Well, I've been very very busy. That's part of the reason why I haven't posted in a few days. The other part is that I'm trying to avoid turning this into another soccer mom Live Journal. That said, if you can make it through this post, there's good stuff at the end.
Today, for the most part, was a good day. At least, it has been so far. But, I'll come back to that in a moment.
I had great plans for Saturday. It turns out that I had to work Sunday, so I wanted to make sure to optimize the one remaining day of the weekend. I planned it so that I would get up, take the kids to their therapy appointments (we go every Saturday), then do the grocery shopping, hurry home to do a load or two of laundry before my wife came at 4:00 to pick up my son for a day out. I figured they would be back around 6:00, which meant I would start the spaghetti around 5:15 so we could have a quick meal before I had to leave for a birthday party I was invited to Saturday night. It looked good on paper.
On Friday my wife called because the brakes went bad on the vehicle she's driving. I told her not to worry - we'd get it taken care of. So the plan was for her to get up, get an estimate, have the repair, then meet with a mutual friend to pick up some furniture and have coffee. That should have allowed her time to get to my house and pick up my son.
What really happened Saturday was that nothing went as planned. On my way to the grocery store that afternoon after therapy, I called to see how the estimate was going, and my wife was still asleep. Fortunately, the shopping went well, and I simply adjusted the schedule to reflect reality. I was bound and determined to get things back on track. Then, when she arrived, things went downhill for me.
I hadn't cried since the last time I saw her. For some reason, when I saw her again and sensed that she was further withdrawing from me, I cried again. She also didn't want to stay for dinner. Honestly, I think I need to do a better job of managing my expectations.
I managed to upset myself enough that I threw up after she left (note to self: chew lettuce better). Then I resolved to get things a little more under control, and do a better job of letting go. When she dropped off my son, I told her I was going to leave her alone. I explained that I meant I was no longer going to have expectations, and I'd try harder to give her space. She gave me a strange look, but said okay.
When it came time for the party, I was exhausted and didn't feel like going - particularly since I found out it involved a 45 minute drive each way. I bagged it and spent the time with my kids instead.
Later that night, circa 1AM, my son puked all over the stairs. You know it's bad when you hear a splash that sounds like throwing a bucket of water in the bathtub, and then you realize that it's carpet. To compound the issue, he flatly refused to even help clean it up. Now, I've been angry before, but this made me furious. Having your 13-year-old yark chunks all over the stairs at 1 in the morning, and then belligerently refuse to clean it up (or go back to bed for that matter) is the ultimate test. He was sorry the next day. Still, it was frustrating - the perfect end to the perfect day.
On Sunday, I worked until about 7PM Sunday trying to get my project back. I made excellent progress, although I'm still working to bring it in for the big finish. While in the office, I bumped into a coworker I have chatted with a few times. She is very calm, easy to talk to, and has a son about my age. In the military, I would have referred to her as "dark green", which is a reference to her African descent (there is no black or white in the Army -- only shades of green).
We grumbled about having to work the weekend, and then for some reason, I felt the urge to open up to her. I told her I assumed everything we were saying was off the record (a fair assumption, since she made some pretty unflattering remarks about my boss). She chuckled and said she certainly hoped so.
Then I told her that something else that made it difficult for me was that my wife decided to leave right before I started this job, so I've been struggling with that and doing the single parent thing. Her response surprised me.
Without hesitation, she moved closer to me, wrapped her arms around me, and gave me a hug. While we embraced, she said, "I don't really know you that well, but I know that you need that. I'll tell you a secret. Just before my birthday in December, my husband of 25 years told me he wanted a divorce."
Sometimes, the smallest gesture makes the biggest impact. From now on, I will always feel a sense of closeness and kinship with this lady.
So, today was another busy day. I spent a large part of the night dreading my boss' reaction to the project not quite being finished, but in a stroke of really good luck, he was in a good mood today. Things went very well.
Against this backdrop, I've had another epiphany (for those who bothered to read this far). I've spent too much time worrying about what my life might be, and not enough time worrying about what it is. The truth of the matter is that I'm in good health, I make good money, I like my job, I have two wonderful kids who love and support me, and I'm surrounded by people (like you) who genuinely care. Does it really matter if I'm divorced a year from now? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't.