local Town Hall. It was a sunny day, the weather was mild and we were joined by family and friends to celebrate our day. We were full of hopes for our marriage and plans for the future and very much in love.

Seven years later, almost to the day, my husband packed his bags and left our home. Our girls were just 3 and 6 and they just didn't understand where Daddy was going and why he wouldn't be tucking them up in bed that night, or any other night. They cried themselves to sleep for weeks afterwards and I encouraged the tears. They needed to cry, as did I, and let the emotion out instead of letting it stagnate and fester for years to come.

I spent hours over consecutive nights massaging my eldest daughter's feet because it relaxed her. As I massaged the warm fragrant oil into her feet she sobbed almost non-stop. Then she would start to yawn and I knew I could carry her to bed because sleep might be a little closer for her. My youngest daughter reverted to a babylike state, which a psychologist friend informed me was her way of feeling safe, but all the same was heartbreaking to witness.

The three of us spent many nights all squashed together in my bed. One after the other they would find their way into my room in the middle of the night and slide between the covers. They needed to know I was still there.

Slowly, slowly our lives took on a new routine. New rules, new dynamics, a new normality.

Somehow I managed to deal with most of it with a smile and a joke. "I was happily married for 4 years....unfortunately the marriage lasted for 7." Boom boom! Most people would never have guessed how low I got, or how isolated I felt. Admitting that you are lonely or scared or afraid gets harder as you get older, and the fear of being judged or - worse - pitied was enough to make me put a brave face on everything.

I had planned to celebrate my decree absolute with champagne, a toast to freedom and a new life. But when I opened the buff envelope containing the papers I was overwhelmed by the feelings of sadness and loss. A future I had planned as part of a couple had been lost, and there was a tangible feeling of failure. Failure to make my marriage work. Failure to live the life I had planned as part of our family.

So, here I am. Instead of celebrating 13 years old marriage I am marking 6 years of being a single parent. I can hardly believe it's that many years since he left, and yet it seems to have passed so quickly. I wonder what the next 6 years will bring?


darla said...

Sometimes it is harder to let go of the dream than it is the actual person. The person has flaws, faults, the dream remains *perfect* and out of our reach.

I have no easy answer as you can see. I'd give you a hug if I were there tho.


Anonymous said...

I hope the next 6 years bring happiness, independence and success for you and your wonderful family.
Oh, and you ARE supermum...

lunarossa said...

The next 6 years will be wonderful, believe me! The worst is all behind you. You've achieved so much and you've grown so much. You don't need that man to cheer you up or bring you down. You are independent and very strong because of your girls, even though you don't always feel like that. Remember that it wasn't all bad, you had your most precious gifts out of the relationship: your lovely daughters. Although I don't know you personally I feel like proud of you and you should, actually MUST be as well. Big hugs. Ciao. Antonella

Nicola said...

My heart goes out to you and your daughers and all you have been through. Thank you for sharing and sending big hugs and kisses to you and your gorgeous girls. And also the biggest joys and laughter for the next 6 years. You deserve them. xxx

notSupermum said...

Darla, thank you - you're absolutely right, it's losing the dream that is hardest. Thanks for the virtual hug x

Tessa, no it's not the path I would have chosen but you have to just get on with it don't you?

More than a mother - thanks for your good wishes. I wish for them also!

Antonella, yes my daughters were the best part of the marriage and I am forever grateful for the chance to have them. Thanks for your lovely comments.

Nicola, thanks for your kind words. It's not all bad being a single parent, just not what I wanted to be.

La Belette Rouge said...

Let me say that this post is another reason that I am voting for a name change for your blog. You are a superMum and a superWoman. Really beautiful and sad post. I hope that the next 6 years are filled with love, fulfillment and great joy.

notSupermum said...

La belette, thank you, you're very kind. However, the name comes from me constantly saying to my girls "hang on, I'm not Supermum!"
when they impatiently wait for me to do something. It just makes me laugh really.

And thanks for the good wishes for the future.

Yummy Mummy said...

You should look back on these six years and know that any pain that your girls went through is better than spending six years with two parents who just shouldn't be together any more. Your girls are going to grow up to be strong and independent women just like you who will hopefully find a man who will love that the most in them.

I wish i could find a way to make things easier for you or to make you see just how fabulous you are......

hugs from across the pond.


Yummy Mummy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yummy Mummy said...

Sorry for my double post and then the delete. Maybe too many glasses of red wine prior to my commenting?


notSupermum said...

YM/Robin, thanks so much for your comment. You always say something that really touches me, and I really appreciate your support. Thanks x

grumpyoldwoman said...

My marriage lasted 17 years - and was only happy for about 6 months. I feel I wasted so many of my best years on someone who didnt deserve me. Now I have a wonderful man who also was married for a long time (nearly 30 years in his case) to the wrong person. You are who you are because of the things you have lived through - and you are really lovely. Dont be sad - be hopeful about the future - someone will snap you up when the time is right. Its not a lost cause.

notSupermum said...

Grumpyoldwoman, thanks for your comment. I'm glad you've found happiness now after so long of being unhappy, and it does me give hope for the future.

notSupermum said...

Michelle, thank you that's very sweet of you to say so. I do my best and just hope that's enough!

The Writing Instinct said...

To be able to express these thoughts and feelings is a testament to the strong and amazing woman you are, and the wonderful role model your daughters have. They are lucky indeed. You literally massaged the grief out of them and they are the better for it. All the best for yours and your children's future.
Lots of love,

Kayleigh said...

I'm with La Bellette, and I've said it before -- you ARE a super mum, no doubt. You are a strong woman and an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your thoughts & feelings about this.

Oh, and here's a few hugs, just for good measure ((((((NotSupermum))))))))