So Mr. W and I are planning on shacking up in the next couple of weeks. We’ve been working out the details for several months now. Mapped out are how the kids will be going to school, how the finances will be split up, who gets to park where in the driveway, and calendars coordinated to include a merged family’s daily schedule. Each kid has their own room, and they’ve selected colors to paint the walls and make their space more personal (DQ has a lovely shade of brown, the Taz chose a wild shade of bright golden yellow after I put my foot down over “Startling Orange”. Trust me, it was definitely startling). And Mr. W’s son gets a brand new room that we’ve had built just for him.
Every day I’ve been setting time aside to go through the corners of each room, separating my items into ones I want to keep and ones I want to give away. It’s not a fast process, placing my hands on things I haven’t seen for years, bringing memories of the past several years flooding back in. There’s my diary that I kept from the very beginning, chronicling every triumph and mistake I’ve made in my dating life after divorce (oh, the juicy shame in that little book!). There’s the box of art that contains a Mother’s Day card that turned into an “I’m Sorry” card when the kids spent the morning fighting while I waited for their promised breakfast in bed. There are the clothes I no longer fit into when I took a stand and decided to lose the weight I’d put on and take pride in my appearance. There are the blue flowered plates I coveted so long that now sit in my cupboard. And there are cabinets upon cabinets of kitchen supplies I’ve collected over the years when all I started out with was a drawer full of borrowed silverware, $2 ugly dishes, a few dented baking sheets, and a pan I used for everything. All of it is now to be divided up, bit by bit. And while it’s freeing to be rid of some of the clutter and exciting to be moving into a new life, it’s a little melancholy as well. For in those boxes, I’ve divided different compartments of me – deciding what of myself I’m keeping and what I’ll be saying goodbye to.
I moved in here a scared single mom. I had never lived on my own, and frankly, I had doubts about what I was capable of. Could I afford to feed my kids and pay my bills all at the same time? Would the landlord kick me out once she realized I was just a silly girl playing make-believe house? Would my mom say “I told you so” when it proved to be too hard and I needed to move back home? All we had in the house was a kitchen table and our beds. But it was after a few friends made the house a home by furnishing the rest with donated items that I realized it. This was home. And I was determined to succeed. I became a wizard with my money, making it work each month even when I wasn’t exactly sure how it happened. I watched every penny, and my landlord never had to worry about when my rent was going to come to her. I went from a stay-at-home housewife to a full time worker, to where I finally am now in the desk I’ve always wanted to sit in. We graduated from a timid family just barely scraping by to a seasoned one that knew the ins and outs of being a one parent household…and having that be no big thing.
Frankly, we made it.
I think I needed to prove this to myself more than anything, that I really was capable of anything even when I wasn’t coupled in a marriage. I created my own white picket fence reality. It may not have been perfect to everyone, but dammit, it was mine. Being a single mom didn’t diminish who I was, it made me more. And I take pride in that as I leave my single mom house behind and join into one of a partnership with Mr. W. Yes, I’m saying goodbye to my complete independence, my very own bed, bills and schedules that are dealt with in my own way, and dinners on my own terms. But in exchange, I’m gaining space I’ll share with my best friend, another son, a partner in parenting three fantastic kids, waking up to the man I love every morning, someone to help me clean and cook, help with the bills… I’m gaining a co-conspirator in life. And knowing that I could do it all on my own, that I did, what I’m gaining now means that much more.
This must be both so exciting and so scary for you guys!
Yes, and yes! Funny how that is.
Congratulations!!! What an amazing transformation from scared to success…good for you! Enjoy the newest chapter in your life. ( :
Thank you so much!
I hate to rain on your parade, but if you’re not getting married, you’re still a single mom. It’s a slap in the face to those of us who have actually made the life long commitment. 😦
I think marriage is beautiful, and I’m happy to hear that yours is life long. I plan on being married again one day. And for us to ensure that our commitment is also life long, we’ve chosen to move in together before marriage. It’s not the traditional choice, but for many, it’s the modern choice. And having been through a divorce, neither one of us is willing to go through one again. However, I get that many people have different views on the morality of this decision, and I respect that.
I agree with disappointed. What kind of message are you sending the kids about true commitment and values. Kids will follow the examples that are set for them. How are you going to handle a teenager at 14,15,16…, that says, you had sex before you were married so why should I wait?
I would be very happy for you if you were announcing your plans to get married and then blend your families.
Just for the record, I would never have said “I told you so,” should you have had to move back in with us. I, too, was scared for you when you first moved out, but I knew you had to make that step to be a fully functioning parent and a strong woman. I’ve been so proud of you and the steps you’ve taken over the last several years to become an independent person. I don’t think your relationship with Mr. W would have been possible without that transformation. And while you may see your next move as giving up some of your independence, I see it as a further step of your growth, being able to share with someone else the responsibilities of a household and kids, and finally doing it on equal terms.
I loved wcmom’s mom’s comments and she is so right, the woman you’ve become by proving you could do it solo has given your the confidence that makes you so attractive. I’m looking forward to the next chapters of our journey, hand in hand! It’s a little like a Cinderella story. 🙂
Dear Disappointed & Agree with Disappointed,
How lovely of you to share your super judgemental feelings! It must feel great to know everything and be able to share it with the rest of us. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, did it ever occur to you “Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged”? Though I’m sure you have never made a mistake in your life, or done something you’re not proud of. I’d just like to say that in this day and age, there are all kinds of different families in the world. There are families with no children, families with children, divorced families with joint custody, step-parent families, married, and unmarried families. I know a white woman who married a white man and had three children with him, and over the years he became abusive, so she left him, and re-married a black man, whom she had another child with. OH MY GOD! The first 3 kids are white and the other is black! What will people think?? The family doesn’t match each other! Oh crap! ….Give me a break here people. I know for a fact that Mr W and Wine Country Mom love each other dearly. They fawn over each other, and dance together, and look into each other’s eyes longingly, and are happier than most married couples I have ever met. Married or not married, who are you to judge love? Those kids are strong and smart and they DO make the right choices, and moving in with someone in your mid-30’s before marriage is not going to taint their ideas of “what’s right”. So listen here, “Disappointed” and “Agree with Disappointed”, next time you feel the need to judge someone else when you have never once lived a day in their life, stop for a minute before you do. Love is a beautiful thing, and WCM takes care of teaches those kids better values than most mothers I’ve met in my life, and if you’ve been reading this blog, YOU’D KNOW THAT. So next time you find yourself feeling this way, stop, sit down, and shut up. Maybe it’s you who should be disappointed – in yourself for being so catty.
You go Happy for You!! Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Seems to me that WCM has shown her children the value of not rushing into a relationship and living together right away. Her blogs show the boundaries she’s set for herself and her children AND Mr. W. Personally, I believe that it takes a person with quite a bit of maturity and a solid core of values to set those boundaries and work toward the end goal in mind slowly. As a single mom who believes wholeheartedly in life-long commitments, I applaud WCM and Mr.W and hope someday to have my own “Cinderella” ending. ( :