The Guy, again

Man, two posts about my brain chemistry and I go and turn into one of those confessional type bloggers who pours their entire private life on the Internet. Watch out, here I go again.

VERY IMPORTANT WARNING: If you are part of my immediate or extended family, you will most likely want to skip this post. I’m about to say some things about myself that are definitely less than flattering.

So, when The Guy and I broke up, I was… not very nice about it. I didn’t handle it well, and I said a lot of very mean things about him (mostly on Twitter). I was hurt and angry. But there’s been a pretty major shift in the last couple of days, and I’m starting to recognize some of my own shortcomings.

Way back in March 2012, when The Guy and I first started dating, it was the beginning of what I can only refer to as my “Post-Divorce Slut Phase.” I’m not sugarcoating it, that’s what it was, really. I’m not particularly proud of my behavior, but I’ll own it. (And, well, ok, I admit that it was a lot of fun.) I think that my ego and my self-esteem had been so damaged by the end of my marriage, that I actively sought out positive reinforcement from other men. Lots of them. As in, I’d have to sit down and write out a list and think really hard to even try to remember exactly how many guys I slept with last year.

(See why I said my relatives should skip this post?)

I will say, because I feel like I need to, that the girls were never exposed to any of my behavior. The things I did only occurred when they were with a baby-sitter or Dave or my parents or whoever. And I’ve thought about how odd it might be for them when they’re older, if they find this blog and read this particular entry. All I can hope is that they’ll be old enough to understand.

So, The Guy? He knew that I was dating – and sleeping with – a lot of other guys at the same time that I was dating/sleeping with him. And he was ok with that. He had separated from his ex right around the same time that Dave and I split, so he wasn’t ready to jump into a serious relationship, just like I wasn’t.

(Random aside: I should have blogged a lot of this stuff as it happened last year. I probably could’ve gotten a major sponsorship from a condom company.)

But there was this weird chemical attraction that he and I had to each other. With other guys, I’d go out with/have sex with them a couple of times and then drop them like a hot potato for some reason or other. But I always came back to him. He just “got me,” in a way that nobody else I dated really seemed to get me.

At some point last fall, I decided that I was done with all of the other guys, and I only wanted to be with him. I realized that I had fallen in love with him – HARD – and that was that.

The problem was, while I was slutting it up all over town, he had been dating one other person besides me. So, basically, I was asking him to dump this other person and only focus on me. And when he hesitated, I interpreted that to mean that he didn’t really want me that much, and I ended it.

And that was that.

Fast-forward a few months. We haven’t talked since right after Christmas, and I saw that he clicked on my online dating profile. I saw that picture of his face and I burst into tears. I wasn’t expecting that – either seeing him or my reaction.

I tried to ignore it. Then, a few days later, I saw he clicked on it again.

I messaged him and said, “I’m genuinely curious: are you trying to torture me or yourself?”

That opened the floodgates. He told me he missed me, he still loves me, he called me Sweetie…

Then he said something to me that kind of struck a chord: I never once flat-out told him that I wanted a monogamous relationship.

I mean, I thought I did. I implied it. But I never actually said the words out loud.

And it brought home something that I learned during my divorce: I really and truly suck when it comes to communicating my needs in a relationship.

So. Huh. Whaddya know. Apparently that is not exclusive to the dynamic between Dave and me, it’s just how I am when I’m dating someone.

Basically, his version of the story is that I dropped a few hints, he didn’t immediately pick up on it, and when he couldn’t read my mind, I bolted.

I told this to a friend of mine, and his response was, “Wait. You’ve been miserable and in pain all this time, and it turns out it was self-inflicted?” And, yeah. It would seem that way, at least partially.

We’ve been talking and texting pretty much constantly over the past couple of days. We’ve agreed to meet for lunch – in a public place, no chance of any funny business happening – and sit down and really talk about what each of our needs/wants/expectations are, and see if there’s a chance we could work things out.

(I’m planning to write my stuff down in advance, since, you know, see above re: not being able to say that kind of thing out loud.)

Because lord help me, I do still love him. And I have missed him so, so much.

I don’t know where this is going. I guess I just have to wait and see. And I have to start forcing myself to work a lot harder on what I tell my kindergartner all the time: use your words.

Wish me luck, y’all. I think I’m going to need it.

