Thursday, May 15, 2014

sweet spring is our time

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)"

-ee cummings

The turn of the seasons always makes me very reflective.

Spring finally crawled its way up to Maine and I have thrown open the windows to welcome it here.  Can we get an AMEN for grilling our dinners on the deck again, and for playing outside after dinner and climbing trees, and buying potted flowers?  It's a freaking miracle to me every year that the grass actually turns green and the air actually warms up and the buds actually begin to open.

And when you have your first full week of the kids playing outside until sunset, you don't remember how you survived the long winter of keeping them indoors for so many hours a day.  One of the greatest things in the whole wide world is this: bringing kids inside from the playground in the evenings when they are sweaty and streaked with dirt, helping them bathe and scrub the grass stains off their knees, and then climbing under cool covers with them tucked under each arm, smelling their sweet and freshly cleaned heads, and reading Harry Potter aloud until they fall asleep.  And when there are a couple nights a week when you don't get to bathe and read to your kids at night, you savor it all even more.

When I think back on the last year, I am amazed at the ways in which Skyler and Reed have grown up, and the ways our life has taken root in something so new and strong. 

One of my favorite things about having this blog is that I often hear from people with questions about marathons or triathlons, and most importantly to me, questions about sharing custody or surviving divorce with children.  If you are going through separation or will soon be going through it, I love to offer you up a glimpse that is hopeful but also realistic and true.

People promised me that "kids are resilient" and I wanted to believe them.  I depended heavily on two divorced friends with little kids who were clearly making it work, but I still had so many doubts and sleepless nights. Being on the other side now means I can truly offer that my kids have shown tremendous resilience. They live a life that is so unbelievable steeped in love. When they perform at a recital, there is a whole row of people sitting together and clapping for them. They are raised by a village of people who adore them AND they are raised by a village of adults who are all kind to each other. They also have a very predictable and well-communicated schedule that allows them to feel secure and safe, all key ingredients in why they are doing well. 

Here are some things about us that are true and maybe contradictory:

I know my kids are happy and see me as happy. 

Every two weeks I don't see my kids for a couple days in a row; I still have a lump in my throat when I drop them off.  I still cry at some point during that stretch of days because I miss them so very much.  I still can't look into their empty bedrooms when they're not there.  That doesn't go away.

The kids processed the changes in their life differently.  Skyler talked about it a lot more and still does occasionally.  She tends to put a positive spin on things like I do: "I have two homes and two dogs!"  Reed says matter-of-factly, if he needs to explain to his neighborhood friends why he isn't around on Thursdays and Fridays:  "Oh, that's just because we're divorced."

I have always been a good mom I think, but I'm a way better mom now.  I'm so much more present and attentive and relaxed. 

The kids are deeply connected to Tim and the unfolding of their relationship has been a joy to witness.

I am always hunting for ways to understand how the kids see the world and their own lives.  It is the curse of the divorced parent, maybe, to always worry about ways in which they are and will be affected. I wonder every day how my kids will tell their stories when they are older.  I crave to know exactly what they are thinking when they put their heads on their pillows at night. 
4 beautiful brown eyes
A couple weeks ago I was sitting in the hot tub at UMaine with Skyler, laughing about something Reed did, and she said to me:  "I don't think anyone has a more hilarious or better life than we do, Mom."  I was caught off guard.  It was so unsolicited and pure that it gave me goosebumps.
I guess I'm an emotional person anyway, but I feel especially grateful for all that is our life right now.  I want to give this glimpse to anyone who might be struggling.  When I was really miserable a couple years ago, and every single day was hard, I promised myself I wouldn't ever forget that. And I haven't.  I go back and read things I wrote, and I can re-feel how I felt.  I believe it is my duty to myself to stay on nodding terms with that part of my life.  If I had to speak honestly to anyone with kids near the end of a marriage, I would say this:  it will be even harder than what you are imagining, AND your life can be even better than you're hoping it could be. 

We have all had a growth spurt this year in a way.  Like I said, look how the kids have grown.
Skyler's art in the district art show.
end-of-the-year 3rd grade concert!

Reed advanced to Farm League baseball and is really learning the game now.  He is at that beautiful age where he likes to hang with the guys in the dugout, but he still comes out between each inning to sit on my lap and discuss his last at-bat.  I'm sorry for all the photos (no I'm not) but he is so cute, and when he is playing catcher, his favorite, my heart swells a little.  I mean...what is more adorable than that.

that's my lil' baby in there.
And somehow we still have time for all the regular lovin' and snugglin' and sittin' on the porch.

Reed is saying something important here

And our Hillary is safely home from Rome and the house is so full.
Reed got to stay up until 10:30 to get Hillary from the airport last week, but he was toast by the time we got home.

In other news, I have successfully rekindled my relationship with running.  I didn't really write much about it but I just had to take a break and I was not feeling a pull toward running at all, and then a perfect cluster of things have aligned to bring me back.  Before Italy, and the DAY before I came down with influenza, I ran the Healthy High 10K and ran it surprisingly well.  That indicated to me that the boot camp/ interval training I've been doing has really worked to make me stronger.  I used Susan as my pacer and ran all 6 miles at a pace slightly faster than I thought I could.  

Hellooooo, runner's high.  I had completely forgotten about you.

Then I got sick, went to Italy, tried to recover, and did NO EXERCISE for 3 whole weeks. My first day back to swimming I was dizzy and breathless after one set, but you have to (re)start somewhere.  The next day I ran a 5K that I was already signed up for, Erin's Run, in memory of my girl Erin.  I ran slow, but I ran it.  Also, Tim is incredibly handsome.  

Now I am fully healthy and grateful for the wind through the open windows.  

Our summer is filling up fast and includes such wonderful things as:  art camps, basketball camp, lake swims and bonfires and camping trips and island trips, visits from our family far and wide, and a tiny Maine wedding on the coast.

While the world is winging and blossoming, I am grading final essays.  4 weeks till the end of school.  6 weeks till we start training for the marathon.  10 weeks till I marry Tim. 

And this weekend?  Sugarloaf 15K.

Thanks for reading and sticking around.  xo


Transitional Objects said...

Hooray, indeed, for worlds inside and out that are winging and singing and blossoming all over. Such a lovely post about the freshness of spring; it *does* feel like such a miracle, doesn't it? Especially after those long, hard New England winters.

In any event, thanks as always for sharing the sweet and the difficult bits with your readers. And good luck with Sugarloaf this weekend!

SNW said...

My sister's wedding is July 26, they must be right around the same time?!

Meagan O'Connor said...

The weather is so wonderful, and it's really nice to see that I'm not the only blogger in ME... they seem to be hard to find! I'll be coming back to read more for sure :)

Rowgirl08 said...

I love that image of the whole line of love at every event. To spring re-awakening, summer love, and many, many more years of growing and loving my dear Emilie.

…now off to figure out how a trip to MDI in Oct would all work out...

Brooke said...

Thank you.

Ayesha said...

Good to see you and the kids doing well and looking beautiful. Miss and love ya!

Unknown said...

Sheesh! This is post is pure goodness. Thank you for your reflections on divorce and sharing custody. It can feel very lonely and your words comfort me.