Stepping Off the Platform

Posted on | May 18, 2011 | 25 Comments

Tomorrow morning, I will take my son to the place he calls “school” for the last time.   He will play with his friends all morning, not really understanding that he will not see them again after tomorrow.  He will lie down for his nap, secure in the knowledge that all is right in his world.

And when he wakes up, everything will be different.

The moving van is set to arrive at 10:00 tomorrow morning.  I will have time to get J to “school” and pick up a few additional boxes to shove some remaining items in before the movers arrive but then it will be full speed ahead to Macon and the unknown.

Is it any wonder my stomach has been in knots?

Everything is so different than it should have been.  Everything is different from how I imagined it.  The little one story house was purchased with a family in mind; a family to grill out on the patio and throw birthday parties on the lawn.  It was purchased with dreams of family Christmases and family Thanksgivings.    The house was purchased by a family of two who planned, I thought together, to expand into a larger family, a more complete family… a family with children.  And while we lived there, in that sweet little house, our family did expand.  We became, or so I thought, a threesome, a unit, a family.

I will return to the house, once again a member of a family of two.

I can’t pretend that the thought of my first night there doesn’t make me cry.  I can’t pretend that I don’t still have moments where I think maybe, just maybe, my husband will come home.  Maybe he will realize that marriage is more than a feeling, it’s a choice.  Maybe he will realize that he could have made better choices and still have the chance to spend a lifetime with his son and his wife.  But those moments are becoming fewer and farther between.

I am so scared of what is ahead of me.

I wish I weren’t.  I wish I were brave and fearless.  I wish I could toss my hair, tie on my superhero cape,  and power on through this with grace, dignity, and a whole lot of ass kicking… but I can’t.  I have to just fasten my fat jeans, gnaw once again on the slow-forming blister on my lower lip, tug on the tiny toddler hand that is always threatening to creep away, and start putting one foot in front of the other.  I have to make a life for myself without my husband.  I have to make a life for myself and my son that doesn’t include all the things I wish it could include.

And I’m so scared.

What makes me so very mad about this whole scenario is that when my husband was miserable and sad and unhappy about his life and job, I worked my ass off to do whatever I could to help him.  Moving to Savannah felt like an adventure.  I was ready to do whatever it took to make my husband feel better about himself and his career, even though I was happy where we were.  I took on my new job with a flourish, ready to challenge the world with him at my side.  And as the months rolled by, I realized I was challenging the world alone.  And when I became miserable and sad and unhappy about my life and job, what did my husband do? He left.

So I am forced to return to the house I loved… without him.  I am forced to return to the familiar city, where we first laid eyes on each other, where we first lived together as man and wife, where we brought our son into the world… without him.  I am forced to take on yet another job, with another unfamiliar boss and more unfamiliar co-workers, but this time, without him.

And I am terrified.

I’m so scared I can’t do this on my own.  I’m scared that I will fail myself and even more scared that I will fail J. In high school, I went to Colorado for a week with Young Life.  As part of the “adventure” we took part in a ropes course.  At the end of the course, you are tethered onto a safety wire and standing on a platform.  Ahead of you, hanging in mid-air, was a trapeze bar.  The goal was to jump off the platform and grab the bar.  You were tethered; you were safe whether you grabbed the bar or not.  But letting your feet leave the safety of the platform went against every natural instinct in your head.

I feel as though I’m standing on the edge of that platform, again, praying that someone will tug on my sleeve and tell me I no longer have to jump.  But I do.  I have to jump.  I have to take that first step off the platform, trusting that there will be a safety net to catch me if nothing else does.  I have to plunge into that immediate lung-crushing free-fall that stands between me and the end of this course I’m on; there is just no other way.

But that first step is just so hard to take.

So I hover here, teetering on the platform of the familiar, looking down into the darkness of the unknown.  I hover here, waiting for the right moment to step forward, or perhaps down… whichever direction this stepping takes me.

I hover.  And I wait.

Because the first step off solid ground is always the hardest.


25 Responses to “Stepping Off the Platform”

  1. kim
    May 18th, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    You’re a strong woman. This has to suck, but you’re doing the right thing. Hold onto his little hand and know that you’re doing the right thing.

  2. Tara@DoTheseKidsMakeMeLookCrazy?
    May 18th, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    Hi. I’m Tara.

    Apparently I’m your twin sister.

    On Christmas Day (2010), my husband informed me that he’s been “planning a divorce for weeks”. One very long week later, he moved out, leaving me with my 5.5 year old girl and 3.5 year old boy. He told me that he’s been unhappy for years. This, in spite of the fact that I’ve supported him through 4 years of medical school, 4 years of residency, 1 year of a terrible job, and another year of constant studying for boards. Finally, he lifted his head up from his books, looked around, and decided that I was am not enough. I am so “not enough” that he’d rather leave his two children and his home than live with me. Mind you, he assured me that he didn’t leave his family, he left ME specifically.

