30 March 2012

My Own Private Angel

My father once told me that he always prays for extra guardian angels to protect me.  Perhaps he thought I need this because of my independent and adventurous nature, or perhaps it started when I was child, and my mother was sick.  Now, I do not consider myself religious, spiritual yes, but not religious.  I believe that there is something greater out there than just us.  I believe in a greater collective consciousness. 

However, I don't like to define it by religion, of which the parameters are too limited and narrow.  I do however believe in an inner moral compass, and I strongly believe in prayer, possibly even angels.  Though I often think that angels are simply the strangers we encounter in life that make our lives just a little bit better.

Here in Munich, I have one such angel.  From outwards appearance, many people are intimidated by him, and I doubt they would consider him an Angel, not of the likes that are depicted in Christian art.  He is tall, skinny, walks a bit stiffly as if he has some past injury, he has some sort of mental impairment, and he is typically wearing a suit, but he has tattoos of skulls and symbols on his neck, a piercing through the bridge of his nose, and when his head is shaved, there is a single eye tattooed on the back of his head.

I've been running into this man for years. While I believe he lives close to me, I run into him all across town.  While walking to the bus, when riding my bike, when picking up the children, on streets in the center of Munich, in train stations, in supermarkets on the other side of town.   We always exchange smiles of recognition, and then go on with our business. 

Only recently, this man has started talking to me.   I ran into him at the supermarket yesterday, and he asked for help finding the rice.  I pointed it out to him, and afterwards he started to talk to me.  The way he talks, it is as if he is prophesying.  He tells me that I'm a good person, a nice and kind person, that my presence makes the world a better place, and that because of this I will be blessed today, tomorrow and in the future.   If he is one of my Daddy's prayed for guardian angels, then he picked exactly the right time to start talking to me.

Hello French Pressed Coffee!

In the separation process, my ex got custody of the cappuccino machine.  Now, I could be depressed about this, but instead, I decided to look at it as a learning opportunity.  I had long ago heard that a French Press makes the best cup of Joe, and considering a French Press is only 20€, where as a decent cappuccino machine can run you over 100€, it seemed like a pretty good idea to me.

The day after I bought it, I tried to use my grocery store bought coffee to make the first cup.   Gross.  It was really weak with very little flavor.  So I did some research, and I found out from a friend that it is best to get freshly ground coffee that is courser than what you get from the store.  She recommended I get a variety of sample from Tchibo, a cafe-store here in Munich, known for it's coffee.

Yesterday I did just that.  I asked for 125g of nine different types of coffees, coarsely ground, completely overwhelming the woman behind the counter.  Luckily, the German woman next in line was extremely friendly and amused by my "most unusual request," and with her help, we were able to talk the counter woman through the order. 

Unfortunately, only the first sample of coffee she made came back coarsely ground.  The rest came back more finely ground, which is a problem because it clogs the filter on the French Press.  So at the moment, I'm trying the different coffees and combinations to come up with the best cup of Joe that is full-bodied, flavorful, aromatic, and ends with a nice finish.   I just hope that I don't completely clog up my filter before I figure out the right combination for me.   At which point, I'll replace my finely ground coffee with something courser. 

On Being Alone

During this time alone,  I've done a lot of self-reflection.  Something I've realized about my life, is that when I married, I was way too young, 25, way too insecure, and I didn't really know myself, or maybe I knew myself, but I was willing to give up too much of myself.  One of the unexpected blessings of my separation and divorce, has been the opportunity to rediscover myself. 

Now, a lot of my rediscovery happened while married, a result of maturity and motherhood.  In a way, it  probably contributed to the destruction of my marriage, because I stopped compromising myself to meet the needs and desires of someone else.  I also began to realize that there were some very unhealthy habits in my marriage, for which both of us were responsible.  However, I've learned from this experience, and I won't make the same mistakes (or perhaps choices) twice. 

The most important thing that I am learning is how to be alone.   Despite the connotations of the word, "alone," it is not a synonym for lonely.  I don't feel lonely at all. In fact I feel less lonely now than when I was married.  Before the separation, I watched a considerable amount of TV with my ex.  And, I thought I would be watching a ton of television now, but over the last three months, I've only watched one TV show, one movie, and gone on one excursion to the cinema.  I'm averaging less than 90 minutes of media consumption a month, where as while married I probably averaged that per day. It seems I only needed TV to dull the pain of loneliness I felt in my marriage.

