Hello, darling. I hope you are well. I sincerely do.
I had a really, really tough visit with an old friend yesterday. So tough I was still shattered by it when I woke up this morning. A girlfriend I hadn’t heard from in eighteen months called with a blunt distress signal: Could I come over? Tonight? She wasn’t doing so well.
I’ll say. Her marriage has been blowing up in spectacular fashion since about Thanksgiving, but she was too ashamed to call for help till last night.
She called me, because she knew that I had divorced and survived – more than that – that I had divorced and gone on to have a healthy, happy family and successful career in spite of my divorce.
Of course I went to her, and I found a woman who was that brittle kind of barely hanging on that says, “I’d really rather be sobbing hysterically in a corner right now, but I have to hold it together for my kids.”
My friend, mother of four, had left the workforce mid-career to stay home when they started having their longed for family. Now, some ten years of stay-at-home-motherhood later, with husband unceremoniously moving on, my friend has to go back to work. The panic rose in her voice when she talked about her fear that she’d never find a job that would make enough to pay for daycare and keep the house. I told her she would, that she and the kids would all manage, and suggested she also look at going back to school. We talked for several very, very difficult hours.
She will, of course, survive. She has some difficult years ahead, but she is a tough, smart, strong woman, and, as she herself said, she has to survive for her kids. So she will.
As I left her house, a haze of gratitude mixed with my pain. Gratitude for my own family, for my husband, and gratitude for my career. That crazy-exhausting grown-up game that makes me sad and tired and stressed more often than not. So grateful.
Because it gives me a safety net (as much as one can have a safety net) and it gives me a share of power in my marriage.
My heart breaks for my friend. My heart breaks for any world where there is that much pain.
And, tired as I was, I didn’t mind work so much today.
Be blessed, Mamma. Be grateful.