Something Missing

by mssinglemama on August 28, 2010

I have lost myself again.

I am 10 pages deep into a journal from the 11th grade. I snap out of my self-induced memory trip, thank the cosmos for letting me survive high school, and stuff the journal tightly into the box. It fits perfectly next to the picture of my sister and I in a photo booth sticking our tongues out and crossing our eyes. I wonder where those girls have gone but I know they’ll never be back.

This always happens to me when I have to pack the good stuff–the books, the journals, the pictures. I fall into my memories.

Our move-in date has been bumped up, so we only have three more weekends. John Bear’s apartment will be easy, he doesn’t have much, but my place is another story. This office is just the beginning and then there’s the basement.

Over the past three years things have accumulated, collecting themselves in places where shoving is accepted–shelves, under the couch and in the back of my deep dark closet floors.

I’m on the office closet floor now between two boxes; one for saving and one for tossing.

After having Benjamin things I once had a hard time parting with are now easy victims for the toss box. Notes from old friends or the night gown I used to wear as a 6-year-old. I don’t yearn for my own childhood anymore now that Benjamin’s is unfolding before my eyes. And then there’s the promise of new memories on the way, memories filled with John and the family we have our hearts set on creating.

This entire time I’ve been keeping my excitement buried, just below the surface. I’m afraid this is a mirage and that my exuberance, if left unharnessed, could shatter the dream.

Old fears are hard to break.

With my ex-husband I learned how to hide nearly every emotion.  Constantly worried about how he would react to anything I would say or do I shut my mouth and put on a happy wife face. Turns out that Happy Wife Face was very hard to maintain during a move from a one-bedroom place to a three-bedroom apartment and even harder when our newborn had arrived.

You all know how that turned out.

When I hear John walk into the room I instinctively drop my head, scared to make eye contact. The boxes, the man and the old memories are giving me a bit of moving deja vu.

Above my head in the closet is an entire rack of winter clothes. It’s just one of three bursting closets in my apartment and I’m worried that John, who has not yet seen said closet, will freak out when he does. But he never freaks out. I’m just irrationally lost in my deja vu, in my baggage.

I look up at him sheepishly.

“These are all of my Winter clothes,” I say and then quickly, “I’ll be getting rid of most of them.”

“Why? They look cool. You should keep them. We can use that wardrobe thing you bought for the basement.”

“Are you sure?” Suddenly I’m snapped back into the reality of today, of the now. With a John Bear instead of whatever I had before.

Yeah, I’m sure. It’s your stuff, bring it along.”

Then he heads to Benjamin’s room to scoop him up in a good-bye hug.

And there I was, alone on a closet floor in complete amazement that I was in a relationship but still completely free.

Go figure.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie August 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm

so happy that you are in this place, moving forward in your life…new beginnings!


Momma Sunshine August 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I love those moments in my relationship when I realize that I’m not the person that I was before…that I don’t have to act or react in the same way, because I’m with an entirely different person in an entirely different situation.

Life certainly is a learning experience….


mommybella August 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

those fears are things that we have acquired from single motherhood. So just like we clean out the closets we also have to learn how to clean out all the pain and bad that we have stored up in our hearts and memories… easier said than done though!


mssinglemama August 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Yes! Exactly.


Dee August 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I was wondering yesterday why is it that I completely lost myself at some point in my marriage. Was it because of the relationship or because of him and\or me? Why then did it take going through a divorce to bring back a better, stronger me? I love me a whole lot more today than ever. I am capable on depending on myself for anything. Is it the struggle of divorce that did this or the perfect match I found for myself at the end of that road?


mssinglemama August 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I think that when we love ourselves first and feel whole, than a healthy relationship is sure to follow.

Congratulations on making it so far Dee! And it is quite perplexing to imagine and fathom all that we have been through as single moms – when you sit down and look back.


Morgans Mom August 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I’m so excited for you! What a great new adventure that you all will enjoy! I have just moved in with my boyfriend back in April. My memory boxes are much bigger than his and of course my 3 yr old toy box is overwhelming along with ride on toys that fill the garage. It was very overwhelming at first but now that the dust has settled and I found time to organize and purge, as you will too. Moving into a home with much smaller closets has helped me determine the clothes I really need and the ones that don’t. The one memory I don’t know if I should let go of is my wedding pictures, thinking it will be good one day for my daughter to have? or if she would care less? for now they are in the basement.
Best of Luck.


Glenda August 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm

John bear is a keeper… new beginnings…new journey… together as a family of 3… so happy for you!


Darla September 13, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I have been reading your blog for about a year now, and have found you wonderfully insightful and thank you so much for doing this. My son is 6 and I have been a single mom since day one, having survived a very abusive relationship with his father. I totally understand the have to snap back to the present and realize that you have a good man. I recently have found my man that I want to spend forever with, that is also so great to my son. At times when I have been overwhelmed your blogs have really helped because a good relationship can be overwhelming sometimes. I have not seen on your site but was wondering if their is any insight about children that don’t speak to their biological fathers and about accepting a new person “dad” in that position. Any thoughts out there, and how to deal with the issues that come up with that.


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