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May 09, 2005 - 1:25 pm

THATíS (ALMOST) FINAL

I had a nice motherís day weekend. Since I haven't been very sociable since moving, I decided Saturday to have some friends over the next day for brunch, and it really turned out nice despite not planning the whole thing out for weeks. Look at me being spontaneous! Nicole, Kristie, and Julie came over around 11:00, and I made an egg and sausage casserole, a three-layered orange cake with cream cheese frosting (that tasted a little like Fruit Loops), and biscuits with butter and strawberry preserves. We also had fresh fruit salad and several pitchers of mimosas and so ended up hanging out on the front porch with the kids playing in the yard until 3:00 in the afternoon. It was a welcome diversion from all thatís been going on these days.

Iím suffering from the same Gelatin Brain Syndrome I had for like a year after each kid was born. I canít remember ANYTHING lately. Iím distracted and unfocused. I walked around the house the other morning for ten minutes looking for my cup of coffee. After Iíd finally given up and decided to get dressed I opened the door of my closet and there it was on the top shelf. What the hell? I bought a gallon of milk and left it in the bag on a dining room chair. For a day and a half.

My only saving grace is that Iím a master list keeper. Hey, itís one of the many benefits of being Type A (which I could enumerate for you, but Iím on too tight a schedule right now). I can have as many as four or five different lists going at the same time with cross references and footnotes that would impress a doctoral candidate. But none of my lists remind me to do regular necessary stuff like eat dinner, go to bed, or call friends on the phone, and I have been terribly remiss at doing those things lately (hence the brunch). Maybe I need a list like this until I can unify my proverbial shit once again.

Things are going as well as can be expected with the divorce, though, and the difficult work is a little easier to do because Iím positive Iíve made the right decision. Finally.

It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that I take a long time to make decisions on just about everything. I consider every detail and obsessively weigh out one choice over another, considering benefits and consequences equally. I guess the exception would be my decision to get married when I did, which Iím not sure I thought through very well. Not a small thing, I know, and I accept full responsibility for that. But you should see me at the farmerís market comparing Indian curry and Thai curry. It borders on insanity. Letís donít say insanity, though. Letís just say I prefer to stay neutral whenever possible, and I wasnít exactly neutral when I got married. I was pregnant, which I will not accept full responsibility for.

Once I cross that line, however, and actually make up my mind about something, itís made up and not easily changed. And unless Iím presented with a staggering opposing argument backed up by cross referenced foot notes that would impress a doctoral candidate, my decisions are typically non-negotiable: Iím having the tandoori chicken and thatís final.

I try to strike a harmonious, albeit occasionally tenuous, balance between deliberation and resolve, strange as that may be to imagine. Hey! Wait! I think thereís a name for that, and I think itís called THE ABILITY TO COMMIT.

Commitment. On the one hand, Iíve never really been dragged into those tiresome on-again-off-again relationships that are the lifeblood of soap operas and high school students (unless you count my intermittent, one-sided, unhealthy relationship with wine. Oh the drama!) because I could usually tell after the first disagreement with a guy whether it was going to work out or not. Resolving differences well and fairly is kind of important if you plan to be with someone for any length of time. Maybe John and I werenít together long enough before we got married to find out how well we could negotiate, because WE SUCK AT IT which is all the worse because we rarely agree on anything.

The down side of taking commitment so seriously is that, well, itís hard to get out of things youíve gotten yourself into, what with final decisions being final and all that. Take my marriage. Please! (rim shot). Of course I planned to be in it for the long haul, better or worse, you know the spiel. So I stayed in a relationship that caused me mostly pain and inconvenience (as a friend once aptly put it) with someone who repeatedly abused my trust for eight years. Now, Iím willing to put up with a lot of crap if I expect one day it will be worth it, but my god. EIGHT YEARS. The contrary evidence finally got to be overwhelming: it was all worse with no prospects of getting any better, and now I wonder what took me so long to make that decision.

Actually thatís not exactly true. If it were just me, Iíd have left a long time ago; but itís not just me anymore. John and I have two kids together and whatís best for them counts just as much as whatís best for me. Eventually, though, I decided that it was not in anyoneís best interest for our kids to grow up thinking this is what they have to look forward to in a marriage: broken promises, resentment, and loneliness. If we canít show them a good marriage, I decided we could at least show them a good divorce. And so far (I hope) weíre doing pretty well.

So I humbly stand corrected.

And (almost) divorced.

And much happier already.

And thatís final.

~Samantha

recommended:
reading -Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
viewing - The Good Girl
listening -ďThis Ainít No PicnicĒ by the Minutemen

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