Monday, February 13, 2012

The "Nice" Divorce

"I hate divorce..." says the Lord, the God of Israel. Malachi 2:16

I am divorced.

There used to be a lot of shame attached to that word. Now it's just something people do. They grow "out of love." They're just "not the same people" they used to be. In regards to the kids they say "it's better for them to be in a happy home than a miserable one." It's just a way of life these days.

Sometimes I think shame can be healthy. When the taboo is removed, an unGodly lifestyle becomes an acceptable option. This is true in so many areas these days. We are told we should tolerate everything. We are supposed to co-exist. Otherwise, well then we must be haters.

Well, let me just give a glimpse into the reality of divorce. My divorce was biblically based. My husband was unfaithful. Still, divorce was not what I wanted. My choice would have been to do whatever it took to avoid divorce. However, absent a broken and contrite spirit from both partners, it doesn't always work out. Although divorce may be permissible and the only healthy option in certain circumstances, it doesn't make it any less tragic. Especially when there are children involved.

At first my divorce was not pretty. But now it is civil. We all get along fine. While my ex-husband did move out of state, he does pay child support and visits the kids regularly. We could have it a lot worse. But it's still tragic.

It's tragic when, as my kids got up this morning after being with their dad for the weekend, could not stop crying. "I'm sad daddy had to leave," they wept.

"I know," I told them. "It's sad when daddy leaves, isn't it?" I try not to lessen the pain but to understand it and empathize with it. I'm glad they are able to express their feelings and I want them to know that I will be there for them.

It takes a little while after each visit to work through the sadness and adjust back to normal life again. Then we start all over the next time. It's really hard to see my kids so heartbroken.

That's what divorce does. Even the nice ones. When two people get married, the Bible says they become one flesh. When divorce happens, it's like the tearing apart of flesh and bone. It's always tragic. There are always consequences, even if the reasons for it are Biblical.

I hate divorce, too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Highlights of Year 35

February 5th... today is my 36th birthday. Last year I wrote a post listing the highlights of my 34th year. Today, I thought maybe I would make it an annual tradition. 36 years. No longer closer to 30 than 40. The other day I received an email from AARP. Still, I choose to believe the best is yet to come!

However, as I sit here, thirty-six years old, I'm having a hard time thinking back a whole year! On February 5th, 2011 I remember having breakfast with my dad at Crabby Bill's that morning. Every year on my birthday, my dad has always taken me out to breakfast. It is one of the highlights of my birthday that I look forward to every year. I don't get to spend a lot of time with just me and my dad. It's a fun time. And Crabby Bill's has the most amazing Chesapeake crab omelette that is probably the best thing to ever tease the taste buds! The rest of that day is a bit of a blur, but I do remember that omelette!

In March, I participated in a fun, Amazing Race type race with my friend, China. Definitely a highlight of my year. In fact, I liked it so much, that as the wellness coordinator at my office, I planned a similarly styled race for the employees at my office. They have been asking when we are going to do another one for the past year now! Here is a picture of China and me doing one of the tasks during our race.

In the spring of my 35th year, my youngest son started tee ball and I decided it might be fun to be the team mom. He is playing tee ball again this year. I'm not planning on being the team mom this year. You live and learn!

In April, my friend from Canada came down to visit for a week. We don't get to see each other often and it was great to see her. It was nice to catch up and enjoy acting like a tourist for a short while. One day during her visit, I took the day off work and we spent the day at a local water park where I had not been since I was a teenager. Back then it was little yellow polka dot bikini (or something like that)... at almost 20 years and two kids later it was conservative mom suit. Still just as much fun as we had 20 years ago! Here's a picture of us back in the day with my sister.

In June my oldest son had surgery to repair his palate and give him the mechanics he needed to have intelligible speech. It was a rough couple of weeks to start but he is doing great now. We are so fortunate to have a strong support system.

During the second week of his recovery, I was still off of work and he was feeling much better so the kids and I took a nice stay-cation. I even went on a dolphin watching boat for the first time and really enjoyed watching the dolphins jumping alongside to boat as we cruised through the water. I can't believe I had never done that before. If I had a bucket list, I think that would have been on it.