Instead, I've been going out to catch live music, going to art exhibitions, writing, researching, reading, cooking, doing Yoga, cycling, going on outdoor excursions to the lake, planning holidays, leading workshops, spending time with my friends and family...the list goes on and on.  Admittedly, sometimes late at night, when the kids are asleep or at their father's house, I start to crave the company of another adult, and when that happens, there is always someone I can call or email.

27 March 2012

Everyone's Doing It!

Free As A Bird

Sometimes, you get stuck in a rut, and you don't even know it.  Or you do know, but you feel like there is no way out.  That is what happened to me, and it wasn't until my separation, that I woke up.  The separation shook me to core, despite the fact that the writing had been on the wall for quite some time.  Apparently I needed a good shaking to break free.  

Many people have expressed sympathy and sorrow towards me regarding my situation.  Now, I realize that for many outsiders, the announcement of my separation came as a huge shock, and they don't understand why I am not sitting in my house with the blinds shot, drinking vodka and listening to Joni Mitchell all day long.  But I don't have the inclination to do that, not even in the slightest. 

So, "STOP feeling sorry for me, and Mom, stop worrying about me!"  I'm doing great.   For the first time in years, I feel like myself again.  I'm not suffocating anymore.  Yes my future at the moment is uncertain, and if you ask anyone close to me, they will tell you that I change my mind from one week to the next about what I want to do.  Whether I'm going to go home, or stay in Germany, whether I'm going to go back to work or go back to school.  Whether I'm going to pursue my dream of becoming a writer or go back to a desk job.

But the beauty of that is that I have a choice.  I have lots of options, and I get to decide from now on where I'm going with my life.  Don't get me wrong, I've always been a firm believer that you choose your own destiny.  For eleven years, I designed my life around someone else.  That was my choice at that time.

Now, I get to make new choices and guide my life in a new direction.  Of course this doesn't mean that I don't consider my children and their father, but it does mean that I am in control of my life once again, and that in itself is beautiful.

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

26 March 2012

I love you, and I'm thankful for you

Previously in Transitive Property Applied to Love & Divorce I talked about the incredible wisdom and insight that some of my friends have shared with me.

Well, one of said friends forwarded me this link A Powerful Three-Step Algorithm for Happiness, and I don't know how she knew it, but it was exactly what I needed. In Thank You to My Friends & Family, I talk about difficult it is for me to control my feelings.  It all boils down to expectations, and the expectations I put on the people around me, whether it be strangers on the street, or friends and family.

In general, I've been able to figure this out with strangers on the street, especially while living here in Germany.  There are loads of people out there, whom if I let, would drive me absolutely batty, like the waitress the other day at brunch who gave me the evil eye for ordering a Bloody Mary, the woman who shushed my kids and me, when I was trying to get them to look at the camera for a photo, or the German who had to correct absolutely everything German I said, which is fine and educational and all, but after awhile just became annoying. 

Now I could let these people make me insane. I could go on for days ranting about how annoying and unfriendly they are, and I could let them jade my experience here, but I choose not to.  (Instead I use them as characters in my writing).  I look at them like a human being who has had a bad day, perhaps a bad life, or hasn't been blessed enough to learn how to be happy.  Besides, I've always said, I don't need to borrow other people's drama, I have enough of my own.

I've been able to alter my expectations of the strangers in this world, but I need to give the people to whom I'm close the same consideration.  People have lives to lead, we can't expect them to act according to our expectations. Like my ex's  late Nanny, bless her soul, always said when we apologized for not visiting her enough, "I understand, life gets in the way."

24 March 2012

Spiritual vs. Legal Marriage

Many of my friends and family have been quite surprised at how calm I am, amazed at how I've taken this whole thing in stride, comparing it to their own experiences, "You need to be an angry black woman.  My mom threw a cinder block through her husband's car window." 

