Being a jilted wife hasn’t been without its blessings. In the beginning, I needed some form of hope to cling to, and it was consistently provided. My greatest hope was for a reconciliation.
I had a friend tell me about her parents separating and reconciling after 8 years. Another friend’s parents did the same after 3 years. My sister’s brother in law divorced, then remarried his wife. I was doing a bathroom and kitchen remodel and the guy doing the construction work told me about the 3 years he had left his wife and that they had just reconciled and with all of them, it was better the second time. With all of these stories, the leaving husband was going through the same script that detailed the happiness he deserved.
There were times when I needed a financial miracle and with perfect timing, one would fall in my lap. I had a bunch of returns and purchases to make one day, and I accidently dipped into the red in my primary checking account. The exact amount of cash I had from the returns was able to get my account positive by pennies. I anticipated a debit for my car insurance and when it wasn’t deducted, I called and was told my account was current and not due for another month. I still don’t know how that happened. Some of the women who had told me their stories of being left for some nebulous idea of deserved happiness offered money for gas or money for frivolous Christmas gifts for the kids.I was replacing a missing toilet auger at Home Depot when I ran into my Mom and she bought the auger and a Christmas tree when I had no idea how a tree was going to happen. I’ve had people I didn’t expect to help me buy me groceries. My sister had my cousin bring her a pair of Uggs from his trip to Australia, and when they didn’t fit her, she gave them to me. My parents have been unceasingly generous, helping me in the most unexpected ways.
I’ve spent nearly 16 years being a stay at home mom and sometimes student. My wardrobe reflected that. As a wife, I very rarely went shopping for myself. I love designer purses, but all of them have been gifts from other women or hand me downs. I wore everything until I was forced to throw it away. When my husband left, I was forced to look much more seriously for work, and I chose to look for something that would challenge and inspire me. I had wardrobe donations from a cousin I had met twice, and a friend of my mother’s that I still have never seen. Everything they gave me fit perfectly and I was able to be picky about what I wanted to keep.
The biggest miracles seemed to involve my car. For most of 2015 I was driving a 1989 Ford Contour. Paying for a used car in full is what we usually did. We’d run it into scrap, and buy another used car. It was almost an income tax time tradition. It had problems. Lots of problems. For most of the problems, I lucked out in having a cousin in school to become a mechanic. They’re always looking for cars to work on and it usually just cost me parts. My Dad helped with the rest.
The night before Christmas Eve I was driving to my sister’s house, 20 miles away. After I got off of the freeway, my car started to sound funny. Just as I was pulling into a parking space on the street near her house, the power steering went out. I went inside and we made tamales. When it was time to leave, I was able to drive to the gas station about two blocks from her. I pulled into a space and added power steering fluid. When I tried to start the car, I heard the clicking that tells you your battery is dead. I was safely parked in a space, and my sister called to check on me. She was walking toward me when I was talking to my roadside assistance. They covered 10 miles. Because Dad’s AAA covers 200 miles, I spent the night at my sister’s house. She had a house guest for a few months that happened to be out that night. I had a comfortable bed to sleep in. She gave me a pair of polar fleece pajamas. She doesn’t wear contact lenses but her husband does, so I had a contact lens case and solution. And a fresh toothbrush because she practically stockpiles those. I felt so protected and so grateful that this didn’t happen on the freeway. Facebook and the tow truck driver helped me troubleshoot. It was the serpentine belt pulley system. My cousin fixed it, but the problem came up again in January. He repaired the pulley for me, but it was time to replace it. I recognized what was happening and was able to safely pull over to park on the street and have it towed. He didn’t have a way to fix it quickly this time. My Mom would normally let me borrow her car, but her axle was broken from a car accident her car had just been in. My niece gave me a ride to a dealership and I walked in with a prayer and a smile. I drove home in a 2016 Toyota Camry. I’m sure it helped that I decided separate checking accounts meant I could improve my credit without permission. The license plate came on my birthday in mid February and the down payment was made later that week. Yesterday my niece passed her driving test and registered the Ford Contour I just gave her. She’s driving her first car the day she got her license.
Right now I’m stressed. I’m joyful, but not peaceful. There is a heaviness in deciding to end a marriage. My husband left, but the decision to divorce him has been left to me, as he hasn’t started by filing yet. The weight of that is heavy. At the same time, I feel a freedom I didn’t expect. There is a lightness in being able to do what I want when the mood strikes. I’m excited about hitting the beach and getting lost in ocean waves this summer. It’s been years since I’ve done so because being Mom means I was more worried about my kids than anything and I didn’t want to get in the water where I could lose a child. I was the one hoping to restore our family, and our kids will see me differently when I destroy that hope. There is a burden in that. I’m more worried about my kids than a life of dreams I have released. Job hunting has become a job. I wake up and it occupies my every thought, and most of my actions. So there’s stress. Today I needed to remember the miracles I walked through and refocus on new goals because the old ones have shifted and getting a divorce isn’t a goal. It’s a thing you do when you decide to close the book.