Putting One Foot in Front of the Other..

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.


Heather said…
Sending you lots and lots of hugs. I am so sorry.
Anonymous said…
Oh Jo :(. I don't know what to say. I have been following All The Blue Day and noticing that something wasn't quite right, something was amiss and now we see why. Having been through my own dark tea-time of the soul divorce from my teenage sweetheart I know how hard it is to peel those layers away and expose yourself to the world solo. I guess you have had this year to start the healing process and to your credit, you have been incredibly stoic about it all but stoic isn't going to help you heal. SO glad you have good friends surrounding you and that your children are all there to support and help you get through it and most importantly, that you are both dealing with this together. That makes the journey bearable, if not "easy". Please go easy on yourself Jo. You have been so hard with yourself lately. I didn't comment as I didn't know what to say. I knew that something was wrong but didn't have any glib or trite words (my forte) to ease what you were going through and I find myself standing here awkwardly not knowing what to say aside from it does get better and you will be strong enough. HUGE hugs from blustery Sidmouth and please, just look after yourself Jo. You are SO worth looking after :)
CJ said…
So sorry you're going through this difficult time, I do hope that you are both able to find much happiness in the future. CJ xx
Anonymous said…
I've not been in this situation but it sounds like you are doing your best to make a good situation come from the not so good. Good on you both for facing things with maturity and a hell of a lot of guts. It's never easy to peel through the layers of crap to find the truth underneath it all, no matter what the reason for doing so. Kudos to you for being incredibly brave.
Take it easy on yourself and your children and I hope things settle down as easily as they can for all concerned.
Anonymous said…
Hi Jo, A separation is a big step into the future. You separate yourself from a person, and from some of your past, and from a lot of habits and feelings that probably weren't working for a long time. And you get to create new ones, and healthier ones, that work for your current self. So I wish you happiness in all of that. I had noticed for some months that you sounded very much like a single parent, not just a long-distance couple, so I guess the truth does out. Very brave post.
i'm sending you lots of kind thoughts and positive nenergy to get you thru your blue days.
i'm glad you have friends for you, but do not be ashamed or scared to see a doctor or counsellor if you get too sad or lost.
be kind to yourself. treat yourself like you would a friend going thru the same situation. that is some of the best advice i had for life's difficult days.
Anonymous said…
What everyone else said. It sounds like you are both handling a difficult situation with poise and maturity. All the best, Loretta xx
Unknown said…
Whoa, was not expecting that but have always wondered how you made your unusual situation work. This is just a comment to let your know that i am supporting your decision and also pretty impressed with how you have dealt with this. Kudos. As always putting your family first. Big hugs from Me! Lynda. XO
Jo said…
Oh, dear ones, I knew I could count on you. I have been out all day, but I logged on before I left this morning, your lovely comments made me cry, and I had to go and put another layer of make up on. I knew that would happen. Why did I do it? Because I needed some love, and I knew where to find some.

Say what you will about cyberspace, this space is such a haven for me, full of dear, perceptive, thoughtful and ever kind friends, who never fail to say the right thing, and never hesitate to tell it like it is. Thank you lovies. xx
Anonymous said…
Oh Jo! Hugs, hugs, hugs.

Like others, I could feel the atmosphere of your world was disturbed. What a scary new adventure in life you're embarking on!

You went to Brisbane? Would that be by plane? Did you overcome your fear? If so, see how brave you've already become!

I don't know if it arrived but I posted a book a couple of weeks ago - a sweet tale of a neighbourhood protector. Sensed you needed an avenger or protective talisman.
Linda said…
Dear Jo, your email did not really surprise me as I felt all was not well with you. Your announcement was a brave step and now you have started to make some steps, others will follow a little more easily. You are in my thoughts. Love to you and your family.
Oh, Jo, I'm so, so sorry. But I will say it sounds like you and the Man are being decent and true and trying hard to do the right thing for the family. So that gives me hope that all will be well. I will keep you in my prayers. Peace and love to you and yours.

Jo said…
Lucinda, no book:( I know the post is slow to Tas, but generally not two weeks slow. Mind you we had a teenaged house sitter who put post in odd places. And possibly I may have recycled a parcel notice? I will call the post office on Monday. It would be a tragedy if I lost a book. Thank you for thinking of me:)

And thank you too other lovely friends. I find myself feeling a little (!) overwhelmed this week, due to hormones, weather, and single-parent-itis. It feels very comforting to know that you are out there, somewhere, and thinking of me kindly:)
Anonymous said…
Oh no, too sad. It was a slim volume. Fitted into an envelope. The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey. To give you strength.
Oh this wrenched my heart, probably in a much lesser proportion to the extent yours is aching and breaking over and again. I am so sorry to hear things are not working out, but at the same time, I am encouraged by your attempts, together, to work on a functional relationship that can work for the both of you but also your wonderful children.

I have no wisdom for you - I'm just young. I have not been touched by a separation. My love does go out to you, and your family.
GretchenJoanna said…
So sorry to hear this! But what you said about learning to be friends gives me hope for you all. May God help you and give you not just a better ending, but a new start. My love and poor prayers are headed your way.
Jen's Busy Days said…
Sorry to hear Jo. I am struggling with the temporary single parent thing right now with eight weeks to go. It overwhelms me sometimes but I am getting stronger at making decisions with no one to blame if it was a bad one and no one to back me up if it was a good one but the kids don't think so. :-(

With this being a more permanent situation for you I know you have a lot more to process, grieve over and accept before you can move on but I trust that your inner resilience will carry you through. Chin up and carry on! And on days that doesn't work, chocolate, bed and a good novel. ;-)

Wish I could drop by and have a natter. NSW seems so far from Tassie when I have a friend in need.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW
Jo said…
Dear sweet hearts, thanks again, and just... thanks xx
Unknown said…
Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.

Unknown said…
Good vibes. Everyday, all day.
imarksweb.net. God Bless :)

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