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.