Tuesday, March 06, 2007


there was a bouquet of buttercups in a vase on the cedar chest in my living room when I got home from work this afternoon. My first thought was damn him. How dare he bring me buttercups now?

When the husband and I were first dating, there was a late winter/early spring afternoon, a picnic and a country road. We were just out driving, taking in the new green, the treat of fresh air and silence after classrooms and dorms always too full of people and noise. We drove past a field covered with yellow blossoms, and I squealed, "Buttercups!" He stopped, jumped out of the car and picked me an armful of buttercups. Dozens of them. A bounty.

A few weeks ago, he told me that he saw the first buttercups of the season and thought of me. I just looked at him and said, "Don't talk to me about buttercups." You see, every year after that, he brought me the first buttercup of the season. This was my decidedly unromantic husband's consistent shining moment. For over twenty years, he paid homage to our surprising and unexpected youthful love with a single blossom snapped from the side of a road and handed to me with few words and a smile rich with memories.

About four years ago the buttercups stopped. He might mention when he saw the first one of the season. I'd see clusters in a yard and think back on that stolen armful and remember it with fondness and longing. Other kindnesses had stopped by then as well, but I still had hope that they could return. That hope is long gone, and what is left is some anger but more fatigue.

Giving up that hope was actually a blessing. Some things do pass out of your life without you knowing it because it looks like they're still there. Saying goodbye to that specific hope let me see the coldness and indifference that had replaced it. What I had cherished was long gone. Lately, the husband seems to be missing some of what he's lost and is trying to spend more time around here. It may just be that I'm easier to live with than his mother. She won't make excuses for him any more. He's found out that I won't either. He still can't live here, but I will allow him to clean up the mess he left behind in the garage and the office.

So, tonight, when I saw buttercups in my living room, I didn't want my hope resuscitated. It's easier for me without it. I'm much more willing to face the reality of our marriage without that hope and the reminder of those wonderful early years. I felt the first few spikes of a migraine returning, took preemptive medication and left to pick up the womanchild at her job.

When I got there, she asked me if I had noticed the buttercups. I just snorted out a harsh yes. I should have known better. These buttercups were clustered into a nearly perfect round ball and put in a vase filled with water with a penny at the bottom. The husband would have just left the posy lying on the table as it was. My daughter had picked these flowers for me. We've been fighting like cats and dogs lately, and this was a sweet, sweet gesture of love.

In my pain, I just stepped all over it. Her defenses have gone back up. Her voice was harsh, disdainful and ugly when she spoke for the rest of the evening. Her words were critical, and any restoration of the peace has been delayed. She deserves to be hurt.

This is what is so damn painful about separation and divorce. It's just this self-perpetuating monster. One pain creates another which creates another, and we are left struggling not to be consumed. Sometimes your choice in life is this pain or that pain. I'm just trying to take the shorter term pain that will lead to peace.

marriage, separation, divorce


Blogger Theresa Williams said...


March 07, 2007 1:43 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

I'm sorry that the whole situation backfired the way it did, but it doesn't have to be the end. Those same buttercups can be the beginning of a new memory, a heartfelt gesture that was maybe just timed wrong.

Associating them with her sentiment can maybe make them sweet again. Thank her tomorrow, and use the delicate flowers as a stepping-stone to healing things up between you and your daughter.

March 07, 2007 2:05 AM  
Blogger sweatpantsmom said...

What a powerful essay you've written here. I hope that you can find some peace in the situation along the way. Thank you for putting it into words.

March 07, 2007 2:51 AM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

(((cynthia and womanchild)))

beautiful. sad. prayers for healing.

March 07, 2007 6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, what a darling girl.

I know some healing between the two of you can emerge from this.


March 07, 2007 7:51 AM  
Blogger Cynnie said...

Aww baby,
me and my daughter love each other and we fight like crazy!.
It's normal..its a way of the womanchilds of the world to grow up, become independent..not be so attached to the mamas apron strings.
and me and daughter fight over the stupidest things..

But that's my girl, and underneath all the crap..
we actually like each other
and i try to remember this one simple rule

never be too proud to apologise.

March 07, 2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I hope C reads this and can forgive... I imagine the rift between you and the husband is hard for her too. (duh..)

All I can say is this sucks and here's my virtual hand on your shoulder...

March 07, 2007 12:21 PM  
Blogger Kimberley McGill said...

You touched tender places in my heart. My daughter and I are in the midst of healing our relationship and its not always easy. This is a difficult time for you and I send you bright blessings.

March 07, 2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

h Cynthia, this one made my heart ache.

March 08, 2007 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

Awe, bless her heart. I know you had to have felt smaller than an ant when you found they were from her. I can see why your mind went the direction it did, but I've been bit by jumping to conclusions myself. All you can do is ask her forgiveness and give it time.

March 09, 2007 7:49 AM  

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