    It’s been 6 months… The kids cry every night, I have a plugged toilet that I can’t seem to fix, and his family is completely pissed that I’ve shared my thoughts and heartbreak on my blog. While my family lives hundreds of miles away, his family lives 25 minutes away, brings him dinner and helps him unpack, rendering me even more redundant. So, here I am, surrounded by my used-to-be family, alone. But I’m surviving. Well, at least most days I feel like I am.

    Thank God I have children; else I would never be able to get up in the morning.

    It’s so heart-breaking I have children; they’re forced down this path with me.

    One foot in front of the other. Breathe in and out. Hold your son. Hold yourself.

    I wish I could offer you more words of wisdom or some reassurance. I can tell you this: the day-to-day hardships of parenting alone do get better. You form a new rhythm. It’s you and your little buddy, and you’re a team.

    Other than that snippet of encouragement, I can only offer you my empathy.

    Take care, sister.

  3. Eve
    May 18th, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

    Law Momma, do you have any idea how amazing you are?!!! You likely do not know that the grace, courage, strength, honesty you’ve shown throughout this trial is not typical; it’s extraordinary. You will be better than fine one day, and sooner than you think.

    Prayers for you tomorrow and everyday…

  4. Erica Snipes
    May 18th, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    I hope in the midst of all of this stress and struggle, that knowing how many people are holding that tether for you, thinking of you, supporting you, cheering you on…helps a little. We can’t make it suck less, maybe, but we are your cheerleaders! Don’t know if you’re a “hugger”, but if I could reach out through the blog universe and give you a bone crushing hug right now, I would! And a fun squeeze to your son too…I’ll be giving my boy a big hug in the morning and be thinking of you and your boy too. My best happy and fresh start-y thoughts and prayers for you…

  5. Pam
    May 18th, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    Sitting incredulous with you tonight. No, there is no waking up. No, it hasn’t stopped hurting though for a second I was fooled into thinking it was. It was just a mirage.

    You are brave. It isn’t a choice. It isn’t uplifting. You are a hero, not that you want to be. To J. you are. Even on your worst day which for him may mean there isn’t anymore grape jelly.

    The solid ground is already gone, he took it from you. The trust that there would be ground always beneath your feet was taken away. It will be a while til you have faith in the fall.

    You just have to. You will, you know it. You will land and without broken legs. Your spirit is broken. Not your will. And tomorrow the sun will come up tomorrow and that is something you can count on.

  6. Jessica @ Raising an Owlet
    May 18th, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    I can’t even begin to imagine how scary and terrifying it is going to be for you to move back into that house. But I hope, once you’re there for a little while, with new paint on the walls, and things in different places, that you will start to see that your family (you and J) will make wonderful memories in that house. There will still be birthday parties and Thanksgivings and Christmases, and you will be able to make them YOURS with your own traditions and wonderful memories. A family will live in that house, and it will be wonderful. It will just take some time.

  7. Headmistress Yca
    May 18th, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    It does work against your natural instinct to make that leap …. but when you do, and you’re flying, remember how free it felt? Remember what it felt when you grabbed onto the bar and swung and you accomplished your goal? You’ll get that feeling back – I promise. Go get it, girl! JUMP!

  8. IdahoGirl
    May 18th, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    The mere fact that you admit that you’re scared shows your strength. You can do this and you will do it with the grace and style you’ve had all along.

    And you’ll have a whole world of us cheering you on.

    Hang in there.

  9. Melissa
    May 18th, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

    In the line of easy to say when you aren’t in the situation, I offer the one sentiment I repeat to myself whenever I am terrified at the choices life offers me: do one thing every day that scares you.

    And in thinking about this before I replied to you, I came back across Mary Schmich’s article that has so much truth and honesty to it. I hope you can see and perhaps take comfort in how so much of it may apply to you.,0,4054576.column

  10. Janet
    May 18th, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

    Right now everything is overwhelming but get through things a minute at a time, then it’ll be an hour, day and so on. One day you’ll wake up & it will be clear that this divorce was the only way to get YOU back & then it will all have a purpose & meaning & life will feel more like a new adventure. Just remember this was something in him lacking- not you. Take the time you need to grieve and don’t apologize to anyone for YOUR feelings. I just wish I could take your pain & be there for you because I’ve been there, done that and survived.

  11. aim
    May 19th, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    you have a safety net, just not the one you are used to. But this one might be better….. in time.

    We love you, and are excited to visit that sweet little house again, with cheery walls and new memories begging to be made.

  12. Erin
    May 19th, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    I am wishing for you and J all the happiness and love you deserve. Pam (above) said it best and I can’t even try to top it…

    “The solid ground is already gone, he took it from you. The trust that there would be ground always beneath your feet was taken away. It will be a while til you have faith in the fall.”

