It has been almost a year since my ex-husband and I separated from each other. And there are many things I have gotten used to…and some I have not.
I have gotten used to sleeping in an empty bed. Doing laundry without doing his. (obviously). Taking out the trash. Walking the dog. I have gotten used to coming up late-ish at night and finding there is no one there to care that I am driving back safely.
And while there are a good many things I have not quite adjusted to, there is one I most particularly am struggling with:
Sunday dinner alone.
Every other weekend when my daughter is with my ex, I eat dinner alone. I eat dinner alone when he has her on a weekday…and I eat alone on Saturday night when she’s with him too, but those dinners don’t hurt. But Sunday night dinner alone feels excruciating at times. For the 8 years we were together, he worked on Saturdays so when he got back, he typically joined me for dinner, but Sunday night dinners were different. We were together in the dinner-making process or sometimes if I taught on a sunday, I would come home to his meal instead of the other way around. Sunday dinner always meant the two of us and when my daughter joined us in the world, it meant the three of us.
As I sit here and eat a turkey burger and salad in the dead silence of my home, clicking away the computer keys, it doesn’t feel like I have a family at all, even though my daughter is most certainly my family.
When she is gone, she is painfully gone. And while I know I am making the best decision to divorce and he does too, it still sometimes feels like a mistake or a tragic accident. As if somehow this divorce accidentally happened and needs to be fixed.
It feels weird being in my late-thirties eating dinner alone. When I lived in the city, I often ate out at restaurants by myself, but at that point I was in my late twenties and wasn’t a mother. It felt normal to be alone and while it was lonely, it was the way it was. Now that I know the alternative– how rewarding it can be to have a family and share a meal together…or have a partner to break bread with, I feel robbed of this.
Perhaps I should find it peaceful, eating sunday dinner alone as I head to start my week. I mean, I have a perfectly clean house. I have dinner and lunch foods prepared for the whole week already (I get home too late to cook at night). I am being a productive person and anyone who is a mom can appreciate how great it is to get anything done, much less a whole lot of things done.
But it still feels as if some days, I am simply a foreigner who took the wrong plane back, How am I sitting here alone at this stage of my life, when a huge part of me, my daughter and in some aspects my ex, are somewhere else?
Don’t get me wrong. The alone time I get on my days without her are very productive days for me. I don’t have any help or support other than my ex and friends with my daughter and I work all week and write (my second job) at night, so on the days she is with him, there is a lot to be done. Errands, cleaning, shopping, cooking, working, etc.
Yet after a few days of being alone, it starts to feel awkward, as if I am walking around naked and can’t find my clothes.
Almost one year later, and being a single divorced mom still feels awkward sometimes, and tragic occasionally.
I tell myself that time will make it somewhat easier, but I don’t know if there will ever be a time when I won’t at least miss my daughter.
And while I feel good being single and have no desire to waste my time with some deadbeat dude or “fill-in” boyfriend, there are days in which even the most positive, sane, and smart of us engage in magical thinking.
If only I had did this…if only we had did that…
But we all know magic doesn’t exist. If it did, I wouldn’t be eating this turkey burger alone right now.
Magical thinking is a waste of time and only drives one crazy.
So I adjust, and take my last bite of my supper and tell myself that in two evenings, I will see my child and my heart will feel comfort.
I just hope one day Sunday dinner alone won’t feel so incomplete, and just feel like dinner again.
Ready For Dessert,