Ours was a fairly amicable divorce compared to stories I’ve heard. I was a mostly stay-at-home mom for 18 years of marriage. I had a good paying job before marrying, which I voluntarily relinquished just before the birth of our first child. At the 17 ½ -year mark, when I realized I was not long for that marriage, I had no personal savings, no documentation of any money or assets before marriage. A vulnerable position I admit.
I am finding out, it is not an uncommon one. For several years toward the end, we were estranged. Sleeping-in-the-guest bedroom-for-years type of estranged. It was a prolonged weirdness that we endured, I thought, for good reasons. But my ability to continue in the situation had finally come to an end.
It was our first and only meeting together in his divorce attorney’s office. I was nervous but prepared. I arrived with my attorney ready to talk, negotiate, come to some conclusions perhaps. Instead, I was repeatedly referred to as a “gal” and told that I had unrealistic expectations. I was the only female in the room. I was the only one who spoke up on my own behalf. It was humiliating at the time, but after coming out on the other side, I realize it was empowering.
It gave me confidence that I could speak up for myself and act on my own behalf, even if others treated me with little respect and patience. After the meeting, I decided to catharticize it by writing a letter to his attorney that said everything I wanted to say but did not have the chance to. It is what follows. I hope someone out there can relate, or maybe can see their own truth with more clarity by reading mine.
A Note To My Soon To Be Ex Husband’s Attorney
Do You Have A Daughter?
Or a sister?
Or a wife?
You have no idea.
No idea who I am. I am a loving, tireless mother. Do you know a mother? Someone who gives up sleeping and sanity to care for another? Whose days run into nights & into days again with no timecard or W2 or 401K to show for it. Just dirty laundry and skinned knees and bruised hearts that all somehow get clean and healed and dirty again.
I have wrinkles and callouses and gray hair to show for it. That is what I carry with me. That is my documentation for years of mothering. And I have grown wealthy from it. I live with two passionate, stunning girls who I get to laugh and cry and share life with. Who, every day call me “Mom”. Gifts. Priceless.
I am a faithful, devoted, unmitigated wife. Do you know a wife? I took it all in. All the good, all the bad, all the better, and all of the worse. I dug in, I battled, I rallied, I stayed. I was the best wife I could be. I honored, I loved, I hurt, I forgave. I am ready to say that I gave it my all and now I release it.
I am an ardent, wickedly loyal friend. Do you know a friend? I love my friends fiercely. No one and nothing comes between me and a friend; especially in need. I put in the time; I love completely. Money and power can not buy that kind of loyalty.
A powerfully spiritual being entered your office yesterday. Ready to connect with the highest good for all in the room. I prayed to the Creator of all things in that room and beyond for that highest good. I prayed to myself, as my mentor directed because I know that the spirit of Creation is also at work in me. I was ready—for peace and resolution, and justice.
That is who I am. That is who you tried to muzzle and mute, mangle and maim with your baneful and graceless attitude.
You—who wouldn’t even call me by my name—tried to dictate to me my worth. You severely underestimate me sir.
You have no idea.