Tuesday, December 26, 2006

One Foot in Front of the Other

Well, the weekend is officially over. It was a little strange, frankly. At least I can check it off my list. Now I just need to focus on getting through New Years...

Today is my daughter's 15th birthday. My wife is supposed to be coming over tonight to wish her a happy birthday and share some cake. With a little luck, she may also decide to stay for dinner. My daughter asked me to make Chicken Parmesan for her birthday, and while it's a lot of work, I think I do a pretty good job of it.

Since the kids are out of school all week, I'm going home to for lunch to see them. Generally, I find that I need to get away from the office a little each day, and seeing my kids is a great bonus.

As I mentioned before, my wife and I went to the movies on Saturday afternoon. It felt really awkward for both of us, and she left without having dinner. Maybe it's still too soon for things like that.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and initially, she really didn't feel like coming over (or doing anything, for that matter). I vented a bit on her (perhaps unfair, but even terse communication is communication), and ultimately told her that maybe it would be best if she didn't come. For some reason, after that she decided to come and spend the night.

While wrapping Christmas presents for the kids, I explained to her that I was going to forget everything for one night and just enjoy her company and be happy. I explained that I'd like to just pretend things were normal, and in return, the next day we could sit down, finish our business (splitting the finances, etc.) , and go on.

Even though I knew I'd have to deal with it later, I just wanted a small break from the torment. I wanted to have my wife back for a night -- even if only temporary. I wanted us to be a family again for Christmas. In many regards, I approached it like the end of the movie Artificial Intelligence: AI. Even though I knew it would only be one night, I needed it so badly I was willing to accept the implications.

As we wrapped presents, I jokingly told my wife that there were two things I wanted for Christmas that we couldn't put under the tree: I wanted her to help me with a quest in an online game we both play, and then take me to bed. "I think that can be accommodated", she told me with a grin. And she did.

Christmas morning we got up with the kids and did our unwrapping. I think this was the first time we didn't open a single gift on Christmas Eve. The kids seemed happy with what they got, which I think pleased both my wife and me.

Later in the day we sat down for the unpleasant task of dividing our debts. Admittedly, I cried a little, and she showed me a softness and understanding that I haven't seen from her in a while. I tried to steel myself against the upset, and we continued.

In October, we moved into a somewhat expensive place ($2,450 a month) so my daughter could go to a very good school. My son's school is right next door, and is equally impressive.

Let me tell you what kind of person my wife is. After we equitably divided debts, it began to look as though I were going to have a pretty tough time. She juggled some numbers around, and then insisted that she pay $500 a month of the rent so the kids wouldn't have to change schools or be disrupted.

I'm really torn by that. On one hand, my machismo is killing me because I have an ingrained sense of chivalry. True, I don't get any child support for the kids, but that's not my wife's fault (they're from a previous marriage). Still, I feel like I should be the one being the hero to the rescue - not the other way around. Then I realize that perhaps that is one of the problems that caused this outcome to begin with, and I commit myself to not let pride interfere. This is something she wants to do, and I'm going to let her. In either case, I appreciate the help, but even more, what it represents.

I'm still holding on to hope. Hope is one of the things that makes us human. Hope motivates us to strive for greatness, and sees us through the struggles in life. Hope can also be maddening. I'm coming to realize that hope fits naturally with love and passion - that in order for something to be wonderful, it also has to have a dark side.

Thank you for reading this. I promise that if you keep reading, I'll keep writing. Together we'll make this journey, and one day, maybe someone else will be able to use the map we create.

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