The Next Phase We Face

Posted in Monthly at 5:12 am by Pasha

By Pasha Krise

Not everyone chooses the same timeline in life. Some people do not get married and/or have kids; others never go to college. Some travel for a lifetime and never look to what peers have been up to.

While I strayed minimally from the average to-do by what-age, I’ve keenly observed what is happening to so many of my cohorts as our late 30s bear down on us and push us to our 40s. And so there are the many that thought life would follow the predetermined path and have found it led to divorce.

The word kind of gets stuck in my throat and rolls around like this looming thing that could change any of us for the lifetime we have left. Or maybe for some, it’s the thing that will bring them closer to their truest selves.

Some of the recent divorces that have been announced to the public via email, social media, gossip at the water cooler or a rushed text, had explained accompanying reason. One ex-husband left a post-it note on the television and never looked back, another met, married and had kids early in life and would never be together as adults.

But then there are the divorces I can only speculate about; those of acquaintances that I barely even know. I do know that they have moved children and are struggling without a constant partner, so I can only imagine that it was something that was life-altering and life-changing in a way that made them break their vows.

I am, too, in the late-30’s club with a 13-year-old relationship and a marriage that has changed over seven years and two kids; I wonder and think about this big thing divorce. I place it in the context of my world, of who me and my husband are. And I wonder if I could ever be forced into that place.

I evaluate who we were and who we are now and I see that I have done most of the changing. I don’t think this is uncommon, women transform with motherhood and men just kind of become dad-versions of their former selves. Becoming a mom profoundly changed me, and I am sure that if my husband did “conflict” or slightly cared about all that, some of my new-found crazy may have been a deal breaker on either side.

But he remained the cool, easy-going guy that he has always been. I changed, he didn’t. Possibly for some, this becomes the basis on which divorce is necessary.

I stood on a cliff of motherhood. When I dove over, gathering such out-of-the-box ideas as homebirth, clean eating and lifestyle, alternative schooling and connected-mindful parenting, with me as I descended, part of me expected the husband to do the same.
In the beginning, I begged him to read the baby books, to read the education books to read the parenting books. Then I remembered, my husband doesn’t like to read like I do. It was the first post-kid expectation change that I projected onto him. It was a futile desire, he might read the cliffnotes on the internet but he was never going to read “Our Babies, Or Bodies”, “Free to Learn” or “The Whole Brain Child” alongside me. Because that was never who he was, that was not the man that I vowed to love.

While he never read the books, he listened to my new excitement over each of them. He supports my journey into somewhat extremism that can come with the lifestyle. Begrudgingly, he has worked with me to build a store, a school, and nurture our kids instead of shame them. My husband doesn’t take care of his body as he should, but he eats the foods that I store in our cabinets and makes our kids spinach smoothies. He still refuses to work out with me (a change i’ve begged him to make since before marriage) but is the one who plays sports with our boys until the last point is scored.

So while he never took his truck and drove it over the cliff, he has been there with a rappelling line beside me. He has certainly not always agreed (one of the things I love about him and reasons I chose to marry him) but he listens until he can make sense of my newly-found excitement. Because of that, because I knew before we married that he wouldn’t change, since I knew who he was and that person gave me butterflies and frustrations all at once, my change and his stagnation won’t be our reason.

I think about other reasons for divorce: “We Grew Apart”, “I Cheated”, “We Stopped Being Intimate”, “He Lost his Job and Drank Beer for a Year on the Couch While I Worked and Raised Kids”, and I think if they could ever break my marriage, if I could forgive him (or us) for these kinds of things. Would our marriage endure all the hardships that life might bring?

My mind says, “don’t jinx this!” My heart says, “I could never see myself forever with another.”

I look far into my future, after our kids have left the house, and I get excited for it to just be us again. Behind my eyelids, in my dreams, I look over to the person sitting in the sand next to me, and it is him. I feel hot tears of losing someone I love and as I say the eulogy I look out and it is him I see. I feel my body as it grows older and more frail, and I see his weakened with sleep under my same blankets.

My husband is the cliche, the best friend. He is also my stabilizer, my challenger, my irritator, my longing. I think about the Big D in our context and I think I never could. I think that when I said for better or worse, for sickness and health, for love and eternity, I think about us. Of all the handsome gentlemen that may enter my world over the next 50 years, none will ever hold our history, our memories or our sacred bond of parenthood. I am in love with him (though sometimes I loathe his actions) and in my heart our timeline remains one that concludes with two once-young lovers making it against the world.

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