This is the post I haven't been looking forward to writing. It's so much easier to write about buttons and scones, so much harder to write about scary things such as.. separation. The Man and I have been separated for some time now, with a view to divorce.
It has been a little terrifying, rather exhausting time. The Man and I are not really good at emotions, but we were determined to address all the issues we had previously been determined not to address. We wanted to break up the partnership, but not the family. We wanted to be able to live together at least some of the time. So we have spent the year 'emoting'. Twenty three years' worth. It's like peeling an onion, always another layer.
It has not been all bad. All those things we always tried to teach the children, we are finally learning to do ourselves. Using our words. Talking about our feelings. Being honest. OK, so we are still not really brilliant at those things, maybe a C plus. But we are on our way to being very good buddies again, which is maybe the way it should have remained all those years ago. We were nineteen and twenty when we got married, and neither of us knew the first thing about how to not wreck a relationship. So we did.
However, we don't regret those years. They made us who we are, and they gave us the best gifts life can give, four amazing human beings who wouldn't be here otherwise, and who we are endlessly privileged to know.
And so that we can still be a family from time to time, when The Man is in the state he lives downstairs. He mends what needs fixing, helps with the homework, does the dishes, plays canasta, takes everyone out for pizza, then hops back on a plane again and flies away. During the school holidays we all went to visit him in Brisbane, played on the beach, went to Seaworld to see dolphins and giant turtles (I believe there is a rule that you have to do that once in a life time), and ate sushi under a giant sausage tree in the botanic gardens. I was enchanted to discover that there is such a thing as a sausage tree. The world conspires to make me happy even when I have to get on a plane and fly somewhere, which is both against my principles, and definitely against nature.
What are we doing? Muddling through. Trying to do the best we can with what we have. Trying to be kind to each other. Being a family who is always there for each other. Trying something new because the old way wasn't working. Keeping on going. Sewing on buttons and making scones, and emailing Daddy in Edinburgh. Or Shanghai. Discovering again the kindness of friends. Putting one foot in front of the other. Showing up.
A Bit More Subtraction
8 minutes ago