Honestly, there are times when I'd love to be the angry woman throwing things at him, running up his credit card etc. and there are moments, especially when I'm PMSing, that I give into the urge to feel totally pissed.  Over all, however, I'm not the kind of person that can hold on to anger.  Anger eats me alive, and frankly, I don't have the energy.  I'd rather focus my energy on my children and things that make me happy like writing.

I can't pinpoint the exact date, but spiritually my marriage died a long time ago, and I was only holding on to it for the sake of the children.   Yes, according to the law he is still my husband.  Emotionally however, that horse is dead. 

I was angry, for a big part of the last three years of my marriage, I've been angry, but now that we are separated, I feel the greatest sense of relief and freedom.  The relationship was eating me alive, and now that it is over, I am so much happier. 

And while the separation is fresh, I've not struggled with being alone.  After eleven years together, I thought I would miss him, but the truth is that I don't.  Not one bit.  In some way things are more complicated now than they were before, trying to shuffle the children back and forth between households, splitting finances and managing our time. 

Outshining all those complications, however, my life has been simplified.  I've enjoyed learning how to be alone again.  If I want to write instead of fold laundry, no one is going to chastise me for it.  No one is going to care if I'm doing Yoga on a Wednesday night after the kids go to bed, instead of snuggling and watching a movie.   I don't have to share the covers at night, or listen to someone snoring.  I can cook whatever I want for dinner without having to please someone else.  And on the flip side, if I'm feeling lonely in the evenings when the kids go to bed, there is always a friend to call.  And on the days when the kids are with their father, if I don't want to be alone, I can always find someone to hang out with.

Yes, we still have problems communicating, and sometimes the things that he does infuriates me, baffles me, shocks me and irritates me, but now I can view this person like a work colleague, instead of the man I sleep next to day-in-day-out.  He can irritate me, and as soon as he walks away, I can toss that irritation aside, and go on with my life.

So, you see, this is why I've been calm.  This is why I am OK.  This is why I'm not angry.

19 March 2012

Just a Mom...

One of the most frustrating comments that as a stay-at-home-mom I have ever received is, "Oh you're just a mom."  Nine times out of ten, this doesn't come from other parents, definitely not other mothers, and rarely fathers (though there are some); typically it comes from the childless.  My ex and I often refer to these people as single, even though they might be married or in a serious relationship, couples are really just two single people co-existing.  No one truly understands what a commitment is until you are a parent.  No one truly understands the demands of parenthood until you become one.  No one truly understand the demands of a stay-at-home-parent, unless he or she does it day-in-day-out for several years.   Even my ex, after a day alone with the kids in the emergency room for a minor busted lip, tells me how exhausted he is, and how he needs a three-shot-cappuccino to finish out the day. I usually nod sympathetically, and think to myself, I know, been-there-done-that. 

Now many of you have read this article Why Stay-At-Home Moms Should Earn A $115,000 Salary or one like it, but unless you've actually done it, there is still no way to fully wrap your head around what this means.  Before becoming a mom, I was a career woman, and a fairly successful one.  My first job out of University was to work for Al Gore's Presidential Campaign.  This job required me working 12-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week for minimal pay.  I lived with a supporter, on their cattle farm an hour drive from my office.  When I woke up in the morning it was still dark outside, when I returned, it was still dark outside.  I woke up ate breakfast, got in my car, drove all the way to the office, worked at the office in the field all day, ate more greasy take-out food than you can possibly manage, drove home crawled into bed, only to get up and do it again the next day.  When I had the flu, I still went to work.  I remember on one occasion crawling under my desk to take a fifteen minute power nap on a cold cement floor.  Occasionally, we had happy hour, and then we went back to work a few drinks in...Occasionally we went out for a few drinks after work, and I would crash on a colleagues couch, so I didn't have to drive back to the farm.