New Year’s Meme for 2012

Ok, hopefully this one will be less depressing than last year’s. Here goes!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Got divorced. It was a bit anti-climactic.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any last year, and I doubt I will this year. I mean, sure, lose 20 pounds and win the lottery, right? Same as everyone else in the world. Ho hum.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A whole mess of bloggy friends had babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
The dad of the family that lived next door to me when I was little. That one tore me up.

One of my dad’s cousins passed away as well, but he and I weren’t close at all.

5. What countries did you visit?
I can think of exactly 3 trips I took this year. None of them involved leaving the US. Two didn’t even leave the state of North Carolina.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
This was my answer last year…

Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

Yeah. That. I would still like that, please and thank you.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* March 18th – My first “real” date with The Guy.
* October 12th – My divorce was finalized.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I ran 2 miles without stopping. I can’t think of anything else I could file as an “achievement” per se.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I spent too much of my life zoned out in my own head, rather than interacting with my girls. I need to make a more conscious effort to close the laptop, put down my phone, get down on the floor, and play.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Two trips to the ER, but both for things that were relatively minor. (Thankfully.)

And one stupid injury: back when we went to the beach in August, a wave knocked me down while I was holding Lucy, and something about the way I twisted when I fell (trying to keep her out of the water), I ended up pinching a nerve in my shoulder. It’s one of those things that will get better and then start hurting again for no reason, and it is VERY. ANNOYING. (I’ve already tried acupuncture and it didn’t help. I suppose I should also see a chiropractor.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically, I didn’t buy it, but I did convince my parents to trade in their 9 year-old desktop for a new PC, and the lack of tech support I have to provide on a daily basis now is FANTASTIC.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Both of my girls have proven to be so resilient and adaptable to new situations, and they just astound me every day with whatever new thing they’ve just learned. Lucy is suddenly speaking in short phrases/sentences (“Get book,” “Want eat,” etc.), and Catie will rattle off some random science fact that I have to google to verify that, in fact, she’s right and I’m basically an idiot.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I can think of a few Facebook friends who would fall in this category. Like those who joked about hiring an assassin after Obama won the election. Thankfully, nobody close to me fits in that category.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare. Rent. Nothing fun. Sadface.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Catie started kindergarten.
Lucy started walking.
I fulfilled a dream from 30 years ago and finally saw Duran Duran in concert.
A few other things I got all spazzy and excited about, but which escape my memory right now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Oddly enough, probably “Eye of the Tiger,” because Catie became obsessed with it and played it over and over again until I thought I was going to lose my mind.

Also, I know it’s overplayed, but “Home” by Phillip Phillips. I will never forget the first time I heard both of my girls singing the “oooh-oooh-oooh” part from the backseat at the same time. It just made my heart happy.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier. THANK GOD.
b) thinner or fatter? Same.
c) richer or poorer? Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Same answer as last year: Traveling. Reading books. Doing fun stuff with my girls.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Same answer as last year: Moping. Yelling. Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In the ER. Boo. I want a refund.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yeah. I did. Hard.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Other than The Daily Show and random stuff like that, I have zero TV shows that I’m into right now. By the time the kids go to sleep, I just want SILENCE, not TV. It’s like my ears are exhausted and I can’t process anymore.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No.

24. What was the best book you read?
Most of the books I read fall under the category of “romance/smut,” and I am far too embarrassed to link to any of it. (In my defense, I need to read things that aren’t too plot-heavy, since I have almost zero attention span due to extreme sleep deprivation. So basically, let’s all blame my children for the fact that my reading tastes have deteriorated to crap.)

So instead I’ll say Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I’ve picked up on a whole bunch of new music by listening to other people’s Spotify playlists. I think my favorites so far are either the Civil Wars or Fleet Foxes.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
… I have absolutely no idea…

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
… And again, no idea…

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think the only movie I saw in the theater was The Hunger Games, which was good. I really loved Beginners. I finally saw The King’s Speech and loved it.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 36. Greis was here. We went out for dinner, and then I got a sinus infection. Because of course.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my friends lived closer and I got to see them more often.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
I’m trying SO hard to fight The Frump and to feel cute and stylish. I bought jeans that look good on my butt. I got cuter shoes. I wouldn’t exactly call myself fashionable, but I’m working on it.

32. What kept you sane?
Oh, my friends who let me text them to vent about whatever random stuff that’s driving me crazy. There’s only a couple of y’all. And you rock.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I can’t really think of anyone. I mean, Channing Tatum’s abs are pretty amazing, but I can’t think of anyone else who was particularly drool-worthy.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election was pretty major. Currently, I’d say the whole gun control thing is driving me insane. I’ve had to “hide” a few people on Facebook because I just can’t even deal.

