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Not a Casserole Widow™: The Betrayed Partner’s Joy

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

I woke today thinking about you. The mom living a nightmare she never wanted.

So, why joy? I'd like to give you 1 tool today to help you find it.

I don’t use the word “joy” flippantly. My heart collapses on a daily basis. The triggers are everywhere.

Hobby Lobby. I’m flooded by holiday memories with my children. From grabbing fragile Christmas ornaments off the hooks in those very narrow aisles, to buying the large selection of blank t-shirts I needed for matching handprint shirts I created when we traveled.

Hand prints. I remember painting each little hand. My daughter would unsuccessfully attempt control her giggles and stand still because the paint brush tickled. I tried to hold their hands away from their clothing so paint only landed where it belonged. I pushed each cherished finger down into the shirt, attempted to spread the paint evenly, pulled that little hand up, rushed it to the sink, placed it under running water only to be sprayed with paint colored water.

Water. I remember watching my youngest at 4 terrify swimming instructors because of his reckless confidence in water. I’m sure he believed he could breathe water. I remember spending hours at Target searching for water toys I could blow up without hyper ventilating, making sure I had 4 so each child would know they were adored, and buying water shoes in 4 sizes so we could go to the water park without our feet frying. And then trying to find sunscreen that would match each child's skin type and favorite scent.

Favorite scent. The coconut smell reminds me when we took my oldest son to the beach for the first time as a baby. It was suffocatingly hot and muggy, and I learned not to put sunscreen on a wriggling child while we were at the beach under the sweltering sun and in the sticky sand. It was just a sandy mess.

Mess. I can still see those adorable, chunky, messy, muddy, grassy feet running in and out of my back door.

I wish I had that mess again.

I thought my life was going to be wonderful. I thought I was part of the family I always dreamed of.

But somewhere, the darkness of life got in the way of that dream.

Grief overwhelmed my ability to remain emotionally present for those treasured children. My children. Those little babies I committed to raising and honoring.

And then shame set in because I could not stop the pain and confusion in my head.

It’s been a few years now, since I received my initial, emotional blow. The one that felt like a baseball bat hit me and knocked me breathless to my knees.

The one that ultimately released me from unseen shackles.

My children are older. That sweet, squirmy beach baby is now taller than me. And I love looking up at him wondering what kind of man, husband, and father he will be.

My second oldest no longer grabs sparkly items from the shelves. He uses his intense curiosity to explore people’s minds and passionately empathize with them.

My daughter’s hands grip the reigns of life as she rides fearlessly bareback on her horse. I pray her fire for truth and justice will prevail with that same focused ferocity.

My youngest is cautiously aware of the mud he could bring in and conscientiously always takes his shoes off in the mudroom. He is a considerate, gentle soul. I want to laugh with him more.

As a mom, this day has a different feeling for me then it did 5 years ago. 5 years ago, I just wanted my life to be good and protect my children from pain.

Today, I see the world with a touch of distrust because I know, firsthand, how dark it is.

Now, instead of protecting my children from that darkness, I try to inform them to trust their intuition, their gut, their inner voice.

I teach them to stand up for their truth, their beliefs, and their integrity.

I respect their individuality, their personal dreams, and their independence.

I honor them more.

If you are a partner, as you trudge through today, walking the line of grief and joy, I’d like to give you a tool to help you through.


Just smile.

That’s all.

That smile will release your joy.

I’m with you today. I’ll smile encouragement your way. You will get through today.

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