This job was the most intense job I've ever been paid for, and it pales in comparison to being a Stay-At-Home-Mom.  It is only 9am, and I've already been awake for four hours.  Last night, I made a rookie parent mistake, and stayed up talking to a friend until midnight.  Five hours later, the birds in spring fever wake me up singing outside my fourth story window, but the moment I wake up, instead of tuning out the birds and falling back asleep, my brain turns on and I start working, mentally organizing my day.   Thirty minutes later, my almost five-year-old comes to my door crying, because he needs to pee.   In my usual grumpy overly tired way, when it is way too early in the morning, I respond with, "Then go pee!" Which of course reduces him to tears, and he insists that he needed my help him his with PJs.  Too tired to say no, too tired to fight with him, and not wanting to have to clean up an accident, I relent and help him to the toilet.

Fifteen minutes later, he is back in bed, and I conk out for the last thirty minutes before my alarm goes off, when I rouse the kids out of bed.  After waking up my boy with kisses, the first question out of his mouth, "Mama, is today a school day?" To my answer, he pulled the covers back up over his head.  Moving to my almost three-year-old, a much less friendly recipient to being awoken by my kisses, even after twelve hours of sleep, and who continues to fight to stay asleep while pushing me away.  By the time I have her awake, I realize that Maxi is still buried deep under his covers.  When I ask him, he peaks his head out of the blanket, a mischievous grin on his face and says, "Mama, my body hurts all over, I'm too sick to go to school today, I need to stay in bed."

Now my daughter insists on me carrying her to the kitchen, for her "Tiger Cereal,"  where both her and Maxi fight over who gets the blue bowl, so that I finally relent and get the other blue bowl out of the cupboard, pour the cereal into that and use the orange bowl for myself, because less face it, this is just not a fight worth fighting.   I pull spoons out of the drawer, and Maggie flips out, because Miss Three Going on Thirty has to do everything her own way and has decided today that she wants to use a fork to eat her cereal.   By the time, I've gotten her out of the cutlery drawer, and the milk poured into the cereal, Maxi has pulled his favorite blanket in and puts it on the back of his chair.  By the time I've put the cereal bowls on the table, Maggie is crying for her favorite blanket so she can be like her brother.  Because it is just faster and easier than fighting with Maggie, I get her blanket for her, return to put it on the back of the couch, only to realize that Maggie has decided she is going to sit in a different seat, and in the process of relocating her cereal, has spilled milk all over herself and the floor.  When I go to get a towel, both kids have decided that instead of their napkins covering their laps, it is a better idea for them to sit on their napkins.   Still not one bite of cereal has been eaten.

I grab the kitchen timer, set it for ten minutes, and tell them they have ten minutes left to eat breakfast.  I eat my breakfast quickly, and I turn on the computer to check the weather.  Yes, I can tell from outside that is currently raining, but this is Springtime in Bavaria.  By recess time,  the sun could be shining or snow could be falling, and I need to know how to dress the kids.   By the time I've finished with that, I add another five minutes to the timer, so that Maggie will finish her cereal, and Maxi and I go off to get dressed.

Motivating Maxi is like trying to herd cats.  So I often call on his competitive nature, and I offered to race him.  Which one of us would get dressed faster?  Him or me.   Unfortunately, Maxi hasn't learned the grace of losing yet, so I give him plenty of lead time.  I  pull his clothes out before I pull out my own.  I check on Maggie, before I start getting dressed, at which point he comes into the living room, half-naked in a complete panic, because he forgot to take his pajama shirt off before he put his t-shirt on.  I help him work it out, and return to my bedroom to get dressed.  Then he puts his t-shirt on before his under shirt, and he freaks out again yelling from his bedroom that he needs my help, so that I don't win the race.  So reaching into that deep calm place within me, I start to talk him through it from my bedroom.   When I am dressed, and he is almost dressed, I move to help him button his pants.

Then he asks me if I've won the race, because I'm already dressed.  I tell him no, because I need to put my boots on. He tells me to slow down, and I tell him I need to get Maggie dressed first, so he has plenty of time.  I get Maggie's clothes, who has by now finished eating breakfast.  Getting Maggie dressed is even harder than Maxi, because Maggie is ├╝ber independent, and would prefer to wear her PJs to school.   With Maxi I can call on reason and sometimes his competitive nature.  With Maggie, it's a combination of carrying her back and forth to time-out and wrestling.  Every step of the way, it is a battle of wills between us, from changing her diaper, to pushing her arms into the sleeves, to trying to explain to her why she has to wear her boots today instead of her new sneakers that will get ruined in the mud.