35. Who did you miss?
The last month or so, I’ve missed The Guy. A lot.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
The Guy. No matter how things may have ended up. No doubt, it was him.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Self-discovery hurts but is generally worth it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Now I gotta get a move on
Fit for the sun,
I hear my baby calling my name
and I know she’s the only one.
And if I die in Raleigh,
at least I will die free.”
— “Wagon Wheel,” Old Crow Medicine Show

Happy new year, y’all.

Transitions.

Random stuff from this weekend:

———————————————————

My sister was here this weekend, and my mom and I went shopping for wedding dresses with her. That was… oh, man. It was bad. Two things:

1. Wedding dress sample sizes. I forgot how they’re all teeny-tiny (they say it’s a size 10 but it’s more like a 6), and they expect regular girls to somehow squeeze into these tiny dresses and try to get an idea of whether or not the same dress in our actual size (which is at least 2 sizes bigger than what we wear in regular clothes, because I guess wedding dress designers really like to screw with a woman’s self-esteem on the single most special day of her life by making her feel like a moose) will look good on us.

God, y’all, poor Tracy. I had been all, “Yay! Dress shopping! Fun!” Then as soon as she started putting them on, I was like, “ohhhh, PTSD, dude.” I feel so bad for not warning her in advance. I forgot about all of the bridal shops that I cried in because I hated the way I looked in all of their dresses. I swear it’s more traumatic than swimsuit shopping. At least in a swimsuit, you can think, “Ehh, I’ll blend in at the pool, no biggie.” In a wedding dress, you KNOW everyone is going to be looking at you. It’s horrible.

2. If you are a bride-to-be who is going shopping for anything wedding-related, you should perhaps think twice before inviting along someone who’s been divorced for all of a month. Bitterness and cynicism, party of two, your table is ready!

I fear I am a terrible, terrible maid of honor. Sigh.

———————————————————

The girls have done really well this time after Dave left. Catie was a little sad on Friday, but then my sister showed up on Friday night, and she was pretty well distracted after that. Lucy has asked for, “Daddy? Daddy?” a couple of times, but I just say, “Nope, Daddy’s not here right now,” and she accepts that and moves on without freaking out.

Like last time, I told Catie that on Sunday, we could do something fun, and she could choose what our adventure would be. She picked the North Carolina History Museum. I swear I don’t know where this little nerd child of mine comes from, but I love her for it. The entire trip cost me the gas to get downtown and a whopping 51 cents so she could use one of those machines that flattens a penny and imprints it with a design (in this case, it was an airplane – the whole North Carolina “First in Flight” thing).

Oh these girls.

So, they’re doing really well. Which has been a huge relief.

———————————————————

I broke up with The Guy last night. Via text message, because I am a coward when it comes to confrontations. There’s so much of the story that I don’t want to share, because only half of the story is mine, and I can’t speak for him.

I’ll say this: I spent years of my life trying to bend myself to make myself fit into the mold of what I thought the man I was with wanted me to be. (Not Dave’s fault, I take responsibility for that myself.) I realized that I was doing the same thing with him, just in a completely different way. And I can’t – no, I’m not willing to – live like that anymore.

It sucks, and I’m upset about it. At the same time, in the grand scheme of failed relationships of my life? I’m not sure if this one even registers on the Disaster Scale.

But that’s that. I’m thinking I’m going to take the holidays to focus on my girls and maybe a little more self-care (working out, meditating, whatever I need to do to feel more like “me” again), and then take it from there.

Onward we go, right?

visitation, again

It feels like there’s been a lot going on lately that I haven’t blogged about. Not even intentionally, I just haven’t gotten around to it.

Like, for example, Dave’s been here for the past 10 days. He’s making a real effort to be around more for the girls, and I appreciate it. These past couple of visits have been completely calm and drama-free, which is a huge relief.

This trip was also the first time that he kept both kids overnight (usually he only keeps Catie because I’ve been so worried about Lucy and her high-maintenance ways). One of the nights that he kept both kids, I slept for 11 hours. It was freaking magical, let me tell you.

Of course, he left this morning and I’m worried about the fallout, especially for Catie. Yesterday when I went to pick her up from daycare, she saw me and immediately burst into tears. I told her that Daddy was going to come over that night (last night) to say goodbye before he left, and she cried harder and said that she wouldn’t tell him goodbye so he couldn’t leave. She said that she wanted to move to Seattle with him.

