Oprah may be upset with me. Oprah may also have some words for my ex-husband, his wife and her ex-husband.
Last week, a dream came true when we joined Oprah on her virtual event, YOUR LIFE IN FOCUS: A VISION FORWARD, Live Virtual Experience. Her producers read my story here about feeling lonely in a house full of people and asked me to join to share the story of my Quarantine journey living with my ex-husband, his wife, her ex-husband and our kids.
As a journalist and entrepreneur, sharing my journey with Oprah and her audience was so empowering. Saying, “Hi,Oprah” felt like I was speaking to my best friend. But the best part about it was hopefully helping others. When couples get divorced, the goal when figuring out how to live apart is to hopefully do what is in the best interest of the kids. It doesn’t always work that way. I have always said to my kids that two happy homes are best. I have always shared with my boys that they are so lucky to have happy parents who are friends. We weren’t always friends, though not until recently, I think. Often in divorce, there is hate and divide. So much like what is happening in this country right now. Coming together and putting aside all of our previous differences and sharing it with Oprah and her audience was so meaningful, even if it helps just one divorced family to come together.
We spoke about much of what I have shared. Loneliness, my desire to date, and my wish to leave the shared house for a break. Oprah said that if I left, and if I was staying with her, she would not allow me back. My housemates weren’t thrilled with the idea either. They knew I wanted to go on a socially distanced date. They knew I wanted to see my family. They knew I wanted to have a drink outside with friends at home in New York City. They knew, as a social person, I was struggling. They didn’t like, or even agree with what I wanted, but I felt after putting my kids and everyone else first for so long, it was time for me. As the rest of the country was beginning to open slightly, I wanted to start to live a little. As I told Oprah, as a Cancer Survivor, I don’t like to live in fear.
An hour after the show ended, I left. I did everything I wanted to do at home for two days. It was the best decision I’ve made. I went on the date. It was the best date I’ve gone on in years because I realized right away he wasn’t for me, though a really nice guy. I realized a lot more about myself during my time away. I realized I had spent so much time on facetimes and calls during my loneliness in our blended quarantine house that finally meeting made me see things differently. I realized that because of the isolation, I spent time with someone I might not have before. I enjoyed the attention. I ignored traits that aren’t for me. I overlooked characteristics that I wouldn’t have if we met sooner, in real life. I came to realize that it may be best to focus my time and attention on people already in my life. On people already in my world. On those I’m living with.
I drove back to Vermont, not knowing if I would be allowed in the house or sent into a more isolated room. It turns out, I was welcome back in with the news that our lease was up and the house was rented for the summer. I was welcome back with new decisions and thoughts on whether we would find another place to live together or to separate and go home. With no summer activities, and NYC just beginning phase one, it didn’t seem like the best idea for the kids. Had I not taken a break, I would have immediately decided to separate. But being home and going on that date made me realize once again that staying together, for now, during this time, is what is best for our kids. So, now in our 13th week, we are beginning another adventure together.