Notes from the Bathroom Floor

 

The tile on my bathroom floor is green and white. It’s cold. Calm. Quiet.

I lie here. Knowing I’m being dramatic. Waiting for the moment Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about in “Eat, Pray, Love” when she lay on a bathroom floor, crying, and a voice said to her: “Get Up.” I doubt the voice will come. Yet, I know I will get up. I know I will go to bed. I know I will wake up in the morning and pretend my cheek never met the cold, hard floor of the bathroom while I sobbed and prayed for a way out of my shame and pain.

This memory washed over me tonight as I bent over my bathroom sink to wash my face. I caught a glimpse of the tile out of the corner of my eye. I stopped what I was doing for a closer look. All of the sudden, I remembered what it was like to lay on that floor, feeling like I was over-reacting, yet unable to move.

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My daughter constantly amazes me.

In December, she surprised me with news of her first boyfriend. She was enamored. He adored her. She let me read their texts, so I knew there was nothing inappropriate happening. As happy and flattered and honored as she was by his affection … she was also freaked. all. the. way. out.

A few weeks ago, she said to me, “Mom, I just don’t think I want a boyfriend anymore. It’s a lot of responsiblity. And there’s drama at school. And it makes me stressed out because I don’t know how to act around him. And I just don’t think I’m ready for all this.”

What?! Really!? She has her first boyfriend and he’s cute and he’s sweet to her and his parents are nice and she is BREAKING UP WITH HIM?!?

I caught my breath, as I realized this is not how I had foreseen this playing out. I was ready for the moment  I came home from work and she looked at me with red-rimmed eyes and said “we broke up.” I was prepared to hold her hand as she cried. I was ready to haul out the roll of cookie dough and two spoons while we sat on her bed and talked about how she would hold her head high and go to school the next day.

But this? A 13-year-old who said, “I know I am going to hurt his feelings, but the only way I can be responsible for myself is to break up with him.” Where did this come from? Who is this child?

Then I realized with awe: It took me 20 years to learn that lesson. 

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My ex-husband remarried last week. One of my greatest hopes when we divorced is we’d both find our way back to happiness. I have. Apparently, he has. My children now have a stepmother who loves them dearly. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s seriously all good.

But. 

What do you do when your ex-husband get remarried? How do you act? How are you supposed to feel? Happy? Sad? Angry? Resentful? Jealous? Nostalgic? Relieved? 

Yes. All of it. All the feels.

When I noticed the bathroom tiles tonight, I remembered the times I sunk into them during the last months of my marriage. The times I sat there or laid there, crying tears of shame, and regret, and pain, and desperation. 

So, I embraced them again. I am laying on my stomach, typing away on my iPad (Thank God the maids came this week!). I remember how far I’ve come – how far we’ve all come. I acknowledge the pain I caused and the pain I felt. I can feel the cold tiles through my t-shirt. All I can hear is the exhaust fan. The house is quiet. The night is calm.

And this time there are no tears. We all seem to be healing. I’m stronger. My kids are stronger. My relationship with my ex-husband is honestly pretty decent for a couple who’s only been divorced a year. 

And my daughter? She’s a 13-year-old bad ass.

Her ex texted her a few nights ago to tell her he wants to “win her back.” She ran into the living room to read the text to me. And then she said, “What?! Like I’m just some PRIZE he thinks he can win?!? Whatever!”

Right on, sister.

I’m not sure where she got that gumption. Although from my perspective right at this moment, it could be from watching me get up off of the proverbial bathroom floor. 

I hope so anyway. 

One thought on “Notes from the Bathroom Floor

  1. Mary Robin J says:

    Jennifer, this writing is beautiful and brave. You are in the arena…google Brene’ Brown, if you don’t know her already. Fondly, Mary Robin

    Like

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