Irony

I have often said that when I lost my mother, I lost a lot of who I am as well. I felt like a giant wall of bricks had fallen on me and I did not know how to get back up. The irony of that statement is that I don't know that I really had a grip on that before any of this ever happened. I was married for 13 years at that point, and happiness had long since been replaced by complacency. I had made the decision that I needed to make a change prior to December of 2008, though I had no idea how to have that conversation. It would mean admitting failure, changing everything about my life, and more over, having a life long impact on my children. But with that desire for happiness and nagging feeling that there had to be more burning in me for years, all I knew in the fall of 2008 is that it was no longer a question of if, but when. And I knew that I would know when the moment arrived. Indeed I did.

I didn't get up that morning thinking today is the day. I went to work and came home. The discussion was tenuous and, without going into the details, I knew it was time. I turned to her and said I want a divorce. When I told her I wanted out, it felt like a huge mistake. Two weeks after we said good bye to my Mother, it was really the last thing I expected to say that day. But once those words crossed my lips, it was a bell I could not unring. I made a plan and just knew that things would go exactly how I planned. How ironic that I sit here today in 2011, it is nothing like I thought it would be. But it is exactly as it should be.

I spent much of the next 18 months making the mistakes I have spoken about. I have never really addressed what they were. But in tonight's post about irony, I will share just a bit. I moved out of my house and into a new one with another woman. While she is a great person and terrific friend, this was a big mistake. I spent my time trying to make her a replacement, and settle right back in to a family life. I got to know her children and adored them. The boys would come down and play, and for a short period of time I thought I had found stability again. Then, through a chain reaction of really bad moments, I found that I had made a big mess bigger. And it had cost me more than most anyone knows. I sought comfort in a bottle and wound up embarrassing myself in front of not only her, but a guest in my home and half the neighborhood. My poor friend Dave had to settle me down. The very next day John-Michael told me he felt like I didn't care about him or his brothers anymore. A punch to the gut on what was already a bad day, I made him a promise that I would never make him feel that way again.

I have done everything in my power to fulfill that promise. They became and continue to be my primary focus. Through the travel and work, I made sure that they knew I was doing it to make a better life for them. Even now, when JM struggles with the divorce and new lifestyle, I make sure he know that while I am his father, I am also his friend and an outlet for any frustration he has. I am very proud of my relationship with him, one that I never had with my real father.

By the winter of 2009, I again thought it all figured out. I had made my mistakes, and done the smart thing by traveling and putting space between me and Columbus. So by the time I made the drive from Chicago to Columbus (see Purple by moonlight) I was ready to jump back in head first. So I did. I was a pro at it after all, having been through my fair share of women since March. Ironically, though, this one could see right through it, through me.. And called me on it. No one had ever been able to do that before. But she did. I told her she didn't know what she was talking about.

Ironically it was me listening to the advice she gave me almost 7 months after she said it to finally feel like I was on the right track. An even stronger focus on my boys and career has led me to tonight, where I feel like things are definitely headed in the right direction. I no longer think I have it figured all out. But as I have said before, I am better off than I was a year ago. Hopefully I will be able to say the same thing a year from today.

In a final irony, I will close tonight by saying that when I was deciding whether I really wanted to leave behind a life I built for 13 years, I often looked for signs. One of them was when I heard someone say what is your legacy? The words burned through me and stuck with me until that moment arrived, Like a CD stuck on skip, I replayed the words over and over again and asked myself what was I teaching my boys about life and love and marriage? What legacy was I leaving them? And while I am still trying to rebuild the legacy I will leave my children, and I know it still needs so much work, it is better now than it was then.

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