I’ve been meaning to write a little about the relationship – independent of the children. I have a lot of anger and disappointment and, most of all, hurt. But I don’t flatter myself that I was a perfect wife or that I did no damage to the relationship.

I have so many regrets, and since K. left I’ve second-guessed myself so many times. If I had praised him more, I think. If I had asked for less. If I had told him, when he told me the joke about how a woman introduced her partner as “my first husband” at a party, that I would never say that, instead of just laughing along. If I had nagged less. If I had appreciated more. If I hadn’t thrown out the word “divorce” in moments of anxiety and frustration. If I hadn’t made him feel that he couldn’t keep working nights forever. If, if, if. If I had invited his friends over more (even though he didn’t). If I had been less critical, not just of him, but in general. If I had gone right down to the bar where he works and made friends with Jezebel when I sensed something was up instead of never meeting her. If I had encouraged him to go out to shows more instead of encouraging him to stay home with me. If we had gone on that honeymoon (our first was canceled by his grandmother dying). If I had gotten someone to take the kids for a night and taken him to a hotel. If.

It’s not that I didn’t want to do these things. It’s that I thought we had time, I thought we understood we were in it for the long haul, I thought that the demands of having two young children and jobs and an old house that’s falling apart were enough. And sometimes, yeah, I lost my sense of humor. But I never lost my sense of love, not for more than a moment.

We used to talk about the things we’d do when the kids were older, the traveling when they graduated from high school. All of the fun we would have together.

And then in November, when things started getting hard, I realized how much fun we could have right now, how much fun we were having, how our children and our lives and each other, even though taxing, were also delightful and serendipitous and beautiful, and how lucky we were to be able to share them.

Sometimes I have moments when I think that if K. really didn’t want to do it — the work of parenting, of being married — (and there was plenty of indication that he didn’t, or at least that he didn’t understand what it entailed) then I’m better off losing him. The situation reflects the reality. Any of these ifs I’m entertaining — they might have prolonged his sticking around, but they wouldn’t have made him do so with grace and love and understanding.

And then there are the moments like now, where I am playing with Thing Two on the bed and she is doing her new game of rolling over and hiding under the covers and laughing, and I marvel at how wonderful it is to have her and to be with her, and then I am overcome with grief at the knowledge that K. and I will never share this moment, or any other like it, again.

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