Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Finalized

As you can see from the photo below, I escaped the Texas heat this past weekend and traveled to California.  I grew up in the East Bay and moved to Texas at the end of 7th grade.  I've reconnected with some friends and was fortunate to be able to travel and stay with a friend.  We did a little tourist stuff then visited the old neighborhood before spending the rest of the time with other old friends.  I laughed hysterically for hours on end and smiled at old memories.  It was exactly what I needed before my summer officially ended.  Special thanks to Tom, Jeremy, Amy, Amber, and Adrienne for making it a wonderful trip.  I will NOT lose touch again.  XOXO

School started today for new teachers with inservice.  That is a whole different blog post, but I'm happy to be back in education and a school environment. 

But as I said, that's for another day. 

Before I started work today, I got divorced yesterday.

I am officially divorced now.  With changing the date of finalization to Tuesday instead of my original Monday, Tracey couldn't go with me due to an important appointment.  Luckily, Deanna and my friend Melissa (who most of us lovingly refer to as Meli) were able to go with me.  Meli picked me up and we went to get De on our way to the courthouse.  I cannot tell you how much it helped me to have them to stand beside me during this process.

Standing in front of the judge and reading the "prove up statement" formally requesting my divorce and listing my children and information about our marriage was HORRIBLE. 

I sobbed through it.  You stand at the podium and read the statement exactly as it is written.  All I had to do was fill in the blanks.  I began to cry when I stated that we were married on June 5, 1999, and I cried as I continued through the document.  De and Meli sat in the courtroom silently crying with me.  The hardest part?  The section that mentioned my children.  My divorce decree was prepared (thank you to my mom who retyped all my chicken scratch notes to complete it for me) with only Maggie and Katie listed.  This is because it pertained to child support and custody.  However, the prove up statement was worded different.  It read "There were ____ children born/adopted during the period of the marriage."  Then it had blanks for childrens ages and names. 

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  Having only listed Maggie and Katie on the decree, I worried the judge would question me too much if I put Allie in the document.  What if that affected my divorce being finalized.  On the other hand, how could I possibly only list Maggie and Katie and say that two children were born during the marriage? THREE beautiful blue eyed babies were born.  THREE wonderful, loving, sweet, precious baby girls enter our lives during that marriage. 

In the end, I did end up stating that three children were born and listed Allie as deceased in the space for age.   Yeah, try reading THAT out loud to the judge granting your divorce without crying.  IMPOSSIBLE.  I sobbed through it all and heard De and Meli's sniffles behind me.  I choked as I read the final line of request that the judge grant me a divorce. 

Two minutes after I stood in front of the judge, I was declared divorced. 

16 years together, 12 years of marriage, 3 little girls, 2 houses, 2 apartments, 4 cruises, 5 trips to Europe, 2 major deaths, and COUNTLESS memories--it only took a judge less than two minutes to declare it all over. 

I cried for hours yesterday off and on.  The girls took me to breakfast afterwards. When I looked up to see Tracey and her boyfriend walk in, I collapsed into tears in her arms.  The love and support I received from them was what I needed.  That's not to mention the texts, emails, FB messages, and tweets I got from friends near and far sending their love.  I was so loved and supported. 

I know that some of you are wondering right now where Andrew was during all this.  I know because others asked right away.  He was not required to go to the courthouse.   When I filed the initial petition for divorce, Andrew signed a waiver and had it notarized that he accepted the terms and things presented in the divorce paperwork.  In an uncontested divorce, he didn't have to do anything further. That's ok for me.  I had some control in my situation yesterday, something I haven't felt as though I've had since it all began.  It was me handling this divorce in the timeframe that worked for me.  That is good.   He approved the divorce decree and we went through the terms of the decree together to make sure we had the best decisions made for our girls.  The county requires by law that both of us take a court ordered parenting class for 4 hours about parenting in an divorce as effective co-parents (don't get me started about that).  Both of us took the class and agreed that we are acting in the best interests of our daughters with everything we do. 

So, I'm divorced.  I've started a new job.  I'm moving forward. 


25 comments:

tricia said...

I'm sad and happy for you. Sad that you were blindsided but happy for your future. You will make the best of it;of that I'm sure!

Not to be nosey but I thought Debbie would be by your side but to have the two friends that were able to is such a blessing as is Tracey showing up later! Good luck this year teaching.

Minivan Mom said...

Love you. Always here for you, always will be.That is all. xoxo

Stacy said...

You've been on my heart all week and I've been looking for a post. Thank you for continuing to post for those who consider you a friend from years of knowing you online. I'm sorry you had to go through such a horrible experience, I can't imagine how difficult it was preparing that and having to read it. Especially since this was not your choosing. I'm so glad you had such good friends by your side. You are not only a survivor Jenny, you're a thriver! I know your future, and the girls, will be filled with happiness and love. Sending you a big hug.

Nikki said...

Love you so very much. I'm always here for you. But you already know that. :)

-N

Melibawa said...

So proud to know you and call you my friend. Honored and humbled to have been by your side. Love you dearly, sweet girl. xoxo.

KirstyB said...

I'm in tears just reading this! But here's to moving forward, Jenny! Good things are ahead for you, I just know it!!

The McAtee Family said...

