Not only can I pinpoint with almost uncomfortable accuracy the beginning of the end, I have professional photographs of it. And to make the whole thing more surreal, in every photograph we look like the perfect family (so don't waste time envying all your Facebook friends whose lives seem so great in the pictures they post).
I want to be honest and open about the huge changes in my life, but the reason it has taken a long time to be able to write about it all is that there really are no words. And I am someone who doesn't know what to do when words are not enough.
I have had family members struggle with addiction and mental illness, my father died when I was 26, I deal with my own depression and anxiety every day - I am no stranger to difficult times. Yet I have never, ever experienced such emotional pain and heartbreak. And it's not over, not even close. The details have been settled, the papers are signed, the divorce is done, but the healing is slow. I don't know what the fuck Gwyneth Paltrow was talking about with that business about "conscious uncoupling,"and "we're closer than ever" when she got divorced, but it annoyed me then and now it makes me want to punch her in the face.
Right now, here is what I know: Ted and I are no longer married. I have moved to a new house in a new state. The boys are with him some of the time and with me some of the time. I believe that things will get better.
And while they do, I'll be turning this new house into a home, working on the second project with my first client (a pink bedroom!), and wondering why two small boys need several Nerf guns each and a million rounds of ammo to be happy (I spend their time here picking up foam bullets and putting down toilet seats).
I'm even looking forward to the holiday season - I have candles and wreaths for every window, pre-lit "pine" boughs, and am basically counting the days till December 1st, which I have been informed is the earliest appropriate date to start decking the halls. The family that's gathered around the fireplace this year will look different, and it will be a different fireplace with new stockings, but that's OK. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's going to be awesome.