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.


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. 


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.


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. 


I did something I’ve never done by myself before – something I wasn’t sure I could do. I bought a car.

I’ve learned to do a lot of things by myself in the last 14 months. Here is a partial list of the hurdles I’ve cleared:

  1. Changing batteries in fire alarms, which requires standing on a tall ladder, holding my head at just the right angle and uttering a few choice curse words;
  2. Replacing the line in a weed eater, which requires several trips to the hardware store, asking the guys behind the counter many stupid questions, bending over the apparatus with my mouth held just so as I thread the line … and uttering a few choice curse words;
  3. Using the aforementioned weed eater to “mow” the small fenced area in my backyard a real mower can’t navigate. This requires curse words and bandaids, because I always manage to slice up my shins, but I can weed whack the shit outta some stuff, ya’ll;
  4. Purchasing and replacing air filters, which is fairly easy but gross; and
  5. Rolling the trash and recycling bins down the hill to the street, which is also gross and which requires balance and precision so the bin does not roll down the hill faster than you’re willing to walk.

Point of clarification: Yes, I have a teenage son. Yes, he helps with most of these things. However, I am trying to ensure he doesn’t step into the role of adult too soon. One of the first things I said to him after his dad and I separated was I didn’t want him to feel like he had to take care of me. He can help me – he should and does – but I want him to know I can manage it all just fine on my own, thank you very much.

Until now, though, I hadn’t made a big financial decision on my own.

I did some research online and decided what I wanted. I called the credit union where I had my loan to find out what they would loan me and at what interest rate. I was determined to not incur a monthly payment more than my current payment. I had a plan.

As I worked up my courage to test drive cars, I almost asked my boyfriend to go with me. Then I thought about asking my brother … or even my dad. Finally, I said to myself, “Self, are you crazy? Why do you need a male escort to shop for a car?”

So, I went by myself. I drove the SUV I picked out online. I loved it immediately. I was honest with the finance guy about my less-than-stellar credit and steadfast in my commitment to not pay more per month than I was already paying. And you know what? I got everything I wanted, including a much lower interest rate than my credit union was willing to give me.

One more hurdle cleared – and it was a big one!

There’s a scene near the end of “St. Elmo’s Fire” when Billy visits Wendy in her new apartment. She’s finally moved out of her parents’ house and is starting life on her own. She tells him:

I got up last night to go make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And it was my apartment. And my kitchen. And my refrigerator. And it was THE BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’ve ever tasted.

So, without further ado … meet Wendy.


Okay, so this isn’t really Wendy. It’s been too rainy to take her picture. But this one looks just like her.

I got her with my salary. And my marginal credit. And my smarts and courage. And she is THE BEST car I’ve ever owned.

There’s a lesson here, of course. When is there not? As Glennon Doyle Melton writes all the time on Momastery, “We can do hard things.” If we have to, we can even do them by ourselves. We may slice up our shins with a weed eater (figuratively and literally, in my case), but we never know until we try.

What’s the hard thing you’ve been thinking about doing by yourself? What’s stopping you? Go do it. I promise it will turn out to be THE BEST (fill in the blank) ever.