Third day back at work. So far this school is a smooth marble surface compared to the pumice stone experience that the other private school was, just well organized with pleasantly behaved students. As it turned out, I was given 23 students with IEP’s out of fifty, a large number of students who have mild learning disabilities through to hyper activity issues. And while it is nice the students with issues have been identified, the students still seem like the usual run-of-the-mill types I have encountered all over Los Angeles, full of vim and vigor and an energy that only a teen can possess.
It may have been nice to tell me up front before I signed a contract that I was to be given so many students of this nature, but this is what our student populations are made up of. Maybe they always have been.
Steering away from the beginning of my school year, I have noticed now in my late thirties that people I am closer to are going through marital spats and divorces.
A good friend of mine discovered last year that her husband had been having an affair with…her sister-in-law. For the years she has been with her husband Jeremy, I have barely seen her. She said to me once, “If my husband wanted me to wear yellow everyday, I would have”.
She moved in with Jeremy in her very early twenties. He had not gone to college, and had a job he loved through family. This job had him working nights, which she was fine with. He proposed very romantically on a beach at night with a gorgeous ring. Her mother kept her ring until he finally was ready to ask the question. Liza’s mom had opened that box so many times that the tiny light bulb inside the box no longer lit up when the question was finally asked.
The two had the most beautiful wedding and took amazing pictures. From there, Liza worked her job. She was accepted into college and eventually quit her job. Jeremy talked Liza out of continuing college. Why pay all that money for an education when she wanted to act?
They bought a home together with help from her family, and on the day they received the keys, found out she was pregnant with baby number one. Jeremy had badly wanted baby number one and convinced her to try with him. When little Zack was born, Jeremy continued to work nights, leaving Liza home with the newborn. This continued through child number two and never ended; Liza at home with the babies and later young kids to feed nightly, bathe, take on walks, and tuck into bed, without her partner to help.
When Jeremy did have free time, he played music with his “band”. Later he developed a love of dirt bikes and even bought his young son a mini one too. Throughout their ten years of marriage, Liza barely ever went out without Jeremy or the family. She rarely met anyone for lunch. I invited her to my holiday gatherings and birthdays, and she never could go. Once in their ten year marriage they came to our place and I made us all dinner.
Last summer Liza and I met for lunch to celebrate her passed birthday, and she started to reveal some of the troubles she was having with her spouse. I swore that a therapist, even if Jeremy wouldn’t go, was the thing she needed to have the most at that time.
On New Year’s day, Jeremy decided to tell Liza that he didn’t love her any more and that he was moving out. Days later he did; insisting on no couples counseling for him. A few weeks went by and Liza was devastated. She had seemed bitter to me for a while and not a whole person, but I didn't know the extent of it. After a few weeks, the truth was uncovered in its ugly form. Lies were pleaded by Jeremy, but light was shed on why his feelings had changed so.
Almost eight months later Liza is still going through the throes of this separation, pending divorce, and all the nasty things her disillusioned spouse is putting her through. Given all that, she seems more of a whole person than I have seen her be, maybe ever. She attends parties, goes on little vacations alone with friends, and socializes on Friday and weekend nights, all things she never allowed herself to do while with her husband.
This past weekend my brother-in-law was in town. We were off to a southern ocean side town for my mom’s sixty-fifth birthday. On a walk on the beach Saturday morning, Ryan told us of his dissolving marriage. How he had never loved her, how she proposed to him after nine days and he felt it was just time, even though he was in his twenties.
A major problem now, is they live on another continent in another country, her country of origin. They have two beautiful boys, and although Ryan travels to the states a lot, the custody battle that will ensue should be a truly messy one from what I can see. I cannot fathom being a parent of two children and deciding to end my marriage, then decide to live a world away from those children. Nor could I fathom splitting up the kids with the different parents as an answer either.
To top off his story of woes, Ryan’s genius plan is to move in and continue to be romantic with his sister-in-law Mirna, who told him right after he was married just how crazy her sister Suzy was. Mirna told Ryan he should beware of the “dragon lady” when she visits. The dragon lady being the Suzy who would lock herself in a room once a week for an hour and scream and throw things.
I have never met the soon to be cast off wife Suzy. On fb, her persona is that of the happiest, most involved in extra curricular activities a person could possibly be! Dancing, drumming, singing, children’s groups, water sports…just endlessly enjoying her time here on earth. I have wondered at how she doesn’t work for money, and does all of these activities that suggest she doesn’t work much in her domestic life.
This view of so much pleasure was one to be questioned, and apparently both of the couple have had a tumultuous time according to Ryan, who just went along with everything and hadn’t a backbone.
Will and I both firmly advised him to steer clear of any relations that would commit him to that gene pool. “Find yourself” we said, “don’t move in with the first person who will have you, and especially not her sister! No matter what your marriage has gone through, there is no recovering for all parties involvedif you go that down that road”.
Ryan went on to tell Will that he had thought of ending it all on his last visit he made here…when he was here with his ten year old Stew, and making it look like it was an accident.
I am glad he didn’t do that. From the divorces I have heard of and been close to, I always feel the worst for the children, children of adults who haven’t a say in anything. Onlooking adults can’t even step in and rescue these children from their crazy parents, not really.
Will and I were married just six years ago. Liza tells me we are the only happy couple she knows of. Ryan says he and his wife never fought, he just suppressed everything he felt. Will and I look at each other and say thank God we do argue from time to time. We tell each other all the time that we appreciate the other, thank each other for walking dogs, making dinner, washing a dish.
I walk around smiling at people most of the time, saying hello when passing strangers on my walk, smile and say hello when passing people, adults and students in the halls of my job. I pray for people going through such upheaval in their lives, and send good thoughts and prayers to their children. You never can tell what people are going through from the outside looking in. My hope is that the dramatic shift people seem to be going through in their late thirties and early forties settles down. Life is too short to experience such dramas. I hope Ryan finds himself on top of his life instead of snowed under it, and I hope that his finding himself includes finding happiness and peace within and without.