Tonight I say goodbye to my 30’s. This has been a hard year in so many ways, but also a very transformative year for me. I stood up for myself and what I needed for the first time in years. I stopped being someone I wasn’t, and went back to appreciating the person I am (most of the time). It has been really difficult for many reasons: saying goodbye to what I thought would be a forever relationship; understanding that I’m not an inherently terrible person but a woman with both good qualities as well as faults; allowing myself to understand that my decisions aren’t selfish but will, in the end, make me a better parent and a more complete person.
Since Wednesday, I’ve been on what I know will be the last vacation we will ever take as a family of four. Most of the weekend, I’ve been in survival mode. I’ve tried my best to get along with my soon-to-be ex-husband, and it hasn’t always been easy. But today I let myself go a little bit and just enjoy the ocean and my kids and even their father’s company. I teased him about a woman he found attractive on the beach, sending our cute younger son to ask what her tattoo was and then giggling with him about it when he got embarrassed.
We came home to a dog crate (and dog) full of what my nurse mother politely would refer to as “loose stool”, and had to figure out how to unload the car and shower 3 kids and a dog. Ordered pizza for dinner and it took over an hour and a half to arrive. We, as a family, made the best of it. We laughed and ate leftover tacos and had a mini whipped cream food fight. I made the kids laugh when I made ecstatic noises while eating my pizza, my almost 10 year old telling his father, “there’s something wrong with your wife.”
I just watched him put our kids to bed for the last time in this house, which belongs to my family, knowing this is the last night he will spend here. No matter how much he drives me into the ground; no matter how much of myself I lost during this relationship, I have gained these two beautiful, intense, precocious children that are part of him as well as me, and that means I can never hate him or blame him for how things have turned out. I simply fell out of love and realized that this will never be a relationship that fulfills me. And that’s ok. These moments are incredibly difficult, but also necessary for both of us to grow as people.
I know our kids are going to have a tough upcoming year. I know it will be hard on me, and still harder on their dad. But I also know that despite how bittersweet this moment is, on the eve of my 40th birthday, it’s necessary and I’m right where I need to be. In this house, with these people, looking forward to what life may bring us all in the future.