I believe it was just about five years ago tonight that I started on my road to independence.
It feels like a whole lifetime ago, but it was only five years ago that I decided to answer the question with a “yes” instead of my usual “no, of course not.” The question, of course, was “Do you want a divorce?”
The kids were outside or up the street with neighbors, celebrating the 4th with firecrackers. We had recently returned from a mini-vacation in Williamsburg. I remember we were all at the hotel pool when my husband tried to talk me into going back upstairs for some “adult time” while the kids were otherwise occupied. I turned him down.
I’m not sure what started the divorce conversation once we were back home. The argument that started the whole thing seems irrelevant now. What I remember now is realizing that I didn’t want to do this anymore. It was time to change my answer. But he didn’t like my answer and tried to take back the question. He tried for almost a whole year.
And it was a difficult year, not just for the two of us, but for the family. It was not easy living under the same roof while trying to get divorced. It was necessary, I suppose, but I know my kids suffered because of it.
He didn’t move out until the following Memorial Day weekend.
I can’t really say that I became an independent woman that July 4th in 2008. I was still very much dependent on others financially. And I didn’t live on my own for long. If I could have afforded it, I know it would have been best for me to be on my own for a longer period of time, but circumstances didn’t allow that. But that night five years ago I took the first step down the road I should have been on a long time ago.