When the grenade was launched into life a few months ago, I suddenly found myself with a racing mind and heart. Interestingly, I found myself full of stories about the journey the boys and I are in, some of heartache, but also of humor. I hope to chronicle the ups and downs of this unexpected detour.
March 23. The day that the world I thought I knew flipped upside down. I don’t remember a lot about that day. I remember I got this fun elephant mug from The Rainforest Site and I took the picture you see here and put in on Instagram.
I remember talking with my hubby about my grad school assignment (I am studying for a Master of Public Health) and getting excited about our ideas on how to change the healthcare system. I also remember that I had recently lost some weight and was debating on whether to share it with him, but I did anyway. It was a normal day…or was it? I am sure one of the boys had soccer and the evening was probably chaotic. Then I remember getting in bed and my hubby and I were actually going to bed at the same time, which had been a rarity of late. I remember him laying flat on his back and feeling the ocean between us as I watched our big, fat cat, Tigger, jump on his chest. It used to be that I would lay on his chest for a few minutes as we talked of our days and he would rub my back, but as I looked over at him that night, I didn’t feel welcome to do so. I tried to chat for a few minutes, but something was wrong, so I turned on my right side (the way I always slept) and felt my heart begin pounding in my chest and this question burst out of my subconscious into present moment and I asked him “are you cheating on me?”. My heart was beating rapidly at this point as I waited for the answer. It didn’t take him long to respond with “do you really want to talk about this right now?” (a frequent response to my need for late night conversations) to which I responded something like “yes, now is as good as time as any”. He then made the strangest comment, “I have never cheated on you in Pennsylvania and in response to your question from a few months ago, the answer is yes, I want a divorce”.
What went on for the next few hours were tearful conversations with my dad and crying and confusion and then returning to the bedroom and asking him to leave the room as I thought and processed. I then figured out a time and way for us to go to therapy and I went up to the office where he was sleeping and told him of my plan, to which he responded “no, It’s over” over and over again. Finally, I looked at him with complete clarity and said, “there’s another woman, isn’t there?” and he said “yes”. It took minutes more to get out of him who it was and it shocked me…it was someone I had known casually for years, who lived across the country, was married and had lots of children (lots, as in more than 10), and also the woman who coordinated our adoption 7 and ½ years ago. He then told me that he was leaving me for her.
I don’t remember the timeline of the next 24 hours or so, but I do know that I tried to sleep and finally gave up and finished an assignment that was due in 2 days (don’t ask me how I did it) and then got up and tearfully got ready for my ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) class that I HAD to do that morning and as I left, I told him that he and she were ruining 20 lives between our two immediate families. I cried all the way there and talked to my family and best friend on the way home and later called to say I couldn’t work that weekend, but it is all a little foggy. That evening we plugged the boys in with a video game or movie while we hashed out the story and details and his plans. It turns out he thought he could take one of our sons (our more “challenging” one) and then let the other one choose who to live with while he had her move out here with some of her kids and move in with him. I am not sure on what planet he thought taking one or both of our sons and moving them in with the other woman and some of her many kids, was a good idea, especially considering most of our kids were adopted. So, ultimately, I gave him a few options – move out to a place on his own and we would share custody 50/50, have her move out here with some of her kids and I would have custody, but he could come spend evenings with them and weekends while I worked, or move to be with her and I would retain physical custody of our sons. Surprisingly, he chose the latter…and he made this decision less than 24 hours after we started the discussion.
The rest of the weekend, I spent in tearful conversations with family and friends. My first instinct was to return to the West Coast, where we had relocated from just two years prior. However, after talking with the boys and family and friends, I was reminded on how well the boys were doing here and why we had relocated in the first place (more on that later). So, I made the difficult decision to remain in Pennsylvania, a place where I had developed few friends and didn’t know where we would get the support needed to continue.