So I went to a pool party last Monday with my daughters. Joanne, a new friend from my support group invited us to swim – I thought it’d be just the 4 of us. This was perfect, as I didn’t have the money this summer to join our town pool.
To my surprise, when we got there other’s were at the patio table, talking divorce, which immediately turned my daughters (tweens) off. We couldn’t find Joanne, who said she had a court date early that day, and I wondered if she was even there.
I suggested, “Let’s go in the pool and swim a little.” We did – starting with the hot tub off the pool which wasn’t functioning, so the water was cool. We then jumped into the pool and swam a little – much of the pool “toys” were partly broken – some leaves lay at the bottom of the pool. But we made fun of it, then came back up to the deck to find Joanne and a warm welcome. She said, “Hope you don’t mind, I invited a few more friends – and they all came!”
Offering to help, we went back outside and I chatted with guests while my daughters ran back to the pool. Joanne then opened up to me and explained her story – the rich husband taking her on a week-long excursion of spending – no stress – then one day walking out with a suitcase. Later Joanne finds out there’s another younger woman, whom he had a child with. Shocked and devastated, her life and caring for things, like the house, diminished as she started facing a move towards divorce. She let everything go.
Stepping back to get a glass of wine from the mini bar set up on a pool chest behind me, I looked over the place, my daughters swimming in the pool beyond the deck. I wondered, what the hell am I, and my daughters doing here with strangers in an unfamiliar home far from ours? Two years ago my future vision was working part-time till my girls went off to college, writing a novel, retiring with my husband in our home – perhaps a second small winter home somewhere south. Social time was going out to lunch with married friends and complaining of school teachers and husbands gross habits.
And with my concrete simple decision that I could no longer continue in an unhappy partnership life flipped upside down. I guess I’ve learned that’s how important it is to get a partnership right. So much of my life was built on it – a singular foundation that bore kids and house and work and friendships and events were all based on.
I gathered my glass and went back to the group. Away from my children I could share some of my latest worries over the divorce finalization, and could hear their varied places in the disenfranchising process. Some not started divorce at all, but moving out, others stuck in long legal issues, others out some time ago, happily to be free sipping wine and lending an ear.
My new friend from the group Breanna showed up, and shared about her latest boyfriend, who’d be leaving for a long time to head west to his second home.
She said “I’m free this weekend!” so I said, “Let’s go out Saturday night.” We found ourselves walking back into a new group, where one beautiful well dressed woman was sharing she went from a mansion to small apartment. “But it doesn’t matter,” she said. She was happy and free, adding joy over the freedom of not having to dutifully perform in the bedroom anymore.
My daughters came back to the deck from the pool, and Joanne generously cooked us steaks, hamburgers, fresh corn, hot dogs. We ate among strangers, and enjoyed great food. Then I knew it was time to leave – my girls didn’t need to overhear stories.
In the car they even said they had fun; an amazing, surprising gift to me – wondering how much this stuff hurt or helped them.
Navigating uncharted waters,
Have a good one.