making room

There are a lot of terrible things about getting divorced. Although I am very lucky to be part of a positive, consciously uncoupled, respectful and friendly co-parenting situation that we have both worked hard to develop and maintain, there are still a lot of things to get used to. From the word go, the thought of not having Miss L for days in a row was absolutely devastating. I dreaded that separation and imagined long, lonely days in an empty house, so I stockpiled lots of projects to keep me busy.

This now seems a little funny. Nothing is as traumatic as it seemed like it would be. Miss L is an example and an inspiration – she is happy and excited to go to her dad’s house and seeing her so positive and well-adjusted, and knowing that she just loves spending time with both of us in different ways, has been the biggest relief. I barely have time to do the housework and laundry, the yard work, grocery shopping and meal prep, much less complex knitting projects, half marathon training, furniture restoration, learning to swim or writing that novel. I try to do a lot of chores on the days that Miss L is with her daddy so that when she’s with me, I have everything organized and more time to relax and have fun. But I usually end up working longer hours to make up for the days when I dash out early to beat commuter traffic to pick her up; I come home feeling drained. I do more sleeping and staying in pajamas and crash out for naps at the drop of a hat. I’m not sure if this is psychological or physical or if I just need to kick my own butt. I’m hoping this is a passing phase that will correct itself as I get used to the schedule, but right now I’m just rolling with it.

I have a four-bedroom house and for the last couple of years the two back bedrooms have been a staging area for GB’s things and other stuff that we just don’t know what to do with or haven’t gotten around to recycling or tossing. This weekend, when Miss L was with GB, I finally roused myself sufficiently to start cleaning out one of the rooms. I’m relieved to have a workable spare bedroom again. The room itself is in terrible shape and needs a complete makeover – wallpaper stripped, repainting, floors refinished, baseboards and toe boards redone, new closet doors, window treatments – but I start getting tired whenever I think about that. Having it clean and organized with a comfy made-up bed feels like a major accomplishment, even though my upstairs hall is now filled with trash bags and piles of boxes. It feels like I am moving into a new place, as though I never fully occupied this space before now, even though my name has been on the mortgage for almost eight years.

As I combed through the bookshelf and the closet, it felt like going through a museum of my life. I went through my knitting stash, photographs and scrapbooks. I took books down from the shelves and made piles for Goodwill and it was funny to set things aside. The books about law school prep, Australia travel and restaurant guides, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum depression – those were all huge phases of my life and those books are well-thumbed and now I don’t need them any more and never will again. Now replaced with books about surviving divorce, finances for the single woman, creating happy homes at mom’s house and dad’s house. The knitting books and running books went to higher shelves, still to be used, but not as often as they once were. There is room on the shelves for new books now, and I am excited to see what they will be. Raising a teenager, dating as a single mom, maybe biking or mountain climbing, who knows. Right now all I have the energy for is a hot bath and a nap!

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