I was skimming through my RSS feeds the other day, and I found this article about divorce, marriage, and health. It reports on the findings of a study that attempts to correlate poor health with divorce and/or unhappy marriages. While it doesn't seem that much a surprise to me-- duh, when you are miserable or going through stress, your health suffers? Shocking!-- it got me thinking about all of the phases in my life, especially after just battling (and winning, which is unusual) the boy-os dad for a school change for them and even more so since it was four years ago this month that the boys and I made new lives for ourselves in the little yellow house by the beach. (Picture above, Spring 2006.)
I have always tried to look at this as a journey with no regrets, and when I look at who I was ten years ago when I was first married to the boy-os father, and I compare it to who I am now, I see that the differences are amazing. Sometimes I wonder if I would ever exchange the growth and learning for a lack of the struggle and strife that were a part of the last four years? While I like to laugh about how many times we went back and forth from being together to being separated, it makes me sad, too. Because I know that was out of a fierce desire to create something out of nothing, no matter the cost. It wasn't until I honestly felt like I was dying, until the day I found myself walking in the cold rain at the beach alone that I had to make the choice for me and the boys.
And now, four years later, I know without question it was the best decision I ever made. Even though while I was a single mom, I was often frustrated by the state of my life. By not living the dream of a family I always wanted. By being alone and doing it on my own. But all of that was needed, was an integral part in all of our journeys to become who we are today. And because of it, I know I value my life in the Rock House so much more than I could have otherwise.
I have had to learn to share, and while there are days that I wish their dad would "disappear," I know we are lucky to have him want to be involved so much. The boys will benefit from that in some way, even though his modes and methods may be questionable sometimes. It forces me to compromise, to communicate, and to understand. Whether we can do that between the two of us or in mediation, is another story. Sometimes I rage and hate that I have to share, that I can't just call the shots and that I can't have my kids all the time. It frustrates me that they are only here half of the time. That on Tuesdays and Thursdays and every other weekend, their beds are empty and the house is quiet. That I have had to learn to not feel guilty because I sometimes enjoy myself and the quiet house. That I had to go to mediation to make a change that is really in the boys' best interest. But in quieter moments, I can accept that this is the way life is and be grateful for all that we are learning because of it. And it is in these quiet moments, that I can understand Shirley Maclaine's line from the movie Rumor Has It: "If the marriage implodes, divorce. You haven't lived till you've been through one of those."