With Maxi I was able to employ the methods of Love and Logic during the terrible threes.  Maggie has figured out that there are more answers to the question than the choices I give her, which means I have to employ the methods of Robert J. MacKenzie's Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child, which often means picking my battles.  By the time I have gotten all three of us in boots, coats and jackets, the kids have each picked out what they are taking to school with them today.  Maxi a mismatched set of nesting cups we play with in the sand, and Maggie has decided on a shovel, a marble and a book.  My rule with the kids on what they can take to school, if they can carry it, they can take it.

Now, we take the elevator down to the cellar where the bike and trailer are kept.  Of course the kids like kids do, fight over who gets to push the buttons, one kid pushes the button to call the elevator and one kid pushes the button for the cellar.  Sometimes, when he is feeling extra mischievous, Maxi beats Maggie to both buttons, and I calm her down, by letting her push another button on the elevator before we get out.

Out the elevator door, and Maxi spills his nesting cups on the floor.  Quickly scooping them up and re-stacking them, we head down the stairs.   Maggie insists on me carrying her, and drops her marble on the way.  Yes, I still carry my kids when they ask me too.  Soon enough, they will be too big, and I won't be able to carry them, and they won't want me to carry them, so right now, when I have the opportunity, I carry them.  All the extra hugs and snuggles I can pack in now, I do. 

Bottom of the stairs, Maxi spills his cups again.  Since I don't need to hold the self-locking door open to the cellar anymore, I let him handle it on his own while I get Maggie strapped into the bike trailer.   Two minutes later, I'm strapping Maxi in, and Maggie is whining because Maxi is leaning against her. I pull the bike trailer into the wide space of the hallway.  If I don't do this before I pull my bike down, the limited space in the bike room, causes me to pull another bike down with mine.  I wheel my bike through two sets of doors to the garage, and return to get the kids in the trailer, which now I turn around to back over the thresholds of the two doors on the way to the garage.  I hitch the bike to the trailer, and then run/walk the bike and trailer up the hill and out of the garage door.  Now, I wish I could ride up this hill, but I've more than doubled my weight with the two kids and trailer hitched on back, and the combination of gravity and muscle strength is not enough for me to get up that hill, even with easier gears.  If I go to the easiest gear, by the time I get up that hill, and hit the wet slick driveway, I have no traction left to pull the kids.  So I run/walk up the hill.

The bike ride to school is easy, yes, it is raining and it is cold, but the kids are safe, dry and snuggled into a lambswool.   Additionally, I can't hear them fighting, so for ten minutes, I have some respite.  We get to school, and Maggie has lost her marble much to her despair for which she is blaming Maxi..  I undo the kids buckles, Maxi pops out, Maggie fights with me, and I have to count to three, before I pull her arched body out of the wagon.  I hold her while walking into the Kindergarten, and Maxi tells me he doesn't want to go to school today.  "Mama, the kids are crazy here!"  I know this is just Maxi's theatre, because when I pick him up at the end of the day, he'll tell me he doesn't want to go home, because he loves his kindergarten, his teachers and his friends.

He comes upstairs with me to help deposit Maggie into her classroom, who surprisingly has decided to cooperate, and after much cajoling and his teacher's help, I manage to convince Maxi to go into his classroom.  All of this happened by 9am, and this was an easy morning, because no one was sick, I wasn't sick, I didn't have drop the kids off earlier so I could make it to my German class.  So when I return home in the rain with the bike wagon, and I really should be folding a weeks worth of accumulated laundry, I hop on my computer to write this blog, because I can't believe that anyone would ever think that my life is easy because I'm just a mom.

And I just realized that I forgot to brush their teeth this morning.

Maxi Organizing His Life

Conversation with Maxi today while getting dressed:

"Mama, I don't like you, I like Daddy, because Daddy has a new house."
I keep listening as he goes on.
"No, Mama I like you too. I'm sorry that I get mad at you and call you stupid.  That makes you sad."
I reassure him, that we all get angry sometimes, and that I know that he doesn't mean what he says, but that I still have to correct him, because I love him.  
"He looks at me, and says, Mama, you get angry sometimes too, but you don't call me stupid."
I say, "Yes baby, because it is not nice to say mean things."
He gives me a big hug, and says "Mama I'm sorry I called you stupid, I love you."

