Monday, September 23, 2013

My Divorce Party That Wasn't a Divorce Party

Right around the time my divorce was going to be final, I went out for drinks with Jen and Yoshi.  It was a frigid February night. I was about to put my condo on the market, so we were talking about how cool it will be when I live in Ford again. I lived alone in Ford in 2003-2005, then again with Max in 2007-2010. You know how some places you visit or live just suit you? Like you can’t quite put your finger on it but it just feels right? That’s me with Ford. The thought of moving back to Ford – without Max – was a little depressing at the time, but mostly exhilarating.

Anyway, Jen and Yoshi both live in Downtown Ford, exactly where I planned to live.

“We’ll be neighbors!” I exclaimed. “We can hang out even during a blizzard!”

Cheers to that! *clink*

Anyway, we agreed that surely I would be in Ford by springtime [oh, if I knew then what I know now!]. We got this great idea: Jen and Yoshi would throw me a Welcome Back to Ford party. At first there was talk of it being at someone’s apartment, but I said no way. We’d gather anyone who wanted to come at my favorite bar – in fact, I told my realtor that I needed to live within a five-minute walk of this bar. Yes, I’m serious.

Then, the waiting started. The condo showings were many, but the offers were few (and usually insulting). I was living in G-town, a town I never wanted to live in to start with, and now I was being held hostage by my condo in a town I didn’t care for with a roommate (AKA ex-husband) I didn’t want. Meanwhile, my social life fully transitioned back to Ford. It made me downright sad to hang out with my friends in Ford, then have to drive home to my stupid condo where my ex-husband slept in the guest room. Yeah, I got pretty grumpy about it all sometimes.

As we waited and waited, Jen kept assuring me that this party was waiting for me on the other side. Periodically Yoshi would say helpful things like, “Yo, why hasn’t your place sold yet? We need to have your party.”

After six months, when the offer was finally real and the deal was in progress, we finally set a date for my party. I was so thrilled!

Now, to be clear, this was not exactly a "divorce party." (I didn’t know divorce parties were a thing until I joined Twitter.) This party was about celebrating the next chapter of my life; it was not about bitterness or anger towards Max. I’m not happy at all that my marriage ended, but it is definitely worth celebrating that I did the right thing for me and for Max so that each of us now might be in happier, healthier relationships. So this was truly a Welcome Back party – welcoming me back to the town I loved to live the life I was supposed to be living.

On Friday, I had over a few friends for drinks and appetizers at my apartment (yes, this was on my list of 11 Reasons Why I Can't Wait to Live Alone!). My friends (including Nora and Lillian) were so excited to see my apartment.

“Kat, this place is SO perfect you!” they said. I was all, “I know, right?!” No modesty here, people. I waited way too long to finally get into my own apartment, so I’m perfectly justified to brag about what a find it is!
Somehow we polished off three bottles of wine and four beers. I didn’t bill this little gathering as pregaming, but I guess that is what we did!

Before we headed out to the bar – yes, my favorite bar – Jason came over to join us. Big step, bringing him to this gathering. Anyway, we walked to the bar, which took six whole minutes.

The evening was perfect. It was one of those September signature nights of “not too warm but not too cool” that just draws you outdoors. I pulled out my knee-high boots for the first time this season just for the occasion. There were about 15 of us – men and women – at an Irish pub doing lots of drinking and laughing. I felt so supported. Celebrated even! To varying degrees, the people there knew what a long haul it had been to get me to that night, both emotionally and financially. In particular, I had two friends drive at least 30 minutes to come – one friend is several months pregnant and how fun is a bar after 10 p.m. when you’re sober, and the other friend is a single mom with three kids, so she paid a babysitter to come out for me. They both said the same thing: this was too important to miss. I can't tell you how touched I was.

After a round of Fireball shots (whose crappy idea was that?!), about five glasses of vino, and bartenders literally turning on the lights and telling us to go home, my Welcome Back to Ford night was over. I stumbled home, knowing I had a hangover waiting for me in just a few hours but I didn’t care. I was back in the town I was supposed to be in, back to living alone in a cool apartment, and best of all, surrounded by friends.

Watch me talk about this night on Huffington Post Live with Lois Tarter of Your Divorce Day!

Have you ever attended a divorce party of some kind? What was it like? 
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  1. I'm going to have a party like that in a few weeks, too. I can't wait. It will just be girls only night.
    I think a finalizing your divorce is a good excuse as any to have a few good cocktails :)

  2. I hope you have a great time! Make sure you have some Gatorade before you go to bed so you don't have a hangover like I did!! ;)

  3. Not really. One of my older brothers has 1-2 big parties per year (he calls them Y-NOT parties both because why not have a party and because that's his name spelled backward - Tony). His last one was March 1st, 2013 and it was what he called a "stimu-bus" where we took a party bus and went to small town bars to stimulate the local economy. It was a ton of fun and I wore a tiara all night because why not? Little did I know that my divorce had been finalized the day before on February 28th - I was celebrating my divorce and didn't even know it! Since then I haven't really done anything big to celebrate my divorce. I'm looking forward to some sort of mini personal celebration once our house is foreclosed on and I can wipe my hands of it.
    Your party sounds like it was a great load of fun. Good. Fun needs to happen.

  4. Damn your older brother sounds fun! You definitely need to celebrate once your house is no longer your problem.

  5. Didn't have a party but went on a year of exploration! Had a blast. I took a trip to the mountains, alone. The same spa resort I went to now offers getaways for newly divorced folks.

  6. Wow, that is impressive! Sounds like a great growing experience.

  7. I'm happy to hear you had a good time, and that you like your new apt. :)

  8. I LOVE my new apartment! I'm kind of obsessed with it. :)

  9. My ex-husband and I (who remained friends) flew to Vegas with friends to celebrate our Divorcemoon. That's the way it should be!