We are on the beginnings of our week long spring break…the kids are gallivanting outdoors enjoying the warm spring weather with their neighborhood friends. Last night we enjoyed a BBQ with the neighbors roasting hotdogs and bratwurst on the grill. Tonight we have a “Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt” on the agenda. I enjoy the neighbors. They are very nice. They are even renting us the house they own downtown after this one sells (hopefully soon) They have two children around the ages of my own, and they are like siblings to each other. Unfortunately I have the “third wheel” feeling when I’m with them more often than not…and I miss my group of friends down south that I only get to see once a year or so now.
I don’t have a great connection with my neighbor. She and I don’t see eye to eye on several topics, but we share our highs and lows with one another when it suits us. I would help her out if she needed me, and I know she would do the same for me. Our kids have great rapport with each other as they fit in nicely like a set of close cousins might. So it is like family in a place where I have none to speak of…
With all the moves in the past seven years, it has been difficult laying down roots. I have always wanted the “traditions” of family that I never quite got growing up. I wasn’t close to my father’s parents (who lived close) and my mother’s parents were half a world away. My sister and I have never gotten along much of my life – she has always seen me as the “favored child” and she is a victim minded person. Now with thousands of miles between us, it is easy to not keep in touch. At all. I’ve gotten over not having her in my life, though having a relationship with a sibling that I feel connected to would be enjoyable.
I have always been of the mind that friends were your “chosen” family…and I chose easily and freely to create a family type existence around me. I have had many groups of friends throughout the places we’ve lived, never really finding it difficult to make relationships with people. Community springing up from various activities or organizations I was a part of and finding those like minded people with which to connect.
In the early days, there were moms in a “Moms Group”, from preschool, from my part-time job, at church, from the neighborhood. Then as the kids grew up, from their school, the PTA, their extra curricular activities, and sometimes even families my ex worked with…
Then we moved.
It was hard starting over. I didn’t feel like I fit in to the new place. But the kids were still young, and I sought out relationships in all the same places as before. Relationships built and solidified as my marriage crumbled around me. My husband worked while the kids and I enjoyed the new “chosen” family we found in the community we joined at church. There were kids ranging from younger than mine to older. The parents were all great people, involved in their kids lives and varied from stay at home moms like me, to professors and editors, to your blue collar service jobs. We all came together easily and shared our lives openly with each other. The other parents were surrogates for my kids…and I was becoming closer with their kids and the parents equally. We fit. We were accepted. We were happy. My marriage was crumbling, but I felt more accepted and loved than I had in a long time. It gave me strength.
Then we moved.
I knew this placement was temporary, the city was nowhere I wanted to remain. We couldn’t really afford the kind of house/lifestyle we wanted our kids to be raised in in this new location. We lived in a townhouse with no yard to speak of. My husband worked more and retreated more. I complained more and became more sullen. This placement lasted a year. We befriended several neighbor families and the year we lived there was manageable…though by now I didn’t really know my husband any longer. He was like a stranger to me. We didn’t ever really do things together. We didn’t share our lives. We didn’t share our bed. We didn’t share much of anything. I was lost and grasping. I was worried for my kids. I was depressed that this was not the way I had hoped my life would be…nor how I had hoped my kids would be raised. I was angry and resentful. I wondered when it was going to be “my turn”!
Then we moved.
I hand-picked the new place. Close enough to commute (even if 50 miles) yet far enough away that it WASN’T the city. We could afford a house here. A house with a yard. We could choose to stay and make roots. The kids were getting older now, they needed the stability of “HOME”. Was it FINALLY my turn? Would we finally get the house I’d dreamt of making memories and creating traditions in? Could we decorate and live inside the four walls and create a “home”? Make it our own? Start a garden? Set up in our new found community?
The first year here was tumultuous. We rented when the house we made an offer on fell through. I made friends in the neighborhood, but we knew we were leaving the neighborhood once we bought. Not to mention, I wasn’t much of a friend by this time. I was so far gone about my family. I spent many hours playing mindless games on the computer and going through the motions of being a mom and all the responsibilities I held with running our home in the absence of a partner.
I remember Fourth of July in the new community (a mere two weeks after moving in). We were invited to the neighbors, but my husband was just getting home from a trip…I had visions of neighborhood BBQs and the kids frolicking in the neighborhood; riding their bikes between friends’ houses. Making friendships that could continue to our final resting place once we found it. We were watching our new neighbors set the sky to light. I texted my husband to tell him where we were and hoped that he would join us. Expected it actually. But what was I thinking? Didn’t I realize how exhausted he was and that he didn’t want to schmooze with neighbors or be bothered to see the kids when he got home. It was ugly. I knew then, things were so far gone.
Then we moved.
We finally found a house to buy. It was my DREAM house!! I imagined all the things we COULD have done if we had just had this house from the beginning…the “chosen” family we would make and invite over to share in our “home”.
One month after moving in, one week before I started a new full time job, the bomb dropped. He was with her. Had been for some time now. Before I even knew I had a job, before I even found the house, before I even convinced him to buy it.
Making friends or solidifying relationships after a bomb like that…well, needless to say, it isn’t easy. So here I am on Easter Sunday wishing I had that community down south to rub on my wounds like a healing salve. I miss them and I wish I had more choice in my life circumstances. Now I just feel lonely and like an interloper in someone else’s life. A life I didn’t want.
And now we make motions to move.
Because this amazing family home that I fell in love with, it can’t belong to someone without a true family. I can’t afford it or keep up with all the responsibility it holds. My life is not that dream any longer. So the last thing to be removed of my hoped for life will be gone in a few months time.
And hopefully in time I can again create that “chosen” family I need so desperately to help heal my wounds and create a buffer around my kids and I of love and support.
I had family home and community that DID provide all those things you yearn for. When the separation occurred, I clung onto the family home and community I had spent thirty years as I did not want to throw away all that I had striven for. Yet all of that has now gone sour. I hate running into people that knew us as a couple and I hate being reminded of the ‘happy memories’ that live like ghosts in my home. I have decided that to really find peace, I must move and start afresh. I need to begin again. Wherever I choose, that will be the base for my children and I will be the stability that I crave.
You said “I have always wanted the “traditions” of family.” Now is the chance for you to make that ‘dream’ come true. My belief is that you are better placed to provide this on your own because you can make all the rules and create all the traditions, as many and as often as you like.
I can only imagine your pain Elizabeth, and I’m sure at times it must seem insurmountable. I don’t envy the position your ex put you in…or the life alteration that you have had to work through. I am blessed in so many regards that I have had my situation the way that it is…I need to stop crying about it and move forward to create what I can of my life as it is now. My own personal pity party must conclude. You’re a strong woman, and I find strength and support in your words of encouragement and the example you set of what it means to be a woman going through this ordeal. Your children are your blessing, as are mine, but your resilience is also a blessing and admirable for those who have followed your journey. Thank you.
Thanks for your kind reply and encouragement of me. I really do appreciate it. 🙂
I hope that you move & build yourself a new community which is inherently just yours because you can love and nurture if without your energies soaked up by a loveless man. X
Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂 Making my own path with my own rules and my own choices is liberating…can’t wait to be out from under the house responsibilities and the last tie I have with the ex (besides the kids of course!)