15 March 2012

The Truth As I See It

When we announced our separation to our friends and family, it is amazing how personal other people took the announcement.   Quite a few people seemed to take the failure of our marriage as an assault on their own marriages.  I have gotten loads of unsolicited advice from self-declared amateur marriage counselors.  It has been along the line of marriage takes work, sometimes you are holding the other person up, its not always 50/50, sometimes it 90/10, sometimes its 10/90 etc., choose love and forgiveness, you two are such great parents, you always seemed so happy, we never expected it from the two of you, marriage is tough, it doesn't get any better, have you tried counseling etc.?  My first reaction was sarcasm, and I had strong desire to respond with pithy comments, like, really?  I didn't know that, I thought marriage was supposed to be a cake walk, why didn't anyone tell me this all before?  However, my second reaction to give people more understanding.

When Paul and I decided to end our marriage, it was not a decision we came to lightly, especially when we considered the ramifications for the children.  We read books, we consulted happily married couples, we went to counseling, and we even tried to grin and bare it, but ultimately none of that was working for us.  A study done by Neil Jacobson, Ph.D. of the University of Washington concluded that only 35% of of couples who enter marriage therapy improve their marriage as a result of therapy (Gottman & Silver).  When you consider that 67% of first marriages end within the first forty years, (Gottman & Silver) it isn't really all that surprising that marital therapy has such a low success rate.

The truth of the matter is that most books, most therapists, and most married couples are not basing their advice on facts or statistics, but on anecdote and experience.  However, if only 33% of marriages are lasting past forty years, I have to wonder how many of those marriages are actually happy, and how many of these people are staying together because of children, shear willpower, financial reasons and/or religious convictions? Very few marriage counselors have ever actually studied marriage with a scientific approach in the way they have studied mental illness.  None of this unsolicited advice is based on fact.

What I do know, and what I have learned is that every relationship is different, and you can not apply what made one couple happy to a whole range of relationships.   

Gottman, John & Silver, Nann The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work. Three Rivers Press, New York 2002. Kindle Edition.

14 March 2012

Io amo gli italiani (I love Italians!)

Both the Bed & Breakfast in Verona, and the cottage I booked with in Tuscany were happy to shift my reservations by five days.  Meglio tardi che mai.

**Later, after the mechanic called me and delayed me, not once, not twice, but three times, I ended up changing my reservations for until after Easter.

13 March 2012

Remaining Calm in the Face of Adversity

This week, I had planned to visit Tuscany with the children, a friend and her dog.  We had a ten day trip planned, and I was looking forward to it as a time of respite and relaxation.  However, that isn't always how the die rolls, and today, when I returned home from dropping the kids off at Kindergarten, I got into a sticky situation with my car.  No one got hurt, but I did damage the car to the point that I can not drive it to Italy on Thursday. 

After a long morning, of dealing with German car insurance (luckily a claims adjuster who spoke English) and a garage, where the agent didn't speak a lick of English, I managed to get my car in for repair.  This however delays my trip to Italy.  I could be angry, I could be whiney and bitchy and self-pitying, I could be living by the mantra of "When it rains, it pours," but instead, I've decided to live by the mantra of "Sometimes this is the way the die rolls."  I don't have a specific schedule I have to adhere to, so it doesn't really matter if I have to dealy my trip a little longere.

Again, referring to the greater design for my life, I'd like to believe that my minor unfortunate circumstances perhaps prevented me from having a great series of unfortunate events.  And I'd like to believe, that perhaps something more positive will come out of this.  Lets hope that the Bed and Breakfasts in Italy will feel the same way and willingly delay my reservations for five days.  

***Maxi's solution to our problem, "Mommy, you can ride your bike to Italy!"

Transitive Property of Math Applied to Love & Divorce

There are two truths that friends have spoken to me, that have helped me tremendously.  The first, a friend who went through something similar a few years ago.  She told me that it helped her tremendously when she took responsibility for her choices.  She choose her partner, she choose to love him, she choose to have children with him, and because her children were half him, she still loved him through her children, otherwise she would hate half her children, and that was not something she was willing to do.

