Synopses & Reviews
Knowing It's Over
We were sitting on a porch swing, slowly swaying back and forth, facing our beautifully shaped, one-hundred-year-old oak tree, glancing over the top of the blooming rose bushes at our children playing on the lawn that we had planted together. It was the usual scenario. I was crying, telling him that I needed changes in the relationship, that I was unhappy and felt unimportant to him. Ron, my husband, said that I didn't understand him, that he was grieving the loss of his career and needed time to himself.
Our anniversary was two days later. I couldn't stay in the house, so I wrote a long letter that said nothing new and flew to Los Angeles to help my best friend deliver her first child. Her labor was long, so I sat day after day watching the way her husband looked at her, touched her face, and responded to her calls. Their words were soft, comforting, and intimate. I would leave the room when I couldn't stand it anymore and sob, physically shaking as I tried to calm myself in the locked bathroom stall. I couldn't remember ever feeling such tenderness. I sat wallowing, allowing painful scenes to flash through my mind, silly things...being eight months pregnant and asking for help carrying groceries but getting the response "It's good exercise, you can do it!..".the times he would ask me to walk backward toward our bed so that he could pretend I wasn't pregnant...his question for the doctor just seconds after my second daughter was born: "When can she get pregnant again?" I felt I had nothing.
Finding a renter for our house was easy, and receiving information from private schools in Christchurch was fun. The job of planning the adventure replaced my pain. At the time I was seeing a therapist who had the insight to point out a pattern she saw in my life. Instead of admitting to the world, to myself, and to my husband how bad the marriage felt, and doing something about it, I would take on a new and exciting project that kept my attention and creative energy focused forward. She told me that my pregnancies had been such projects. I knew she was right, but I wasn't ready to deal with the reality behind my feelings, so it was onward to New Zealand.
Each child packed one huge duffel bag full of a few bedroom treasures, clothing, a pillow, a blanket, and books. I packed all of our household goods into boxes and put them up in the attic, leaving the furniture in place for the renters. Through all the preparations I painted a picture for friends, family, and the kids of an incredible adventure: our family going away together to explore a new country. Then I worked to make this story a reality. Nobody knew that the whole production was really my lastditch effort to save mymarriage.
"I confronted him that night, and he apologized profusely and promised not to respond to the woman and never to hurt me again. He was going to be faithful, and he used his 'actor's ability' to convince me that the affair meant nothing, that he had been away from me for three weeks, and that we hadn't been making love much, so he made this big mistake.
"Some of his argument did make sense. I did work late hours (but that was only because he wasn't making any money at all). I did have the freedom to make allmy own decisions, while he had to discuss his plans with me, because most of his plans included spending money that we didn't have. He was the one who was home with our boys in the afternoon until I returned from work, and he did make dinner most nights. So I decided that he had a few good points -- we did need to make sex a more important part of the relationship.
"I set the goal to make love at least once a week, and the relationship got better. But I have to admit I didn't let myself go in our lovemaking, I was sort of just there, going through the motions, while all the time I resented that he chose to share this intimacy with someone else 'so completely.' I also knew this wasn't his first affair, but I didn't bring it up because I was afraid toknow the truth. Each night I would ask myself if his infidelity was a good enough reason to break up the family...
Putting the Pieces Back Together
Step One: I Do Love Myself
Step Two: I Know What I Want
Step Three: My Family Is Still Whole
Step Four: I Can Choose Who I Am
Four simple steps. A world of truth. At last, a source of compassion and support for divorced mothers facing the realities of raising children when their lives are at their most vulnerable and their self-images at their most fragile. Filled with more than a book on coping -- it is a source of understanding, encouragement, and strength that will help single women to nurture their children, resurrect their spirits, and create the life they want.
The bestselling author of "365 Days of Creative Play" now shows divorced mothers how to revitalize their energy, self-worth, and spirit to become whole again as individuals, as women, and as mothers.
About the Author
Sheila Ellison is the author of nine books; founder of the non-profit organization, Single Moms Connect; host of her own talk radio show, Women Uncensored; and a mother of four and step mother of two. She has appeared on Oprah!, and her work has been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, Parenting, Family Circle, the New York Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Oakland Tribune.