The other morning, I sat looking at my kitchen faucet and a wave of sadness washed over me. The man I am in love with had just left after we’d shared an amazing few days together. The house was quiet as my three kids were with their dad. Suddenly, I was alone with my thoughts and it felt scary.
I missed my kids deeply; I missed the man who stood in my kitchen and kissed me good bye just a few moments before. And as I let the warm water run over my hands, I realized how confusing it was to miss them all at the same time.
I miss my old life even though I am happy about my new one
I was overwhelmed with happy emotions; the emotions everyone experiences when they first fall in love. Yet as I looked at my kitchen faucet and remembered the night I’d drove out to this house to meet my then husband who was putting the finishing touches on our new home before we moved in, I was incredibly sad.
“I’m putting in the kitchen faucet, but I don’t want you to see the kitchen until it’s done. It will be the big reveal,” he’d said. I was sleep deprived, pregnant with our second and had left our 1-year-old in the car sleeping so I could drop off dinner to my husband who was working all day, then coming to our new home to do the plumbing work.
“The big reveal,” I repeated and I couldn’t stop laughing. A few minutes later, I pulled out of the driveway that rainy night thinking, it won’t be long and this will be our forever home.
Three weeks later we moved in–that was 13 years ago.
Three kids and 15 years later we divorced.
I have fallen in love again after my divorce
That morning somehow felt like a pivotal moment in my life. I didn’t know if I’d ever allow myself to fall in love again after my marriage ended but here I was.
Even though I felt blissfully happy, something was in the way of pure happiness. My old life, the one where my kids were small, and I had a husband who came home every night, and I was so sure of what the future held was gone. I was nostalgic for that life.
Somehow being in love with a man who is not my kids’ father made me long for the life that used to mean family time on the weekends, reading the kids stories until they fell asleep and going to their baseball games together on Saturdays.
My two lives were colliding. I felt like I was only allowed to feel one emotion at a time and I wondered if I could be a good girlfriend and also be sad for my old life. At the same time, I questioned my role as a mother.
I am so giddy in love with the new man who has come into my life. This man I wasn’t expecting is taking up valuable real estate in my brain these days. Real estate that should belong to my kids. Right?
My house isn’t as clean as it used to be. I no longer spend every extra second working or tending to my kids. I have a personal life that includes more than just going out with my girlfriends once a week. And I can’t help but feel guilty about all of it.
I spend time thinking of my boyfriend, what we’ve shared and what we will share going forward.
I’m not used to this. I was in no way prepared for this kind of life change and there is a part of me that is done with changes because we’ve been through enough of those lately.
When my kids were small, if someone had told me that as they became teens, my marriage would be over and I’d fall in love with someone other than their father, I would never have believed them. But here I am.
Loving my current life does not mean I need to forget the past
After mourning my kids’ younger years and the end of my marriage I have finally fallen deeply in love. I am still a great mother even though I’m not hanging on to every memory from when my kids were tiny. The guilt from ending my marriage has faded because I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable with someone who is so worth it.
But it doesn’t mean I’ve closed chapters in my life. It doesn’t mean I’ve left them behind or they aren’t a part of me any longer. It simply means I’m creating a new chapter. And I am allowed to do that.
I am allowed to continue on with my life and find love again. It doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the mistakes I’ve made. It doesn’t mean I won’t remember taking my son out in our new yard, or our first Christmas, or any of the other memories we made when I was married to my kids’ father.
It just means that I have decided to keep living. It means that sometimes I will miss the days when my kids were small and I was married to their dad.
But that doesn’t take anything away from the new love that I’ve found. Just as my new love doesn’t dilute any of my memories of the family I had.
And that’s all okay.
The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous.