In life there are certain things that you just cannot prepare for. Unfortunately, many of those things come from divorce. For example, I remember the first night that I left the house I stayed with a friend for the first couple of days. That next morning I needed to pick up my girls around 10:00am. Now, I was already a mess. I left my house. I had to say goodbye to my girls. And even though I knew that I was going to see them the next day I realized that was going to be the last time we were together as a family. My world was crashing down around me and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. Okay, back to the story. I was picking my girls up around 10:00 and I pulled in the driveway in a daze but excited to see my girls. The garage door was closed and as I walked up onto the front porch it hit me. Oh my God! I have to ring the doorbell! I can’t really describe what I was feeling at that moment. I think it was a bag of mixed emotions. But whatever it was, it was not good. I felt like I was going to throw up. I actually just stood there for a couple of minutes trying to gather my composure for my girls’ sake and realizing just how much my life was going to change. There is no amount of time that can prepare you for ringing that doorbell for the first time and having your oldest daughter open the door and jump into your arms. It took everything I had to keep it together that morning. Of course as the days went by it became easier, well, easier isn’t the right word. It became a little less challenging every day. Now, years later, time finds a way to make everything better. But don’t kid yourself, that doesn’t happen overnight. It took years for me to be comfortable pulling up in my old driveway. And another problem is that is just the beginning of firsts that you have to deal with. Like the first time that you go inside the house or the first time you have to “ask” to use your bathroom. Wow, thinking back on all of this now as I am writing about it still gives me a weird feeling.
When I left I decided to pretty much leave everything for the girls’ Mom. I left everything in the garage, all of the tools and everything you could imagine building up over 8 years in “that” house. Everybody told me that I was an idiot for not taking anything, but at the time I was staying in a hotel and had no place to store it so I thought it would just be better to leave it there. Now where am I going with all of this you ask? Well, take a minute and think about everything in your house that you might need over the next few years if you had to leave tomorrow. Oh yeah, and I forgot one of the main parts. Any guesses on what I forgot to mention so far? What about all of my stuff? I had to make an appointment when my girls would not be home to come to “my” house and pack up all of my stuff. Just think about all of the clothes you have, and all of the little things that you don’t even think about on a daily basis. Take a minute and look around your house and think about all of the things you would take if you were leaving for good. I couldn’t believe all of the stuff. And here is a funny story, it seems like it never ends. Just last year they were going through the storage room and found a case with a bunch of old cassette tapes that I had when I was in high school. I have been divorced for almost 9 years! And still finding stuff!
I know I started with the doorbell, but it doesn’t end there. And if you are just going through all of this for the first time I just want you to know that even though it seems like life is crashing down, better days are ahead. Just realize that every “first” that you are doing now is one less that you will have to go through in the future. And one day, it will become normal again. It just takes time.