Later in the summer, I got together with some of my mom friends in VA Beach for a few days. We all have kids who were born within a month of each other. Everyone lives in different states but we make it a point to all get together one weekend each summer. This year we are planning on going to San Antonio. I'm excited because I've never been to Texas before.

In October, I was honored to serve as the maid/matron of honor in my sister's wedding. I'm not really sure what I would be considered... maid or matron. What do you call someone who is single but has been married before? Either way, I really enjoyed getting to stand next to my sister as she became a wife.

Around Thanksgiving time, my friend Lisa (from my mom group mentioned above) and her family came to visit and stayed with me for about a week. They have 4 kids. I have 2 kids and a 2-bedroom house. So 9 people in a 2 bedroom house = COZY!! We had a lot of fun. The kids all played well together and so did the grown ups.

In December, just before Christmas, my parents got a call that my grandma (my dad's mom) was not doing well and probably only had a few days left. We had plans to go to Virginia to spend Christmas with my sister and her husband but started packing up early in the event we needed to go to Michigan first, where my extended family all lives. On Sunday morning, December 18th, as I was leaving church I received a call from my mom that my grandma had passed away. That afternoon we loaded up the car and drove to Michigan. It didn't really seem real until we got there. The hardest part was walking into the viewing room at the funeral home and seeing my grandma. She looked so different. It was hard to see her. And hard to see my dad see her. I haven't been to many viewings. I really don't like them much. Most people stood near the casket to see her for the last time, just taking it all in. I stood back farther. I hadn't cried until then. After the initial shock wore off, it was just surreal. It was just hard to believe that she was gone. Most of the family was there at that point.

After some time had passed, we sat down in a circle with the pastor who was performing the ceremony the next day. He had only met my grandma once so he asked the family to tell him about her. What happened then was so neat. It brings joy and warmth to my heart just thinking about it. One by one, everyone started sharing stories about grandma. I remembered how every year my grandma used to make chocolate covered everything and send them down to us for Christmas. My favorites were these chocolate-covered cheese crackers she used to make. My cousin, Brian talked about how one time he went over to grandma and grandpa's house after they had gotten their first TV with a remote control. They weren't really sure how it all worked so Brian thought he would have a little fun with them. He told grandpa that sometimes if you moved a certain way, it would make the TV turn off or on. Grandpa didn't believe him so he thought he would test it out. Little did he know that Brian secretly held the remote. What was even funnier was when Brian left to go home and took the remote outside with him. He watched grandma and grandpa through the window still trying to figure it out. Grandpa would raise his hand this way or that and off went the TV. It was a lot of fun listening to the family as we all recalled memories. My dad asked the pastor to read a poem called The Dash at the ceremony. It made me think of grandma this week when I heard someone read it again on the radio.

After a side trip to Michigan, we continued on to Virginia to spend Christmas with my sister and her husband. We had a really nice time. My oldest son is just learning how to read and one of the highlights of Christmas this year was when he read the Christmas story on Christmas morning all by himself. Very special.

The week after Christmas, I went snow tubing for the first time. Since most places have had an unseasonable warm winter this season, many tubing locations were closed due to warm weather. We were able to find one place, though that was still open, albeit with fake snow. It was still a lot of fun. We also spent a day touring around the nation's capital, visiting friends, and having family game nights.That just about brings it back to the present. A couple of months ago I won four tickets to Disney in a radio contest and decided to save them for a fun birthday weekend. We had been to all the Disney parks except for the Animal Kingdom so I decided to take the kiddos there. It was probably my least favorite of the parks, but we still had a good time. Today on my actual birthday, we finished the weekend off at Legoland. Very fun. The boys love rides more than things to see so an amusement park geared just towards children was right up their alley. Even though it was my birthday, it made my day enjoyable just to have fun with them and see them having so much fun.

Year 35 was a very nice year, all in all. Looking forward to see what year 36 holds. I didn't blog as much in year 35 as I did in year 34. I love writing and hope to get to do more of it in year 36 if the Lord so leads. He is the potter. I am the clay.