Everyone tells me how lucky I am. Lucky my ex is a good dad. Lucky my ex and I are not psychopaths. Lucky we get along.
I'm just the luckiest woman ever! I have the best divorce ever.
It's ironic. People find me to have luck in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Why? Well see, I don't have a bad relationship with my ex. We work together, co-parent pretty effectively, and we communicate daily. He's not stalking me. I'm not stalking him. We aren't deadbeat parents. I'm not begging him for money. He's not being ripped off for his money by me. As far as all my divorced acquaintances and friends are concerned, I hit the jackpot. My married friends breathe a sigh of relief that my ex is a good dad and we aren't running up lawyer bills and screaming day in and day out at each other.
"Look, now you can both move on and you'll meet new people -- the right ones... it will all be okay," say each and every one of my friends.
In general, everyone is so happy about our situation.
Except for us.
I am indeed, fortunate, to have made the choice -- it's not luck, it's a choice you make when you marry -- of marrying and now divorcing a man who is a good father and person. I am not the woman whose ex hasn't called her kid in weeks. I am the woman who sat down with a sensible man and made up a custody schedule.
I cannot fathom the pain of a deadbeat parent or understand the insanity of the crazy toxic ex who makes your life hell. To all the people going through that, I am sorry for your situation. I am sorry things suck so bad. It is beyond painful, I am sure. But just because my area of the neighborhood has a few less "piss stains" and bare lawn spots than others, doesn't mean that I don't get to grieve.
I clap when a woman or man leaves a toxic person. I applaud and cheer the man who leaves behind a bad situation and moves forward for the new. I hug and support the woman who is raising a child alone. The dad who has to be a mom too. To me, it is a victory when people leave a bad human being.
But when someone leaves a good person? I have a hard time saying congratulations. I have a hard time saying, "Here's to your new shiny fresh start! Here's to your new life!"
We may not work together and we may not be the one for each other, but saying goodbye to someone you love and care about -- someone who is in many ways, your only family and happens to be a decent person -- is not easy.
Making the choice to leave a good person who may not be good for me and vice versa so we can both go out into the world and start over is insanely difficult. There's nothing better than going back out into the dating world to meet a breed of older, more bitter men and hope for the best.
Then of course there are the people who tell me to enjoy being an independent woman because you know, one can't be independent and attached to someone. It's apparently a crime to want a companion. I am supposed to suffer being alone for years. Men are encouraged to move on and women are encouraged to stay strong and pump our fists alone in solidarity.
I may have the better divorce than most. I may be blessed with an easier situation. But before you dare to tell someone who is in an amicable divorce about how lucky he or she is to lose a bad marriage with a good person, I tell you this:
Be quiet. Shush it.
No matter how the divorce ends up, a loss is a loss. I lost my best friend and family for almost eight years. The single one person I can count on. The only person I have ever loved. I am sorry if I don't want to put up my pom-poms each day and say, "Hooray!"
I know we made the right choice. I know this is the path I am supposed to take. I know we will both move on and have started to mingle as single people and that maybe I will meet someone who is not terrified of a smart woman. Yet knowing this is the right choice does not make swallowing the bitter drink easier sometimes.
My daughter and I spent our first night in our new home the other day after losing the marital home to the bank. We celebrated with ice cream and she told me, "I'm going to get the blue ice cream -- the cotton candy kind -- with rainbow sprinkles. You know, like the kind I got when you, and me, and daddy were all together and we all lived in the same house?"
We are moving on, all three of us, but we haven't forgotten our past and all three of us, him included, miss how it was -- the three of us as a little family.
And somehow we forget, as we miss and weep, the luck we are supposed to be celebrating.