It’s 9pm. I’m sitting on the couch in my living room listening to the sound of children upstairs who won’t fall asleep… and I’m irritated. Night after night, I long for a quiet house and a reprieve from the unrelenting needs, noises, and demands of 4 children. Post separation and divorce, my parenting responsibilities grew exponentially. I’m the custodial parent, the present parent, the one that carries the load of responsibilities. There is rarely a day when I’m not bound by the role of caregiver. Single, yet rarely alone.
how the hell do I do this?? am I really suppose to get use to this?? how do I cope??
If only we had a commune for single moms: a group of people living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities. It’s a stellar idea! Problem is, our marriages ceased in different parts of town. Rarely do we live next door to each other. Our kids are enrolled in a variety of school districts, we have different standards of living, different income levels, different needs. But what if there was a place… a haven… where in the in between… we could be there with and for each other? What if we weren’t isolated in our own little homes and apartments trying to do this alone? What if we could lean on each other — on the ones that understand, can empathize like none other, and are motivated to lend a helping hand? I would seriously consider moving if there was a commune waiting with open arms.
I joined a group of women this weekend for a retreat in Wimberley, TX. Most of us had never met before, but our bond was quick and strong. See, we share in the sisterhood of betrayed women. Our current or former husbands meet the criteria of “cheaters” or “sex addicts” due to their compulsive problematic sexual behavior that we discovered (or he disclosed)…. but more times than not discovered, because it’s rarely disclosed. Discovery of hidden affairs, porn, escorts, etc. is earth shattering and traumatizing. The heap of lies and deception breaks our sense of security and erodes our trust. The life we thought we had and the spouse we thought we knew disappear. We find ourselves sitting in debris overwhelmed with shock, pain, grief, and loss. The road ahead is long and difficult whether we travel it with him or walk alone. In the shit storm (to quote one of the sisters), we realize our need for help, support, and mending.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. How fitting it was for us to do this exercise. Our retreat facilitator brought a collection of pottery and had us pick a piece. Then we broke it with a hammer. The next morning we began the process of piecing the broken pieces back together. The philosophy of Kintsugi says repair becomes part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. The pottery isn’t discarded after damage or breakage. In fact, the damage is illuminated. Liquid gold or silver is used to paint over the cracks.
The process of Kintsugi is slow and tedious. Not all the pieces fit together perfectly. When we painted over the cracks, we found beauty again in the object. In fact, it’s more beautiful now than it was to begin with. This is the lesson learned. Like the pottery, we will never be the same. Through our pain, we’re transformed.