DIARY

Loud House

Me, in the bedroom that’s just mine. (Image by @smiechbuziak)

When I think about the first time I lived in LA – right after college, when I moved out here to look for acting work – there’s rarely anyone else there, in those memories. It wasn’t like I spent all my time alone – I had friends, and I had my boyfriend – but most of the time, whether by choice or not…I was. Me, at the do-it-yourself car wash, feeding quarters into the soap machine. Me, driving north towards Santa Barbara, then turning around when I got there and driving right back. Me, wandering through the Fairfax Farmer’s Market. Buying a donut, just to have a thing to do.

I was so lonely.

Nearly everything in my life today looks different than it did then, but here it is again, come back into my life like palm trees and the 405 freeway: The loneliness.

It hit me yesterday when I was making lunch, because that’s how it seems to work: the simplest, smallest moments always seem to be the ones that bring you to your knees. I was just standing there in the kitchen, squeezing mustard onto bread, and all of a sudden I saw myself, years from now: standing there in the kitchen, squeezing mustard onto bread. Eating my sandwich standing up because there’s no point in sitting if it’s just me.

Isn’t it crazy how loud an empty house can be?

I haven’t really had much time to feel lonely yet. I’ve been busy, you know, what with the enormous life upheaval and the court dramatics and the move and the two young children who need schools and uniforms and lunches and something approximating stability. I have friends here – more than I’d realized. We make plans, fill up our weekends with trampoline jumps and sushi and ferris wheel rides. Whenever I have a free minute, there’s a project to fill it – a box that’s still sitting unemptied, towel racks to install, a bed to assemble. I’m grateful for the projects. They keep me distracted, and distraction feels better than its opposite. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I stopped moving for a second, and all of a sudden realized – as in, fully understood – the fact that my children were not with me because there is an order that said they had to be with someone else.

And yeah, they were in school at the time, and sure, I wouldn’t have had them right then even if it was “my day,” but still: In that moment, I couldn’t have them. I couldn’t have my kids.

Here are a few facts:

My marriage is gone. It’s not coming back.

My husband doesn’t love me anymore. Or at least not in the way he did. It’s possible no one else will ever love me as much as he used to.

My children will grow up with parents who live in different homes. They will probably always be a little bit sad about that.

My decision created holes in our life that I don’t know will ever be filled. I did that. I have to live with that.

I will have days – weeks – where I will not be with my children. I will miss them often, and furiously. Like I do right now.

These are realities that I have to accept – and I do – but still: they are hard pills to swallow.

I woke up exhausted yesterday morning. The night before, Kendrick had come to pick up the kids, and I’d gotten all excited about the idea of watching something other than Teen Titans Go. Visions of sleeping until 9 started fluttering through my head, and so I stayed up until 1:30AM watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. Except then, because I am a parent and an old person, I woke up at 6AM despite the fact that I really didn’t have to, and that was that. By midday, I was the kind of tired that made me a little frenetic, and found myself pacing from room to room, half-completing every task I started and getting nowhere with any of them. And then there I was: Standing in my kitchen, crying into a ham sandwich.

I called Francesca, and she told me to just stop. Take a sick day. Close the shutters and get in bed, and spend some time doing absolutely nothing at all.

This is not a thing that I am good at doing. So we decided that instead of calling what I was doing “giving up” (my words) we’d call it “taking to my bed” (Francesca’s). I enjoy that phrase enormously; it sounds very glamorous and French, like perhaps one has acquired a touch of cholera, or maybe a hint of consumption. And you can’t be held responsible for anything you do when you’ve acquired a touch of cholera or a hint of consumption.

Around 4PM, I took to my bed. I put on Netflix and stole a bunch of mini Butterfingers from my kids’ Halloween stash, and for two entire hours I did nothing.

It got dark early; daylight savings, you know. When I got up I went into the backyard, and sat down, and realized that I didn’t want to launch myself into the process of catching up from a day largely wasted. I didn’t want to do any of the things I would typically do while sitting in my backyard (check my phone/call a friend/water the plants/et cetera). I just wanted to sit there. Think.

For some reason this one day kept running through my mind: A day before our daughter was born – our son was maybe one and a half. We decided to take a drive up to a farm we liked. We bought sandwiches and ate them on a picnic bench, and when we were done I took my son’s hands in my own and swung him back and forth, around and around, while he giggled like a little maniac and Kendrick took photographs of us. It wasn’t an especially exciting day; I don’t know why it got stuck in my head. I suppose I just remember feeling, that morning, like life would always be that way: the three of us, together, laughing and spinning in the sun, nothing to do but decide where we want to go next.

