Yes, I know its been a while, ....lets just say life happened. More on that in another blog post. I need to go back to September 2010. Indulge me....
You may recall from my last post I was awaiting the signature on my divorce papers. It was a stipulated divorce. He agreed, I agreed, all we needed was for the judge to agree. This should have been a relative simple thing. Being in the legal profession, I know that when a judge receives ANYTHING stipulated the judge wants to immediately sign it before someone changes their mind and the judge has to litigate the damn thing.
During the course of five months my divorce lingered, lingered, and lingered. My attorney would call the clerks office and it was excuse, after excuse, or the judge needed this or that. The bottom line, my attorney, who specializes in divorce, had NEVER seen anything like it. As for me I had just resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck in a legal black hole. Both my ex-husband and I were living separate lives and had been for sometime, so when and where it got signed really was not a huge issue, and would not change what was going on with us.
Earlier in 2010 I could not get NYC off my mind. I love the city and its my favorite place to play. In April I saw a friend of mine who plans shopping trips to NYC and told her she needed to plan a trip because I needed to GO. A few weeks later she called me and had decided to plan a trip for September so of course I was IN. She was bringing her 9 year old daughter and wanted to know if I wanted to bring mine. A trip with our girls, I was so excited. (She was director of the tour group and it was a huge group of ladies, most of which comprised smaller groups who knew each other) I had been on one of her tours before so I knew what to expect. I just needed to get away, do some shopping, eat some good food and see a show.
The date of our departure was 12:10 a.m. on Thursday September 17, 2010. A red-eye flight. Between the demands of my job, kids and house. Leaving anywhere for more than 24 hours is a lot of hard work, and usually involves very little sleep for a day or two before I leave anywhere.
Tuesday, two days before we were scheduled to leave, I had one of the most challenging days at work that I had ever had. It drained me of everything. I decided that evening to go to our monthly Relief Society meeting. It was a dinner and then they invited a professional singing group to perform. Now I am not a musical person, but I wanted to go because it has been a while since I had time to converse with some of the sister in my ward, aside from the "hi" going in and out of church. After dinner the group started their performance, and I was debating how long I needed to stay to be polite. (I don't even do concerts, its just not my thing.) Interestingly enough after the first song I found myself enjoying them very much. There were bringing to me a calmness that was much needed.
As they continued to sing they sung a song entitled "For the good." As I listened to it I realized it was from Wicked. I have most of the music from Wicked on my itunes, so I was surprised I did not have that song. Once home I down loaded the song and began to listen to it. My daughter and I were scheduled to see Wicked as our NYC show later in the week. While listening to it, it struck me that when I arrived on September 17, 2010 it would be exactly two and one half years to the day since the last time I was in NYC. The reason I recall this is because my ex-husband told me one week after I returned from last trip that he was gay. He said he has wanted to tell me earlier but did not want to ruin my NYC trip, which of course is why I recalled the exact date of my NYC trip.
WOW. Powerful. I decided this was not random. I needed to do something while I was there. I needed to mark the end of the last two and one half years. I needed to close that chapter. I knew that we were planning on a ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty for either Thursday or Sunday. That was it. I needed to throw something into the Hudson Bay. But what could I throw. It needed to be something meaningful but not valuable. It came to me that I had my wedding cake top in the basement. My ex-husband had picked out the cake topper. I hated it. It was too plain. But he loved it and wanted to use it. (Guess that should have been a clue that he was gay...) For the wedding I took the cake topper, and jazzed it up to make it less plain and ended up liking it.
I dug it out, removed all the frills I added, and put it in my purse. It was perfect. It was inexpensive, it had meaning, and it was small and could be easily thrown off the ferry.
We arrived at 6:30 a.m., checked into the hotel and decided to head to see the Statue of Liberty that morning. Once aboard the ferry I told my friend of my plan. I had to figure out how I was going to do this. I did not want my daughter to see me doing this because she would recognize the cake topper. Plus I did not want the other passengers to see me chucking this white porcelain object off the boat, and wondering what the hell I was doing. We were on the side of the ferry facing away from the statue as we approached. As the ferry approached the Statute of Liberty everyone turned to look up to the statute. I told my friend this was my opportunity and to watch my daughter and make sure she did not turn around and see what I was doing.
It was quick. I grabbed it out of my purse, threw it as far as I could and watched in sink into the ocean. I don't know what I expected. I didn't have the immediate sense of relief or anything like that. It was just like I tossed any old object into the ocean. But I had a feeling that as I pondered the moment over time the significance would become apparent.
Statue of Liberty was great, saw Wicked that night, and got ready to shop the next day. Now normally when I go to NYC, I am foaming at the mouth to shop. But the entire time I was preparing for this trip and just could not get into the mood, which of course was very odd for me. Even upon arrival I was not in the mood. I bought NOTHING the first day I was there.
The next day, on Friday, we headed to China town. Mummmm knock off purses and haggling with the Chinese, that is seriously one of my MOST favorite things to do. Even China town could not knock the shopping funk out of me. I did not want to shop. I wanted to ponder. I wanted to feel. I want to soak up the experience.
After about an hour in China town, my telephone rang. I answered the call. It was my divorce attorney. He was calling to tell me that the judge had signed my divorce the day before, as in the day I was chucking my wedding topper into the Hudson Bay. It was as if time stood still for me. I was standing on Canal street, surrounded by thousands of people, but my world seem oddly silent, with everything around me circling about. It was surreal. My friend noticed the look on my face and asked it I was ok. I told her. She was stunned, then she really wanted to know if I was ok. I was. I continued to ponder. I continued to feel. I continued to soak up this experience I was having.
That evening I called my ex-husband and told him it was final. We talked, we cried, he told me he was sorry. I forgave him.
The next day Saturday we had a new lady join our tour. She was a friend of my friend the tour director, and was in NYC with her husband. Her husband was off to a sporting event so she wanted to spend the day with the ladies shopping. The tour director, she and I all sat together at lunch. During the course of the conversation I learned she was in a second marriage. My friend told her that my divorce had been finalized the day prior. I mentioned that my ex-husband was gay. She paused and told me her first husband and the father of her children was gay. I discovered she had been divorced for 10 years and remarried for 8. At the time she got divorced, her children were about the same age as my children were. The flood gates opened. I had soooo many questions for her. Questions about her children, her interaction with her ex-husband and his partner, questions about getting remarried, questions about being a step parent. Just so very many questions I wanted to ask someone who had already traveled that path. She answered EVERY question. She gave me peace and comfort.
I bid her farewell after lunch and thanked her. I walked away, again in awe of the surreal experience I was having. I told my friend later that I prayed this women into my life, and she did not even know it.
The tender mercies, and spiritual blessings continued on for two more days. It was like the windows of heaven were opened and rained upon me. At the conclusion of the trip I found myself taking home very few purchases, in fact I loaned my extra suitcase to another lady on the trip who needed the space. This trip for me was not about shopping. It was about closure.
I left on a flight late on Monday afternoon, just as the sun was setting. I sat in the window seat as the plane took off and circled around NYC. I looked down on the big city that seems so small from the air. I pondered, I felt, and I soaked up the experience. Most importantly I closed the book on the last two and one half years of my life.
I am ready to start a new book.