This was also the first time that Lucy really seemed to notice Dave’s presence (or lack thereof). A couple of times, Dave took only Catie with him and left Lucy with me, and Lucy would grab her jacket and run to the door. She’d stand there and cry when they left without her, while I tried to console her.

Basically? These kids are breaking my heart. This isn’t something I can fix for them, even though I wish like hell that I could.

He’ll be back at Christmas, which isn’t that far from now, but how do you explain that to a little kid who can’t really grasp things like days versus weeks?

My sister is coming to town this weekend, so that should be a good distraction.

I want them to have a relationship with their dad. And I think my job is basically to facilitate that and make these transitions as smooth as possible.

Sunday sister snuggles.

I just really want those happy faces back. Hopefully it won’t take too long until we’re back in our normal groove. And hopefully, as time goes on, each subsequent visit will require less and less readjustment time afterward. I can dream, right?

Dating for Dummies

A few people who I know and love (hi, Greis, Issa, and Jenna, among others!) have mentioned recently that they don’t know how to date. And I have had so much experience with it, that I figured, what the hell. I’ll write a little how-to guide for y’all.

(I’m a giver. You’re welcome.)

———————————————————————————-

CHAPTER 1: ONLINE DATING SITES

This is where the vast majority of my dating experience comes from, so hopefully I can help out with some useful information here.

Which site to use?
Personal preference, that’s really up to you. I met Dave on Match.com, but I’m currently on OkCupid. I’ve heard good things about eHarmony and PlentyOfFish, too. One thing to keep in mind is that the market on each site may be vastly different based on where you live. So check them out, see which one feels the most comfortable to you (and which one gets the kind of search results – excuse me, I mean guys – that you like), and go from there.

Your Dating Profile
A few points to note here:
1. Be honest. Don’t pull a bait-and-switch on anybody. Like, I’m never going to put on my dating profile that I “love the outdoors” and lure some poor schmuck in by thinking that I’ll go camping with him, because you know what? No. It’ll never happen. And I’m not going to talk about sports that I like, because I don’t like any of them. Sorry, dudes. What you see is what you get.

2. Be funny. This is SO HARD on a dating profile, but seriously, just work in some mild humor where you can. It goes a long way. (If you want to know my OkCupid username so you can go look up my profile and copy some of my stuff, let me know and I’ll email it to you. I’m just not posting it here, because… uh. No. Separation of church and state or whatever.)

3. Post a current picture of yourself. I know, it’s shallow. We should be judged on the content of our characters and not by our appearances, right? Well, sort of. Look, I’ll admit it, I’ve turned down some guys that look perfectly nice on paper because I was just flat-out not attracted to them. It happens. One guy had a 97% compatibility match with me (97%!!), but he also had a long twirly handlebar mustache. And I’m sorry, I know it’s shallow, and you might be otherwise perfect for me, but I cannot possibly think about making out with you if you happen to look like the villain in an old black and white movie who ties the damsel to the train tracks. Just, no. Your face killed my lady boner. Sorry, dude.

Also? Something I heard from one of the guys I went out with – don’t do the “MySpace Angle” in your profile picture, where you take the picture from 3 feet above your head to make you look thinner than you are. He wasn’t an asshole about that, btw – he liked me and lord knows I’ve got a little extra chunk on me – his point was that it’s just a misrepresentation. It comes back to that whole “be honest” thing I said in point #1.

Using the Dating Site
This is kind of a weird double standard, but it’s true. If you’re a female? You kinda don’t need to do much at this point. Once your profile is posted, you will most likely be contacted by a lot of guys.

But, if you want to search and find some guys that you want to contact yourself, hey! Awesome! Go for it! I did it once or twice myself. Sure, some guys might be put off by forward women who initiate the first contact, but those guys are clearly insecure and have tiny penises, so let’s roll our eyes and feel sorry for them and move on.

KEEP IN MIND! You are going to have to do a LOT of weeding. As we all know, the Internet is full of sketchy people and creepers, and dating sites are no different.
* I can almost guarantee you will get approached by at least a couple of guys who are very plainly just looking for a one-night stand. You don’t owe them a polite reply. Ignore, delete, move on.
* You will also most likely be contacted by many guys who are married and “looking for a discreet encounter.” (This happens to me surprisingly frequently.) Which, eww, right? Those guys usually get a curt reply from me that says, “I don’t f**k married men. Bye.”
* You may also get emails from guys who are in “open relationships,” and don’t even get me started on that topic, because hey, consenting adults and as long as everyone uses condoms and whatever, but bottom line? Not for me, thanks anyway, move along.