One last thing.

I wrote this post in the morning. And in the afternoon, Kendrick came over to grab some things before picking up the kids at school. We decided to go pick them up together, and then take them to ice cream. When our son climbed into the car, he stared at us for a minute.

It’s been a long time since we’ve done this, he said. Drive with both of you in the same car.

It has been.

We picked up our daughter next, and then we drove to Baskin Robbins. We sat there in our plastic seats with our plastic spoons, our son explaining a coding game he’d just learned and our daughter chattering away about ice cream cakes. It wasn’t perfect – Kendrick and I got on each other’s nerves, and snapped at each other once or twice – but still.

Still.

When we were done and headed back to the car, my daughter clung to my legs for a moment and asked me if I was going to get in the car, too. She wanted to know if next time maybe I could stay longer. I told her I would. And I was telling her the truth: I think I can, and I think we will. So I buckled her in, sat down in the passenger seat of the car that was once ours and is now just his, and we – the four of us – decided where we wanted to go next.

  • Chantal

    Oh Jordan. I think that at some point in the future you’ll be able to write one hell of a memoir. You write so vividly and powerfully that even though I am not in your same shoes, I recognize how you feel. It takes my breath away. <3

  • Maria

    six years ago, around the time my husband and I got married, I read your blog everyday (still do) and imagined our lives to be just like yours: us with a future kid running around somewhere, being happy and silly and together. Life got in the way, but I’m now finally pregnant, and still imagine having that life with our son. I can’t wait to have the memories you shared on that 2013 post.
    After following your blog for so long, it hurts me to see all these changes in your life. I’m so sorry for all you are going trough. Your writing always has taken me places, and I’m so amazed at the way you write so beautifully about an ordinary day at the farm, and about the hardest times in your life.
    Thank you. For sharing your journey. For never stop writing. For always keep going.

    • jordanreid

      Thank YOU, Maria <3 <3 <3
      (And congratulations; so thrilled for you 🙂

  • This was lovely. What a transition you are in. Some day you will be past it. Something you said struck me and I had to comment to say – someone WILL love you again as much as he did. In fact, MORE. In ways you need more. I promise you this. Not because that’s the end all be all but because before you know it and maybe even before you’re ready, life will change again and you will be absolutely amazed and floored at the kind of true love you will uncover. I know heartbreak feels endless. And I know you feel that YOU did this to your world. But you didn’t. You both did. He did too. You reacted to things that needed changing for a long time. Who knows what would have happened if you didn’t. And I am certain that someday not that long from now you will find a kind of love that is truer than even that. It may seem impossible and it may be, today. But not forever. That’s just not your story. In the meantime, you are nurturing this transition in a very loving and true and mature way, and it’s preparing you for what’s next 💕💕💕sending love

    • jordanreid

      Oh Jen. Thank you. I hope you’re right.

  • Sonni Abatta

    I told a friend the other day that I’ve been following this blogger for years, and that she’s going through a hard time–a divorce–and is it weird that I feel so invested in her journey that I actually feel honestly, truly sad about it? She said no and I agreed, because hello! We’ve all been reading your words for years now. First, thanks for continuing to share, even though the stage you’re in is so difficult right now. It’s true what they say, things do get better. And I’m certain you will find love again–just as big and special in its own way. I can’t wait to follow along on that part of your story. As for blame? I don’t know the ins and outs but I’ve lived through enough life to know that when things go to pot, it’s never just one person’s fault. I sure hope you’re not shouldering any guilt; you have enough on our plate already. I know it may sound trite or may not be all that special being posted on a Comment thread and all, but again, as I always have, just sending you a giant virtual hug and YOU GOT THIS, GIRL from afar. xoxo

  • Rox

    Thank you for sharing. Can you imagine how wonderful the world would be if we were all this honest and vulnerable?

  • Sarah Cole

    My divorce is almost final, and I’ve had many of those same feelings, thoughts. Some days I feel so strong and think, “I’ve got this” and other days I am so, so, so lonely…even when my son is with me. I’ve seen by watching friends go through this that it WILL get better…it’s just hard to wait for that “someday”.

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