I don’t know much about you, and you don’t know a whole lot about me either. I wanted to make a request that you go easy on me this year, please. I’m coming off a very tumultuous year.
I know, some of it was my fault. I probably shouldn’t have brazenly tempted 2014 like I did last January, when I said,
“I look forward to experiencing how the year 2014 unfolds. I look forward to the trials, the delights, the sorrows, the adventures, the treasures of joy and pain…I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for the lessons I might be blessed with.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stop resisting, and I’m going to say yes…to Life!”
I’m not quite sure what I was saying. Maybe I was having a bit of hubris, challenging 2014 to lay it on me, no matter what it was.
I promise I won’t be so arrogant this year. While I’ve grown considerably in strength and courage, I would like to have a very peaceful year this go-round.
Your humble servant,
I was recently looking at the first post of 2014 and realized I said something really, incredibly sweet about how I spent New Year’s Eve last year.
“I had a beautiful night with my husband last night.
We didn’t do anything special. After the girls went to bed, we watched the movie, Girl with a Pearl Earring, a story based on the painting by the artist Johannes Vermeer. I have been particularly fond of that painting and I enjoyed the movie – the gentle intensity of it; the hint of sexual energy without exploiting it for profit; the enraged wife, and the tender denouement.
And then we retired to the bedroom. I enjoyed the warm cocoon of our bed with our new polar fleece sheets. I snuggled in close to my husband, draped my arm over his chest, my leg over his, and I held his hand on his chest. My husband’s breathing slowed and deepened and I felt a deep sense of gratitude to still be with this man I call my husband.
I realized how blessed I am. Truly, amazingly blessed to have that man as my husband. Yes, even as close as we had been to divorce not too long ago.”
365 days and many heartbreaking events later, my husband and I, for the first time in 20 years, spent New Year’s Eve separately.
He spent it at a local bar and grill, with a new girl he is interested in dating. I spent it with a friend (truly a friend, not a love interest) and another couple at his house. Actually, this was at my request. I asked my husband to contact his friend so that I didn’t have to feel like I was abandoning him. And I didn’t want to spend another New Year’s Eve pretending things were okay between us, when they really, truly aren’t.
But even after I decided this was for the best, I couldn’t help but cry throughout the day and I even cried on the way over to my friend’s house. It just didn’t feel right to me.
Even though we had a separate Thanksgiving (I at my sister’s house, he and our daughters at his sister’s house), and my mother didn’t want him at her house Christmas day (so he spent Christmas Day at home with a bunch of movies) and I was fine with those days, it felt so really painful to not ring in the New Year together.
For a little while, I couldn’t understand why this was so hard for me. Why did it hurt this time and not before?
I had a conversation with another very dear friend of mine and I told him:
I don’t know why I’m upset. I guess I always thought the transition from the old year to the new year was significant. Old dreams…new hopes….
I always shared that significant night with my husband. This is the first year I am not.
And he replied:
This isn’t just a holiday – this is out with the old and in with the new. The time we look back and look forward – are almost forced to. It’s a lot of pressure, frankly. It means not just another holiday but a crossroads and a symbolic event.It’s a big deal who you’re with and you find yourself thinking about next year’s plans…And you know this is going to be the year of big changesBoth desired, and feared
And the thing is, I know he’s right.
And I did call my husband on the way over to my friend’s house, and he was totally fine with not being with me to ring in the new year. Though he did say it felt weird, he didn’t feel bad, or cry, or anything. I think he was looking forward to the possibility of seeing his new potential girlfriend, but even if he did not, he had some movies and a six pack of beer to keep him company.
For my part, I actually did enjoy myself, much more than I thought I would. We had wine and some food, played some games with the other couple that came to celebrate, and watched This Is 40, a comedy that had some really funny moments, but was also a little bit too reflective of some of the dysfunction I have been going through, with my husband.
Between the wine and the movie, I was giggling maniacally sometimes and tearing up at other times. It was sweet that my friend noticed my tears and without saying a word, reached for the tissue box.
The next time I cried, he asked what was wrong and I just said, “Oh, I don’t know, just the wine…and the movie…” and he said he said, “yeah, I get it”. And I really felt he did.
This time, when we retired to bed, as much as I wanted to snuggle up to my husband’s warm body, I had to force myself not to give into the habit. I turned away from him, thinking of how different this year was from last year.
He placed his hand on the small of my back, and while I didn’t resist, I was not going to lose my resolve to continue to emotionally separate so that when the time comes, the actual separation/divorce will be a little bit easier.
At least I hope so.