It’s just the worst…

“Look, Mom. I did Nora’s hair!”

I think I briefly mentioned before that Morgan and I moved. (See what I did there? Just breezed right past the depth and gravity of a certain recent post. The situation has been acknowledged and now we can move on. Which seems to be a theme these days… moving on.) Anyway, we moved into a little apartment seven miles north of the tiny town I’ve been living in since my family came to Utah 20 years ago.

Rant: Isn’t moving the worst? All the boxes and packing and dust and deciding who gets what and what goes where and OH MY GOSH, HOW DID I AQUIRE THIS MUCH JUNK?!? Ugh.

So, seven miles away. You might not think that seven miles would make that much difference, but guys… this is just crazy. I mean, we’ve got a Walmart and a stoplight and everything! (Do you hear that sarcasm?) I joke, but it’s actually a nice place to be. My brother and his family live just a few blocks away, and we’re still close enough that Morgan and Adam can see each other whenever they’d like. Morgan thinks that living in a new town is pretty awesome, although she keeps asking why we didn’t move to Salt Lake City or “somewhere fun” like that. Me? I’m just happy that when I run out of Starburst jelly beans, the grocery store is now close enough that I can justify going back out with the sole purpose of getting another bag. When I lived farther away I never would have made an extra 25 minute round trip for jelly beans. Except for that one time…

Don’t judge. Sometimes a girl just needs jelly beans.

We’ve been living here for a little over a month now and as much as I’d love to say that we’re all settled in and loving it here, the truth is that we’re still living in bit of a disaster area. (I need to correct myself; I said that moving is the worst but actually, unpacking is the worst!) There are unpacked boxes lining the wall of my bedroom, occasionally spilling into the kitchen and living room when I attempt to locate something that is still packed away. It’s gotten to the point that I’m considering throwing blankets over the piles of crap and telling people that they’re one of a kind pieces from a new line of furniture I created. “I know it feels like you’re sitting on a stack of cardboard boxes, but it’s actually this awesome new kind of couch. Trust me, they’re all the rage.”

One of the most difficult things to keep up on during this whole moving process has been laundry. I feel like I can’t unpack everything until all the laundry is folded and put away, but then I have a hard time putting the laundry away because there are boxes and all kinds of other random things cluttering up my space. I no longer have a laundry room, or even my own washer and dryer. I’m now using coin operated machines in a community laundry room. For this reason (and because, let’s face it, doing laundry sucks) I try to wait and do all our laundry on certain days of the week. I don’t think people without children will understand this, but having a kid doesn’t just double the amount of laundry in the house, it increases it exponentially. Children have this need (at least my child does) to change their clothes several times a day. And not only are they using three pairs of clothing throughout the day, but when they shed them into the hamper something magical happens and the dirty clothes actually breed and multiply until before you know it, there are 18 dirty shirts and several so-dirty-they’re-hard-to-identify articles of clothing that have miraculously appeared within a 72 hour period of time. Laundry? It’s the worst, for sure.

There have been times that the unpacking has been almost done, only a couple boxes left. But it seems like every time I go to the house for any reason, I end up bringing another entire load of stuff back to the apartment and the process starts all over again. More boxes, more de-junking to do, more things to organize and put away. But that stuff ends up getting pushed off by more pressing things like taking Morgan to school, going for walks and making trips to the park, appointments with doctors and attorneys and, ya know, super important things like catching up on The Bachelor.

Speaking of The Bachelor, can we all just agree that Juan Pablo is actually the worst? Worse than laundry even. The worst of the worst!

I’m proud to say that a good portion of the past couple days was spent cleaning and putting more things away, and I feel like I made a considerable dent in the mess. While going through one of the boxes before dinner last night, I came across Morgan’s zebra pillow pet – a gift she got two Christmases ago when she consistently answered the same way each time she was asked what she wanted Santa to bring her. “Hulk hands and a zebra pillow pet.”

“Morgan,” I called out as I pulled it from the box. “Look what I found.”

“My zebra pillow pet! Thanks, Mom! I’ve been looking for this for like, fifteen years!” She’s not dramatic at all.

And as I was getting her tucked into bed last night I noticed that her zebra and two stuffed bears were also wearing pajamas. So maybe she isn’t entirely to blame for the laundry problem. It’s been those darn bears all along!

Something I’ve had a lot of time to do this past month is think. To reflect on the past and begin making plans for the future. Looking at our surroundings, realizing that this will be the scenery of the memories we create for the next several months of our life, it’s all a little bittersweet. This apartment wouldn’t have been my first choice but for many reasons, this is where we ended up. The neighbors are a little… well, that’s a subject worthy of a post in and of itself. I have a tiny kitchen and an even smaller bathroom. We don’t have a yard anymore – something that we’re having an incredibly hard time adjusting to. But despite all the little annoyances and inconveniences (did I mention the roosters in the vacant field behind my apartment complex that start crowing at 6:45 each morning?) this place is starting to feel like home. It’s ours, and more and more I’m becoming confident that the memories we make here are going to be pretty darn awesome.