———————————————————————————-

CHAPTER 2: THE ACTUAL DATE

Ok, so let’s say you do your online dating profile and you end up chatting with a guy who “gives good email” (heh) and seems compatible with you. Here are some ground rules for the first date. Some are safety oriented, some are for your own sanity.

1. Yes, it’s ok to give the guy your cell number so you can text each other. This is pretty common practice nowadays.

2. Have a go-to “first date” outfit. It’ll save you time and worrying if you go out with more than one person. (Plus, the whole, “Wait, did I wear this when I went out with him last time?” thing.) Mine is a particular pair of jeans (which I call my “good butt” jeans) and a cute top with a pair of wedge sandals. (Gonna have to rethink those shoes for winter. Hmmm.)

3. For the first date, meet in a well-lit public place. He doesn’t need to know where you live, and you don’t need to get in a car with a virtual stranger.

4. Make sure someone knows where you are. If you’re nervous that it’s going to be awful, have a friend text you at a certain time (about 20 minutes into the date) in case you need to make a quick exit. If you’re having fun, you can ignore the text. (Honestly, I never do this anymore. I figure I can suck it up and talk to pretty much anyone for an hour or so and it won’t kill me.)

5. The best possible plan for a first date is to meet for coffee (during the day) or a drink (at night), but no meals. If you’re having a meal together, you’ve committed to a big chunk of time. For a coffee/drink date, you can easily drag it out if you’re having a good time, or you can cut it short if you’re not. It makes it easier and less awkward for both parties.

Side note: Do not go see a movie on the first date, or even the first few dates, really. The idea is to get to know each other. You don’t get to know someone by sitting next to them in the dark and not speaking.

6. Remember the weeding I mentioned earlier? Yeah. You’re still gonna have to keep doing that. Some guys you might go out with and you don’t feel it. Or you might like them a lot, but they don’t feel it for you. Rejection sucks in either direction, but it happens. You’re probably going to go on a lot of first dates that don’t lead to second dates. It’s just how it works.

———————————————————————————-

CHAPTER 3: AFTER THE FIRST DATE

1. This is hard, but try to be a little thick-skinned about it if someone blows you off. Likewise, you need to have a (preferably polite) blow-off message to send to someone who may be interested in you, but who you aren’t interested in yourself. This is rough. Mine is basically this:

“Thanks, I had a really nice time, but I just didn’t feel that ‘spark’ or whatever, and I know myself well enough to know that if it doesn’t happen on the first date, it mostly likely never will happen. I’m really sorry, and I wish you the best of luck in finding your match. Take care!”

Something like that, more or less.

2. On the other hand, if he digs you and wants to see you again, and you dig him and want to see him again… well. From here, I’m guessing you can probably figure it all out for yourself.

———————————————————————————-

Ok, that’s basically it. If you have questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. (Oooh, maybe this will be a multi-part series! Fun!)

Happy hunting, ladies! XOXO

about The Guy

I keep thinking about things I should write about, and typically I use this blog as a way to sort of write out what’s going on in my head, because it helps me process things if I can put them into words. But lately, there’s only one subject that keeps coming to mind.

The Guy.

I don’t even know where to start with this.

We’ve been seeing each other since March. For a long time, he was just one of a few different guys that I was dating. He was seeing other people too. We both got separated around the same time last year, so neither of us was ready to jump into any serious relationship “thing” right away.

But we sort of kept gravitating back to each other. He’s sweet and kind and smart and funny and geeky and all of those traits that attract me. He brought me flowers on Mother’s Day. He texts me every day without fail (typically many times a day). I can be nerdy or goofy or sarcastic or whatever, and he “gets” me. His kids are a little older than mine (they’re 8 and 5), but they’re close enough that he has a pretty good idea of what my life is like.

He calls me Sweetie.

A couple of months ago, I said something to my mom about how I really liked him. She started getting upset, telling me that I shouldn’t be getting serious about anyone yet, what about the kids, yadda yadda…

Then she said, “I mean, go ahead and have your fun, just don’t fall in love with the guy.”

*blink… blink-blink*

After taking a minute to process that, I said, “Uhhh… Mom? Did you just tell me to go get laid?”

