The whole thing is bizarre. I don't know how to articulate the feeling of sitting next to someone you used to be so close to, doing boring "married" chores like filing taxes, and then calmly writing out the sentences that describe how you plan to take apart your family.
"That said child shall reside with Mother. That Father shall have parenting time set forth from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, every other weekend..."
"That the Parents shall have the right to parenting time during each of the following Holidays and Special Days in alternating years..."
"That all major medical decisions and general welfare shall be made by the prior consent of both parties or further order of the Court..."
"The Parents are restrained and enjoined from attempting to coerce said child into false and negative beliefs about, negative or abusive behavior toward, or attempt to alienate said child from the other Parent..."
There were some arguments... some tense moments. But we wrote the parenting plan. We filled out all the forms. We signed it all. We made copies. And then we talked, in the car on the way back from the library.
Tyler told me that one of his friends said that it was no wonder our marriage didn't work, because I was in love with the idea of Tyler rather than ever being in love with Tyler himself. While I don't agree that it all fell apart because of me and only me, I do agree with that statement. That is kind of how I am in general. I like the idea of things... the way things sound. The reality is never so appealing. I liked the wedding part of marriage-- the anticipation, the big party, the pretty dresses, the flowers, the romantic vows... and then I hated the reality of married life, probably mostly because I married someone I had no business being with in the first place...
And that's what I told him. That I thought we fell apart because, like most marriages that end in divorce, we never should have been together at all. He nodded and we were both quiet for a long time. Then we talked about what we would have done differently, what we would do differently next time. If we'd ever be good friends. How it was better that Caroline was so young when all of this went down, so that she doesn't have to remember the bitterness and will only know us as coparents rather than as two angry people tied together in a miserable marriage.
Then he said, "I've got to hand it to you." I didn't know what he meant, and I said so. He said that he would never have asked me to end it, that he would have kept struggling and trying to make it work, that he would have rationalized things and lived with them. That it takes courage to put an end to a marriage when it isn't working out.
Even though it was me who filed, and he was dead set against it at first, I think that he was just as unhappy with me as I was with him.
So, the papers are signed, and we have court on Tuesday. Tyler hasn't yet taken his court-ordered parenting class, so I don't know if the judge will finalize the divorce, but regardless-- we've agreed on everything, and it's all down on paper. Signed, sealed, delivered. And ironically, that's the song that was playing as we walked into our wedding reception, holding hands and smiling, just three and a half short years ago.