Today Messi and I were working on a wooden birdhouse. I had saved some of our old Washington license plates for just such a project. Unfortunately, I knew they were in my damp basement, which is home to all sorts of critters and creeps me out to no end. So, after Messi and Bolt were unable to locate the license plates, I ventured downstairs. Before my ex left I had asked him to clean up the basement, which he had been promising to do since a water pipe burst a year ago. He said he cleaned it up and, for the most part, he had. However, on the search for the license plates we found a whole area which had been neglected, including a damp box of photo albums. As the box disintegrated in my hands, the albums fell to the cement floor. In that box were the photo albums of the first years of our marriage, our wedding guest book, and his old baby book and childhood photos. His photos were damp, but mostly salvageable. The other albums were a soggy, moldy mess. The irony was not lost on me. I chucked the evidence of our first happy years, before he started cheating on me, into the trash. There are days I wish I could do the same with my memories. The reality is, though, that affairs are messy and brutally painful. While he moved out and basically tried to shut a door on the past 14 years, I am left holding the sopping, moldy mess of our shared history. I am hurting, my sons are hurting, meanwhile he jumped into a new relationship with her and a whole bunch of kids, seemingly not grieving the loss of my sons and I. I wouldn’t trade places with him, though. I would much rather be left cleaning up the mess and rebuilding my life than pretending like it never happened. I am a product of my past, but I want to learn from it and build on it. So, while I may have thrown away years of evidence of the best years in my marriage, it is still part of me and of that I have no regrets.