Here is a little video I received from my ex before my trip to Colorado. When I showed my sister, she said, “So, first he tries to get you 🌙 and now he wants you back?”
She had a point. It sure seemed he was missing the way it used to be, or at least the way he thought it was. I can’t say I was miserable the whole time of our marriage. That San Diego trip was one of the better ones, because he finally took us to the water. After all those years I had grown parched from all the dusty trips to Yellowstone, Arizona, Utah, and of course Colorado. My kids didn’t know what they were missing until California.
He was the one who orchestrated the trips and was the photographer. He always yelled at me for the way I held the camera, and for not knowing the name of certain gizmos, how they worked, and where to put my fingers. One day, I just gave up trying to figure it all out.
I gave up on a lot of things—like getting a Master’s degree in art. If you can believe it, I was actually accepted into the program by merely showing up with the images you may have seen on the Paintings page of this website. Of course I also brought my painting of the road that was done for the book cover I never got a chance to release. The professor loved me and my process, the way I explained it. I was very excited. She wanted me to be her assistant. A paid internship! No one had ever told me I was good at anything before. Well, actually that’s not true. My abstract painting teacher from Naropa was the first one who saw something in me. And of course my mum.
When I told my husband the good news, he said that my life was too busy taking care of the children. My younger son was showing signs of something, and I caved in. I was writing at the time, too. My creativity bubbling up from those two angles felt like a crossroads, because in fact it was. When I told the professor I wouldn’t be able to take the position, I felt I let us both down.
I figured the writing was something I could still sneak into my life while I continued on in my mid-century way of life. Mad Men had an in which Don Draper’s wife was bored in her marriage and tried to rekindle the modeling career she had before she met and married him. One of his clients sees her potential and offers her a modeling gig. Her husband steps in and foils her advancement, just as my husband did with me.
The images from our CA video did show something that we created together: my beautiful children. He is part of them, so there are reflections of him that I notice from time to time, that I accept and even love. Then there are other traits seeping through that aren’t so great, because those sometimes reflect control and wild emotions.
Does he want me back? Sure, life was in many ways easier together, even though I disliked being married to him for many years. My lawyer reminds me that a leopard does not change his spots. I know there are women who would, but not me. I have to ask myself from time to time: would you rather have the beautiful life without love, or love yourself enough to be okay on your own, perhaps without all the bells and whistles?
Too many things have happened. I just wanted a conscious uncoupling, like Gwyneth Paltrow. He wanted an unconscious one. We went into battle. Sometimes I wonder who won. At least I survived.
My younger son lost his eye contact after the divorce. This video is proof that he had it before. I know he will get it back again. Something happened to him after I went to Michigan to get a house for us near the water. Maybe it was what my ex told him that did it. He said I didn’t care about him or his brother, and that I was merely repeating what my mum did to me when I was a teen, which was all a bold-faced lie. Or perhaps it was details of that night, which he openly shared with my babies. They were too young to understand they were being manipulated. “Your mom 🌙 🌙 with a 🌙 🌙 that night,” he said. Or maybe it was the girlfriend he brought in to create a “new happy family.”
A man can try to fuck up the relationship between a mother and her children, but no one can break the mother-child bond.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I am grateful to you for being my witness. I haven’t written about this in nearly five years when the shit first hit the fan.