divorce

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Still Life

Published April 10, 2014 by mssprinkle

Spring is my busiest and worst time of year.  I am a person who notices anniversaries, and there are some big baddies for me in the Spring.  I am also a public school teacher, and this is the time of year that “THEY” try to kill us with morale-crushing tactics like Tutoring, Testing, and Teacher-Trashing.  This season also includes Lent and Easter, which bring a lot of family baggage and difficult music along with whatever Spiritual and Religious Stuff they might be packing.  There’s something about taxes where you have to look at all your money and DEAL with it.  So from New Year’s to my birthday in May, I pretty much just hang on and try to survive.

This year things have been really, really good!  So good, in fact, that I don’t want to miss it in the furious mad dash that usually constitutes Spring for me.  Not only am I actually noticing birds and flowers, I’m very aware that Spring seems to be being really gentle with me this year.

I have had a few little flurries of contact from my Darling-but-Difficult Daughter.  She’s still not ready for much of a relationship, but I get the feeling she’s thawing.  I am still trying to get used to living in a different part of town, but my ex is looking happy, and my own present living situation is very good.  Those days that mark great losses still came and went, with the lost ones duly noted but not devastatingly so.  I think my lost ones still love me.  I had enough money to pay for help with the taxes and I am still in good standing with Uncle Sam and the bank.  Work is still very hard – we are still on the State’s Bad List (for the second year), but my class size is remarkably small this year and it’s making a shocking difference.  Even though these children are not smarter, less disadvantaged, or better behaved than usual, simply the fact that I have 30% fewer of them means I am not hopelessly drowning.  This year my principal seems to like me, which is unheard of but refreshing!  Extra tutoring at school and extra rehearsals at Church still mean long hours away from home, but The Holy Week Music is even something lovely, with which I am already fairly familiar, so I am singing along happily in Church Choir without too much added stress (UNLIKE last year, which may deserve a whole post of it’s own!).  Most of my friends know they are just not going to see me much this time of year – but the ones I have fleetingly crossed paths with have all remarked on how much less beaten down I appear than is usual for Spring.

I still feel wretchedly insecure at random awful moments.  I am still trying to love friends who are still sick, or away.  Work is still work, and money still kind of scares me.  I realize that I am crowing optimistically with many Spring Challenges still ahead of me.  But I don’t want to fail to note the strange condition of “Not Too Bad.”  I know it could still turn into a “typical” Spring for me.  But the snapshot of my life right this minute is good.  I am still here, and I am still happy.

 

 

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I Wasn’t Invited

Published March 23, 2014 by mssprinkle

I think I was a little hard on the smart-alecky fifth grader who showed up at my classroom door with three blue envelopes in his hand.  He was popping gum (never allowed) and waving the envelopes over his head.

“Three lucky people invited to my party!”  He shouted when he opened the door without warning.

“Not on my time!”  I exclaimed, without taking time to think.  “Unless you have one for everybody, you may not distribute them during school time.”  I did not actually shove him out the door, but I am a large lady and when I advance menacingly, most people retreat hastily.

“Aw!  I bet one of those was for me!”  whined one of my less-sharp little tacks.

“I bet it wasn’t!”  Responded my meanest girl.

“MATH!”  I practically roared, and class resumed.

Last night I missed the wedding of a young woman of whom I am very fond.  She is the same age as my daughter, and they grew up together in church and school.  They were not best friends, but because their parents were friendly and their paths crossed constantly, they knew each other well.  I was not invited to the wedding.

I know the mother felt awkward about this.  She and I really have been friends. We never actually spoke about the decision, but as the wedding approached she avoided me more and more.  When it was impossible to do so she frantically directed any conversation toward other topics as we stood around before church choir or met up in the grocery store.  I ached to pat her on the arm and say, “It’s okay,” except that it wasn’t.  I WANTED TO BE INCLUDED.

I understand why I was not.

I’ve had to cut those wedding guests lists down before, and it’s painful.  And I know that my ex-husband and his new wife may be closer socially to their family than I am now.  Most of all, I understand that the estrangement between me and my daughter complicates something like this very nastily.

I got a nicely detailed report from friends who did attend.  It’s not the same as going, but it’s good.  My daughter was there, she was beautiful, and she has a new boyfriend who met with greater approval than the previous beau.  The bride was lovely, the service was sweet, and the party was fun.

Hopefully now the mother-of-the-bride and I can settle down and say “Hi,” without the nervous twitching.

Hopefully soon the achey little place in my heart with catch up with my sensible thoughts.

I already had another friend who grabbed both my hands tightly and said, “Listen to me.  This will not happen for our wedding this summer.  My son loves you both and you’re both invited.  Don’t you worry.”

I am sorry my friends are stressing about this.  I am stressing about this.  Nobody tells you when you finally say ENOUGH and rearrange your life that the weddings of your children’s friends will involve such troubles.

I think I shall go and grade some math papers.