I come to your blog, I read, and then I go....never leaving a comment (maybe once or twice since Allie was diagnosed) but always thinking of you and your family. At first I was praying for Allie's health, then for your family's strength. Then I watched in admiration and awe as you and Larissa built the "empire" that is Heroes for Children. Along the way, one thing has remained the same: Jenny has got some spirit, some spunk, some gumption! You seen the worst of what life has to offer and you brush off the dust with the help of your besties and you keep trudging along no matter how battered or broken you feel. Never doubt for one second, that you have left your mark in this world. Maggie and Katie are lucky to have such a role model in their lives and I'm certain that Allie is proud of your accomplishments as well.

I don't know the story behind the story (or so to speak) as it pertains to the divorce but as a child whose parents divorced when I was younger, I can say that I know how difficult it was on my mom. I commend you decision to move forward working together for the girls.

Congratulations on the beginning of the school year and on "moving on!". I'll go back to lurking now.....;)

Carmen A said...

Jenny I know you will be fine. You look great, you have a new job. I wish only the best for your future. Good luck with the new job. I'm really happy that you went back to teaching.

Beverly said...

Wow Jenny... my brother lives here in VA and he has to wait a mandatory one year before his divorce can be finalized. I know he wishes he could go ahead and finalize so he could "officially" move on. He has a daughter and I think she is holding out hope that mom and dad will still get back together since it isn't official yet. So, at least now you final and moving on. My heart breaks for you reading those numbers. My brother's numbers are very similar other than the number of children. Best wishes to you, Maggie and Katie on your new adventures and have a wonderful first year back teaching!!!

Theresa said...

I'm so very sorry Jenny, i can't imagine going through what you did yesterday i'm glad you had good friends by your side and that Tracy could get there afterwards.

This is now your new start, new job, moving forward , be happy Jenny you deserve it.

Tara said...

Big ((((((((((HUGS)))))))))) to you and prayers for the strength to get through this for you and those beautiful girls.

Jo said...

You always have a place in my heart and I am thinking of you. (The girl that spoke to you about the Britney Spears Foundation years ago, lol).

Dusty said...

Many hugs to you. You have so much strength and dignity. I love that you are surrounded by friends and family and that you have a great support system. ♥♥♥

Myshel said...

I cried reading this, it breaks my heart how hard and sad that was for you. I wish you continue to look up and forward, and i will continue to keep all of you in my prayers, and as always, will check in to make sure you are doing ok. Good luck with your next step.
Shel

Lyndsay said...

I've got tears in my eyes reading about your day. What a difficult thing to have to do. I'm glad your girls were there with you, and I hope it helps somewhat to see Tracey and De in their current happy, loving states.
You're going to be great, no doubt about it.

TPPmommyof3 said...

Your post made me cry too. I can only imagine how difficult that was.
It is in the past now, though. You made it thru it and now at least the dread and the weight of it (court) hanging over you is over.
I know it isn't what you planned for, but I also KNOW that you are going to blow everyone away with all you will do.
I am so glad you have such great people in your life while you are finding your way to your new and improved and happy life!

Lori said...

Jenny, The first word that came to mind when I read your post is Brave. You live your life with such bravery, tenacity, and spunk even in the dark moments. I wish for you, as you look forward, so much love and laughter and adventure. You deserve the best, and I admire your strength. I think friends are the family we get to choose and you are lucky to have so many who are in your corner. Take Care

Donna said...

Although I wish that you and Tracey had never had to go through this darkness, it is an amazing thing for you to have each other, to have a friend who truly "gets it." Can't wait to hear more about the job and all the great things to come in the future. Bon voyage!

Dawn @ Life Unscripted said...

Jenny,

The last time I had talked with you was when Allie passed on the Allies Angels/Friends of Allie message board through MSN.

I had been lurking off and on here and now I have to say that I am SO sorry to see you going through a divorce. You & Andrew always looked so happy and I always thought to myself that I want a relationship with a husband like yours.

You have much love and hugs coming your way. You are handling this with such grace and strength. I have no doubt you will come back from this better than ever.

Here's to the future!!

Law Momma said...

I was sent over by a friend, "Elle," and so glad she sent me. My divorce was finalized today... I cried through all of the evidence and cried so hard that my attorney and the judge teared up.

I am sorry we are in this boat together, but I am glad to have your company.

LaJodster said...

Jenny,

I admire your bravery at a time like this. And I like to think I understand how you feel, just a little, as I am helping my sister go through a shocking unexpected divorce as well. Please know that I am praying/rooting for you just as I have since I found you blog many years ago through BBC. Great things are ahead of you, because you deserve all the best.
Big hugs to you from a cyber "friend/stranger"!
Love,
Jody & my puppy Chevy in NJ

Ms. Sarah said...

hugs and prayers

Robin said...

So sorry that was so hard for you. Wish you only the best as you move forward. New beginnings can bring so much. Hugs from Canada.

Karen said...

Bless your heart.

Mary Anne said...

My heart hurts for you, but I know you will be not only okay, but happy again. It's in the cards for you...I just know it. We, out here in cyber-ville, have been cheering you on since Allie, we will continue to cheer you on (at least I know I will)...I'm excited for you for your new chapter and for you to make wonderful memories with the girls and for your new job!! All the best.