And that feeling? It’s certainly not the worst thing ever.

Meeting sweet Baby Charlie (my friend Holly’s daughter) for the first
time when they came to see the apartment. We had quite a good chat, she and I.

Swimming To Shore

Morgan is asleep. Her arms sprawled wildly above her head, an unruly mess of blonde hair surrounding her face. A face that is once again peaceful. After she awoke in tears, I told her it’d be okay for her to go ahead and sleep in my bed. “Will you snuggle me?” she asked. Twenty minutes later, she’s sound asleep but I find myself still lying there next to her.

I need to get out of this bed, I tell myself. I have things I need to do tonight. But it’s nice being this close to her. Feeling each and every relaxed breath she takes. Running my fingers across her ears and face, gently tracing her delicate features. Relishing the way her tiny body fits so perfectly against mine. There’s a lot I need to get accomplished before I fall asleep for the night, but I’m not ready for this moment to end just yet. So I pull her a little closer to me. So close in fact that I can feel her little heartbeat against mine, and for just a moment it feels as if my body might actually absorb hers.

And I think back to earlier in the evening…


“Mommy, why don’t we live with Daddy and Dixie anymore?”

I immediately froze, surprised. I expected questions like this eventually; I know she’s been confused about things. But I wasn’t entirely prepared to have this conversation tonight. I hadn’t rehearsed an answer just yet. I stood there for a couple seconds, set down the whisk I was using to stir the gravy, took a deep breath and turned to face her with a forced smile.

“Sometimes mommies and daddies decide that they need to be away from each other,” I explained. “You know how sometimes when you’re playing with your cousins and you get really tired, you just want to be alone for a while?”

“Like when I told Kyle to give me some space?”

“Yes, honey, like that. Your dad and I need some space right now. But do you know what? Your Daddy and I both love you soooo much. And nothing can ever, ever, ever change that!”

She sat quietly for a moment then simply said “okay,” and went back to coloring.

I waited until I returned to the stove, my back toward her, to wipe away the tears that had formed in the corners of my eyes. Her tears wouldn’t come until later, when she’d wake from a restless sleep and ask to be snuggled.


All of my emotions currently reside at the bottom of my chest, ready to bubble up and spill out at any moment. It isn’t that I’m not allowing myself to feel them, it’s just that I’m trying so hard not to let her see too much of them. In the quiet moments after she’s asleep, or if I find myself alone in the car for a few minutes, I let myself cry. I let myself feel the hurt and the anger. But I always regain my composure in time to greet her with a smile. More than anything else in this world, she gives me reason to be strong.

I was never going to be this person. The day I got married, I certainly didn’t imagine myself living in a one bedroom apartment with my daughter, discussing things like child support, joint custody and alimony with my soon to be ex-husband. But trust me, this is not a decision we are taking lightly.

There’s a saying that goes something like “day to day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” How true that is! There’s not just one or two things that led to this decision.  It’s not as if one day we woke up and said, “I think I’d like to end this marriage.” There isn’t a single day that sticks out in my mind as the day that I realized our marriage wasn’t working anymore. It happened little by little. There are a multitude of issues that were neglected over the years that have just become too big to ignore any longer.

I was recently telling a friend of mine, “it’s like I was walking on the beach one day, and there were so many awesome things to see and enjoy that I didn’t even realize the tide was coming in. And before I knew it, the water had risen to my knees, past my waist, and eventually up to my neck. Then there I was, suddenly struggling to keep my head above water, wondering what the hell had happened and how I’d drifted so far from shore.”

This wasn’t supposed to happen. How do things go so terribly wrong? How do we end up so incredibly far from where we planned? I don’t know the answers to these questions, or any of the other thousands that fill my head.

The girls are handling things quite well actually. As well as can be expected, I suppose. Adam and I are working together to keep things as easy and normal as possible. We are surrounded by people that love us and have made this process much easier. Morgan is my primary focus and number one priority, and since I have vivid memories of my six year old self going through the same thing she’s facing right now, I’m trying to be very aware of what she is feeling. When she asks questions, I’ll answer them to the best of my ability and when she cries, I’ll let her feel those emotions without interference. I need to honor her feelings and let her know that it’s okay to have them, whatever they may be.

Because Adam is the father of my child, and out of respect for what we once shared, I won’t be discussing the details of our separation. But I hope that as I navigate these strange waters I’ll be able to come here (a place where I’ve found so much support and solace in the past) to share some of my thoughts again… even if I’m not quite ready to share everything.

And if I occasionally slip underwater, I hope you’ll allow me to stay there for a little while. Because I know it’s not going to be easy, but I need to allow myself to feel all of this. To learn from it and let it make me stronger.

I can see the shore from here and I promise I’ll make it back eventually.