Another friend, used the Transitive Property of Math to help me alter my perception.  If A=B, and B=C, and C=D, than A=D.   So, if I love my children (A), and they are half-Paul, and love their father (B), I can still love Paul (C), and if I love Paul, I can accept his pursuit of happiness (D).  My friend theorized that there was a possibility of something beautiful coming out of this, if I am able to tweak my perception.  Divorce doesn't have to be ugly, it doesn't have to irreparably damage everyone it encounters, and as long as I can focus on the love of my children, I can be happy for Paul.  He is their father, he is a great father, and for the sake of his children, I want him to be happy. 

Thank You to My Friends & Family

My sister has a great mantra in life. You can't control how other people feel, you can only control how you feel.  If my separation and impending divorce have taught me nothing, I have learned that this is much harder to say than do.  Overall, though, I've been able to find some peace with my new situation in life.  I could be bitter, I could be angry, I could fall apart at every given opportunity, and whine and cry all day long.  Sometimes I do all of these things, but somehow I've also managed to be strong, and in a lot of ways I'm weathering this storm with a semblance of grace.

I credit the amazing group of friends and family I have back home, here and in Munich.  They have come to my aide by holding Maggie while she had pneumonia so I could get stuff done around the house.  They have watched my sick children so I could run errands.  They have brought me homemade kimchi and other yummy homemade meals.  They have validated my feelings, whether they be love, anger, sadness or relief.  They have opened their hearts and their homes to me, and they have included me in their families.  They have kept me company, and they have sent me messages of comfort and wisdom.  They have treated me like a queen on my birthday, and they have taken me out to listen to music.  They have edited my resume and helped me with my job search.  They have spoken truths, helped me to alter my perception, and kept me grounded.   Most of all, they have made me feel beautiful, loved and not alone.

Most of all, thank you to my children, who keep me laughing and remind me on a daily basis that life is beautiful.

The Last Love Letter to My Husband

Over the last two years, my posts have been sparse and infrequent, for which there are a couple reasons.  One is that I had joined a theatre group in which I had become fully immersed.  However, the main reason is that it came to my attention in a smack-me-in-the-face sort-of-way that my marriage was failing, and I turned all my energy towards saving my marriage and my family. 

I strongly believe in the vows that I took when I married Paul almost nine years ago.   I made a vow, I made a promise, and I honor my word.  However, no matter how hard you try, willpower is not always enough to save a marriage.  Both of us our to blame, both of us have failed each other in many ways.  And in the end, both of us were miserable, and it was negatively affecting our children. 

On January 1st 2012, after a year-and-a-half of working on our marriage, we made the very hard decision to separate.  Yes the decision was mutual, and breaking up our family was the most painful decision I have ever made.   However, in the end, we both believe it is for the best.  I can't speak for Paul, but I have been mourning the ideal of my marriage and family, and what I had hoped for my life.  It has been a mixture of relief, sadness, anger, peace and lingering love. 

Despite our problems, Paul will always hold a special place in my heart.  He is after all the father of my children, and my children are half him.   Because he gave Max and Maggie to me, I will always be grateful to him, and the eleven years we had together.  We took an amazing journey together, a roller coaster of ups and downs; we have been weak, and we have been strong.   If I am to believe in destiny, or a greater design in life, I do believe we were meant to be together for this time, and we were meant to give our children to the world. 

I also have to believe that our marriage was never meant to be forever, that it was meant to be for this amount of time it lasted.  That we were meant to come to Germany together.  That the door on our marriage is closing so other doors can open.  Paul, I wish you all the best in your life and your pursuit of happiness.  It is time to tear down this wall, so we can build anew. 


12 March 2012

Comments & Questions

Hi. Sorry that I haven't replied to many of the comments I have received.  I wasn't getting them in my email box, so I wasn't responding.  Anyways, the answer to the CSA in Munich, isn't a CSA, but it is a delivery from an organic farm, and the one I used is Amperhof, though I believe there are others as well.