Even moms need their mommies

Adriennes blog 5 bird pic

The kids and I recently found a baby bird lying on the side of my parents’ driveway.  It was probably old enough to fly, at least a little bit, but it wasn’t moving very much.  I didn’t say it to my children, but I thought it was dying.  A few hours later when we were leaving, the bird was gone.  “It flew away!” the boys exclaimed.

I’ll never know whether my mother moved the bird so they would think that, but I didn’t ask her.  I wanted to believe it flew away too.  I still wanted my mom to take care of me.  When you get married, you feel like such a grownup.  When you get divorced, you need your mommy again.

All the things I did when I got married made me feel like an adult.  Referring to “my husband,” signing the papers to buy a house, giving our first dinner party – I believed I had crossed some threshold into adulthood, never to return to dependence on my parents.

But when Drew left, I suddenly felt like a little girl again.  Getting up to make breakfast for my kids, I felt like a fraud – like I was trying on my mom’s makeup and heels – even though I had made them breakfast a thousand times before.  When I made an appointment with an attorney to represent me in the divorce, I wanted to bring my parents with me.  I realized that wouldn’t look very mature, and I reluctantly went alone.

A spouse fills so many spaces left open by parents.  My husband gave me reassurance that I was loved, like my dad.  He told me my outfit was perfect on the first day of my new job, like my mom.  He let me be the baby sometimes when life seemed too much and I wanted to stay in bed rather than get up and fulfill my adult responsibilities.

When you’re suddenly the only parent in the house, it can be scary.  I have to pay all the bills.  I have to decide who to call when the pipe bursts.  I have to tell my kids, no, they can’t watch that movie that “everyone else” saw.  The worst is those late nights when one of your children is sick.  No, the worst is those late nights when you’re sick AND your kids are sick.

The fact is, getting divorced made me grow up much more than getting married ever did.  Getting married meant going from the support system of my parents to that of my husband.  Getting divorced meant I was finally going to have to figure it out on my own.  Luckily, my parents are only an hour away, and my mom still lets me be a kid sometimes, even if it’s just preserving the fantasy that nothing bad happens to baby birds.

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Best Advice for the Newly Divorced

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Hi, I’m Adrienne.  I’ve been divorced a few years, and I’m starting to come to terms with my new life.  I’d like to share with you the best advice I ever got from an acquaintance who tread the path to singledom a few years before I did.

We were at a picnic and she pulled me aside.

“How are you doing?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said, trying not to notice all the intact families around me.

“No, really, how are you doing?” she asked again.

“It’s hard,” I said, my voice cracking.

“Listen.  You need to get new sheets.”

“Really?  It makes that much of a difference?”

“Trust me.  You’ll see,” she said, before walking off to find her son and her new husband.

When I left the picnic, I asked my sister to babysit so that I could go shopping.  I held back the part of me saying “This is a waste of money and you can’t afford it anyway.”  I bought really soft, 400-thread count sheets (in a muted shade my ex hates, but I always loved) and I went home and washed them and put them on my bed fresh out of the dryer.

I washed the old sheets too and put them in a bag for Goodwill.  Goodbye to the sheets my husband and I cuddled under to plan our future and dream big before it all fell apart.  Goodbye to the sheets where our children were conceived.  Goodbye to the pillowcases I cried countless tears upon.

I slept that night between my new sheets and I slept so well.  The sheets were nicer than any other sheets I had before, but more importantly, I was refeathering my nest.  I was accepting that this is “my” bed now, not “our” bed anymore.

Everyone has advice when you’re getting married, but no one tells you how to get divorced.  What’s the best advice you ever got?

You can find out why I needed new sheets in Giving Myself Away, coming out this fall from Assent Publishing.  Thanks for reading!

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Someone has to wear the pants…

Adriennes blog 2 wedding dress pic Hi, I’m Adrienne.  I’ve been a single mom for a while now, but sometimes the reality hasn’t quite sunk in. Last night I had this dream that I’m going to marry a woman.  I feel disappointed when she tells me I have to wear a pantsuit for the wedding…  I wanted to wear the dress.

“Couldn’t we both wear a dress?”  I asked.

“No, someone has to wear the pants,” she said.

I’m often the one wearing the pants.  Who else is going to deal with the spiders and the clogged drains and the lawnmower now that there’s no man in the house?

It’s not all bad.  I realized I can handle a lot more than I ever thought I could.

What do you do now that you didn’t have to before?  I’ll tell you all my favorite chores on my “Things for Which it Would be Helpful to Have a Husband” list in Giving Myself Away, my story coming out this fall.

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Why it’s great to be single

Adriennes blog 1 trash can picHi, I’m Adrienne.  I know I’m getting over this whole divorce thing because some mornings I actually wake up and feel relieved to be single.  I love to make lists.  My favorite kind of list is the one you write when you’re feeling really upbeat and motivated – the kind I fold up and tuck in a drawer to look at later on the days I’m feeling anything but upbeat.  Here’s the latest:

Things you don’t have to worry about anymore when you’re single:

  1. whether or not I snore when I sleep on my back
  2. who’s going to take out the trash (I already know it’s going to be me, so there’s no one to nag)
  3. consulting anyone else on what I decide to buy
  4. not having to share the closets or the dresser anymore
  5. ???

Help me out here… what would you add to my list that’s great about being single?  I don’t want to sound all bitter about marriage or anything, but really, we need to make the best of our situation and enjoy the good parts.

I hope you’ll want to read all about how I ended up where I am in Giving Myself Away (coming out this fall!).

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