I feel happy today. It is the first time in a while that I can truly say that. The world shattered around my feet but I am starting inch by inch to creep out to that sunny patch. I keep stubbing my toes but the light is pulling me forward.
My husband and I are learning to live together again. We had been seeing a marriage counselor for a couple months. One session about a month ago, the counselor suddenly informed us that he was only a temporary replacement and would not be returning to our area until October. We were free, of course, to continue with the returning therapist but both my husband and I were reluctant to start with someone new. It took us a while to open up and we did not want to have to repeat the process again and then again in October. I was terrified. We both give a little but do not meet in the middle. My husband is very strict and I am a free spirit. Polar opposites. Even the counselor looked nervous for us as he shook our hands goodbye. However, we had learned a lot. I discovered that while my husband hears what I say, he rarely interprets the meaning correctly. He found out no matter how demanding he is, it simply cannot change my irritating habits. Our personalities differ as well. I am abstract and often distracted. He resembles an express train, goal in hand, he never stops till he reaches it. We learned about the relationship triangle and how to step off it, refusing to be a victim anymore. We were told the proper way to argue, more importantly, I was told NO MORE YELLING!! I am still working on this annoying concept. The month following our final session, we were like young children trying to ride a bike without training wheels. There were a lot of falls, a lot of throwing in the towel. And to make matters worse, life continued to crumble.
My husband’s job future became very insecure. He never knew from week to week, even day to day if there would be work for him. After two very tiny paychecks, he sold his small company and took a regular job. It means a substantial cut in pay. We were left with bills and taxes owing on the business and no way to pay them. His final paycheck was barely enough to pay for food. I have to relearn how to live on a budget and stick to it. Remember, I am a free spirit. Rules are only guidelines and I hyperventilate when forced to abide by them. I am used to having the freedom to spend when and how I felt the money was needed. Stress is driving me into the fetal position. And through all this, my kids started to crumble.
We went from a single parent household with the occasional dad to a dad being present every evening and every weekend. Every child’s dream, right? Well, for my kids suddenly having a father demanding that a routine be followed, chores done, and exclusive TV rights, this was like waking up in the middle of a nightmare. Daily battles with my barely teenage son, torrents of tears from my teen daughter, and clingy hugs from my baby girl [preteen:( ] took place. Life became a game of survival. I dealt with the changes the only way I know how, I hid. I started withdrawing from friends, I slept the entire day while the kids were in school and stayed up till 3am. I ate, jumped from one crazy and frantic get-rich-quick scheme to another, and cried. And without noticing, life stopped crumbling.
We learned to adapt. I went on a diet. The kids worked out a TV compromise with their dad. Boundaries were laid out and consequences for breaking rules were drawn up. Respect for their dad returned. I still struggle with poor sleep habits and budgeting but over all this has been a positive change in our lives. We discovered the tools handed us by our counselor really do help. My husband is happier, my kids are growing. And I learned a stubbed toe only hurts for a little while.
I am happy again.