Rip tide

There are times that I feel the need to spill words onto paper, whether by typing or through writing. The urge is nearly overwhelming; it feels like the tide is rushing in, the white crest of the wave flooding the shore with words, phrases, feelings, hopes, fears. They scatter across the sand, eager for me to walk by and pick them up, rinse them off, and tuck them into my pocket.

Life has been the hectic, chaotic, swift dance of ending school and beginning of summer. Mornings appear to be filled with frustration and held back tears or glide by so smoothly that I’m left wondering how it was even possible.

Big things happened in our home last Friday. Things that I’m terrified to face and beyond eager to put behind me. I’m fervently wishing that doors will open and things will start to get easier. I need easier. Simpler. Smoother.

Years ago, I stumbled across a piece of writing that resonated so strongly with me that I’ve held it close for years.

Someone once told me that if you wanted a perfect metaphor for life, look toward the ocean.
For the most part, life is pretty constant,
like the gentle rolling of the tides;
life is a balance between the high points and the low points.

Every drop of water causes a ripple in the ocean,
just like every event we experience affects our lives.
Sometimes the storms roll in and stir things up.

There are times when the waves break too close to the shore
and crash down upon us.
And we have to pick ourselves back up before
the next wave knocks us even further down.

There are times when the rip tide pulls us out,
and we get lost in the enormity of life,
and we wonder if we will ever make it back to shore.

Well, right now, I feel caught in that rip tide.

As of today, I am caught in the rip tide. It feels like there was a major storm; Hurricane Divorce. It swept in and caused catastrophic damage. Once the flood waters receded, the clean up began. The clean up feels like it’s been littered with the typical government red tape. The sticky tape that delays aid, reroutes supplies, and requires five different signatures, all notarized, before allowing you to begin your life again. There are moments that I’m treading water, desperate to keep my head above the salt water that threatens to choke me with each breath. To quote Lin-Manuel’s genius, there are moments when you’re in so deep, it feels easier to just swim down…and learn to live with the unimaginable.

Yesterday, the ocean felt like it was pulling me further away from shore. I felt the sand scraping my body, my lungs struggling to inflate, and the sting of salt water in my throat and eyes. Through it all, there’s Lee standing on the shore, just watching. Maybe he’ll occasionally throw out a suggestion like “Hey! You should really try to keep your head above water!” or “I’ll go get a lifeguard, let me finish this game.” Instead of finding a lifeguard or wading in, he stands on the sand; eyes glued to his phone, it being ever more important.

I find myself in an odd place. I want to curse his name but want to stay above it all for the kids. I have a few trusted friends that I allow myself to message with profanity-filled statements. These conversations serve as my lifeguard, my buoy. They help bring me a little closer to shore, give my tired legs a reprieve while the tide ushers me back in. Thank you, my buoys. I owe you a debt of gratitude that will never easily be repaid.

Yesterday, we decided to abandon the house and move into apartments. Yesterday, we decided to tell the kids about the divorce tomorrow. Yesterday, I began looking for apartments while trying to figure out what kind of budget I’ll be on. Yesterday, it felt more real than it had in a while. Today, I drank my coffee and just enjoyed the moment. Today, I took the time to finish this post. Today, I will scrawl words into my journal. Today, I will hold each child tight. Tomorrow, I will carefully choose words to explain why life is changing. Tomorrow, I will answer questions, listen to concerns, and give hugs. Tomorrow, I will rip off the band-aid. Tomorrow, I will.

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