    Love and prayers for tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come.

  13. Jess@Straight Talk
    May 19th, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    Good luck today. I know you will turn that house back into a home for you and J. And you will be happy. Promise. xoxo

  14. Petunia
    May 19th, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Remember what I told you about that whole “Oh, you are so strong!” thing? I won’t insult both of us by trotting that out – it’s too pat.

    But I will say what you are going to do takes GRIT, not strength. The ability to claw your way through this.

    My husband opted to keep the family home, paying me out my share of the ‘estate’ so I could go buy myself another place. But part of this deal was that I take NOTHING with me but personal effects. In other words, leave behind all the furniture I’d loved, the fittings I’d made, the DIY projects I had created (immovable, part of the actual house), the framed prints on the walls, the dinnerware, the appliances, everything. The only stuff I got to move was my sewing/arts equipment, my books, my music, my clothing and that sort of thing.

    Most people gasped when they realised “shopping for new things” and then they smiled. But I’ll tell you this: those shopping trips were like being flayed alive. I kept looking at kitchenware and thinking “But I have one of those! Oh…wait…” and the pain would crash over me. A divorce, a house move, and taking nothing but things that were legally mine. I have only now stopped hurting when I find myself in a shop because I realised I never bought a potato masher, and my daughter wants mash for dinner. I am in a house that will take $$$ to fix cos the seller was a liar who has evaded paying for a lot of what was wrong with the place. And I still live in a room that has sheets hanging across the windows cos I just don’t have the time to make the curtains yet. Cleaning and sorting broken things takes all my time.

    But guess what? I am not strong. I just have grit. And you do too!

  15. "Cookie"
    May 19th, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    Being scared is human. From “listening” to all that you’ve had to say over the past weeks, you are one STRONG woman. Through all this you’ve had strength, courage and grace. Hold onto that and put one foot in front of the other! You will make a beautiful, loving home for you and J!

  16. denise
    May 19th, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    This post is beautiful. Raw, honest and so powerful. The grace with which you are writing through this sucky time inspires me. Thank you.

  17. Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments
    May 19th, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    You have so much strength that I gain my own strength just from reading all the things you have been so strong to do on your own.

    Whether there are ropes, tethers, safety harnesses or nets – I know you are going to jump and reach that trapeeze bar.

  18. TarynE
    May 19th, 2011 @ 11:11 am

    Hang in there momma! I know you’ve gotten tons of emails from all of us going through similar situations right now… and we’re right here for you through this, too. Stay positive… and think about how much fun it will be to eventually decorate your home the way YOU want it to look!

    May 19th, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    Lady, you are strong every mother would be scared! Keep your son and God in each hand everything else will fall into place. New begginings are ahead. Again i would like to tell you what i tell myself “The Will of God will not take you where the Grace of God Cannot protect you” this thought has kinda been a motto for my family and myself and everytime a say it or read it i feel instant comfort. Praying for you and your new begginings. ( He is the one missing out, you and J will be amazing)

  20. Fancy
    May 19th, 2011 @ 11:47 am

    You can’t be brave and fearless at the same time. If you’re fearless, there’s nothing to be brave for.

    The fact that you’re terrified but still moving one foot in front of the other IS brave.

    You’re doing it, even if you don’t feel like you’re doing it well. You’re putting one foot in front of the other.

  21. Tiffany @MomNom
    May 19th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    Take that first step to happiness…go out on the ledge, take the step, close your eyes and leap. Sure, it won’t happen magically overnight, but soon you will find your happiness again…and it’s waiting for you in Macon.

    Also? Send me that information about the run. Lets do the damn thing.

  22. Becca
    May 19th, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    Its OK (and very understandable) to be terrified. You CAN do it because you HAVE to.

  23. Alecia
    May 19th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    You can do this. Take it one step, one breath, one heartbeat at a time. You can do this. You have the support of all your internet friends here…we are here. Gently supporting you, whispering in your ear…you can do this.

  24. Steph
    May 19th, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

    ((((HUGS)))) I have no great advice or really anything else to add that hasn’t been said here already. Just remember, a family is a family when it consists of more than one person loving another. It’s not necessarily a “family of three”. You can be a family with just two and you will and you will rock the socks off of it because you are the strongest person I have ever seen.

  25. Amy G.
    May 20th, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    Right after reading your blog entry yesterday, I read this quote that my cousin posted on Facebook. I have to share it with you, because it’s exactly on point to your entry:

    It’s only when you have the courage to step off the ledge
    that you’ll realize you’ve had wings all along.
    — Gail Lynne Goodwin

    Your wings have different shapes (friends, family, your son, your readers and your very own self), but they ARE there.

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