She said, “I can’t believe I said that. Forget that. And don’t you dare blog about it!”

(Sorry, Mom! It was too funny to leave it. I laughed for days about that one.)

[For the record, as far as my mom’s concerns about the kids: he’s met Lucy a couple of times, because she’s so young that I don’t worry about her questioning who this person is or what my connection is to him or how he fits into our lives. He met Catie once for about ten seconds, when he came to the door to pick me up and the girls were with a sitter. He was introduced as “Mommy’s friend,” I didn’t hug or kiss him or even touch him in front of her, and she was so distracted by having the baby-sitter there that I think he barely registered on her radar.]

Anyway, as for me “going and having my fun”… that part? With him? Uh. Well. I try to keep my blog relatively safe in case any family members happen to read it, so let’s just leave it at HOLY FREAKING OMG WOW YOU GUYS.

Ahem. So. Yeah.

I don’t know exactly what it was that triggered it, but it’s starting to sink in that he has become much more than just a guy I’m casually dating. I really, genuinely care about him a lot. This was not supposed to happen, I was not supposed to like somebody this much so soon, but there it is.

And the weird part, is that realizing this – realizing how deep my feelings are for him (and no, I’m not saying the L-word because I just can’t bring myself to go quite there yet) – brought up a whole mess of fears and anxieties that I didn’t even know I had. I was suddenly crying constantly. Which is particularly noteworthy since I normally have a hard time crying. But here I am, closing myself in the bathroom after the kids are asleep so they don’t hear me, and sobbing my eyes out.

I try so hard to live my life with this constant attitude of “no, it’s cool, I’ve got this.” I hate the idea of feeling like a victim. I don’t want to be whiny or needy. So I try to give off this illusion of super competence. Truthfully, I am absolutely terrified of getting hurt again.

And on Monday, when I texted him and said that I was feeling stupidly weepy and emotional? Rather than run for the hills, he texted me back immediately and asked if he could take me to lunch so I could talk. He held my hand across the table while I talked and tried not to cry again.

(I hate crying in public. I find it mortifying. I’d rather fall down, or have a wardrobe malfunction, or accidentally fart or God, just ANYTHING, but don’t make me cry in front of strangers. That’s one level of humiliation I can’t handle.)

After lunch, he walked me to my car and he hugged me and petted my hair for about 5 minutes in the parking lot.

And afterward, I felt so much calmer. I’m not crying anymore. I think I’m almost (dare I say it) happy?

I don’t know what to make of this, y’all. This was so not part of the plan. But I think it’s good.

Official

I got an email from my attorney a few minutes ago that I am officially divorced.

It feels weird that I didn’t have to be there for it. I had all these little fantasies about how this would play out: I’d show up at the courthouse in a fancy dress and tiara, and write “Just Divorced” in soap on the back windshield of my car as I drove away.

But none of that was necessary. My attorney went to the courthouse for me, she handed the judge the decree, the judge signed it, and that’s that.

Pretty anti-climactic, no?

I had planned to meet up with Laura this evening to get pictures taken of me and the girls. A mini-celebration of our new little family unit, just the three of us. It felt appropriate.

Then Lucy crashed on her tricycle at daycare. The director told me she had “a little boo-boo under her eye.”

Ummm…

Well, we WERE going to have family pics done tomorrow, until someone fell off a tricycle & got her first black eye.

This picture doesn’t do it justice. Girlfriend has a full-on shiner now. I feel like I need to put a sign around her neck that says, “She’s just an accident-prone toddler, nobody is abusing her at home, I swear.”

And then Catie got sick with a cold. She’s had the sniffles for a while, but it got really bad last night. Bad enough that I let her stay home from school today, and she’s currently laying on the couch watching some random dinosaur cartoon on Netflix.

Honestly, it’s kind of nice to have her around.

This day feels so weird. I am happy that it’s done. I really, really am. This process was so ridiculously long and drawn out, I feel like a weight has been lifted knowing that it’s done.

It’s also a little surreal, and I think it might take a while for it to sink in that it’s finished.

But black eyes and sniffles and canceled plans notwithstanding, it’s a good day. It really is.

And P.S., a heartfelt f*** you to the state of North Carolina and their ridiculous mandatory waiting periods. This whole process was made so much more agonizingly painful than it needed to be. As much as I love everything else about this state, that’s really the only advice I have from this whole thing – don’t get divorced in North Carolina. Ever.