Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | February 6, 2010

Despair Chest?

[Greetings from Portland, OR, where it also never rains. I am here with Penny and all three children in order to attend the oldest child’s gymnastics meet later today. I didn’t expect to have time to get online, but thanks to my friends having wifi and one of my children wetting the bed about an hour ago, I’m not going back to sleep. So here I am. While I’m not looking forward to telling our hosts about the bedwetting, and definitely not looking forward to the long drive home tonight, I am looking forward to a pleasant day of visiting with friends, cheering on my son, and otherwise taking time away from our daily grind.]

Saw this line on a fellow blogger’s blog (Suzanne, who is, as far as I know, happily married):

“I was never into weddings.  I can honestly say that I felt funerals were easier because they were done in a couple of hours and you didn’t have to take sides when they were over.”

She talked about the phenomenonandonandon about how many women seem to obsess over weddings as opposed to their marriage, to which I commented:

“…In our own case, I don’t think my soon-to-be-ex-wife idealized the ceremony or the reception so much, but I do believe that she had getting married as the brass ring to grab for, as opposed to being married.

“I don’t know for sure (I could ask, but she’s asleep right now), but I believe she had a hope chest while growing up. Is there anything more vile than a ‘hope chest’, that places all this emphasis upon marriage as a be-all, end-all?”

Of course, I’m not looking forward to getting divorced, but I am definitely ready to be divorced. Well, maybe it’s not so much that I want to be divorced, as I want to be out of this marriage.

But what is the divorce analog to a “hope chest” for marriage? A “hopeless chest?” A “bummer chest?”

As you can see if you start reading this blog from the beginning — which was just a few months ago! — I had long dreaded, dreaded, dreaded the notion of divorce. And now… while I’m concerned about the details (most common comment on this blog so far: “It’s too early for you to worry about [topic]….”), I now embrace divorce as an opportunity to get out of a bad situation and start creating a better life.

So for me, the “hope chest” for my divorce would have to have a happier name. How about… the “restart chest?” The “new beginnings chest?”

What do girls and young women put into their hope chests? What should I put in my “new life chest?”

I’m definitely going to need a new toaster….



  1. I had a “hope chest” of sorts when I was a kid. I was encouraged to do it by people who were probably freaked out that I was, by the age of 12, declaring that I was never getting married. I kept it, however, for me. I put in things I would need to take to college or use when I had my own place. I once tried, unsuccessfully, to register for china — just for me. You can imagine the withering stare I received for having the audacity to think that I ALONE was GOOD ENOUGH for good china. What can I say? I like pretty things. However, I did continue to buy myself nice place settings (unmatched) that pleased me.

    I think you should have a “barrel of monkey fun” for your divorce. It will have all the items needed for a 2nd household devoted to joy, happiness, pleasure, and aesthetically pleasing plastic for the kids. 😛

    And to be honest, you should be allowed to register!

    • Oh, and you’re right. I am pretty happily married, which probably makes my lurking here seem odd.

  2. Call it a “do-over” chest.
    Not like I want to do the whole bad marriage thing over…. .
    but more like…
    I am finally starting to recognize myself again and I’m grateful that I was courageous enough to call a do-over; a second chance.

  3. A do-over – I agree with Angela, that’s a good one. It’s a fresh start – I tried to focus on redefining who I was, because somehow I lost that over the years and never realized it. I was quieter, shyer, more dependent on Pete to do things, less social. Now, I’m the antithesis of those things and I love being independent…never would have called myself that before. Maybe you need a list – what are the things you want to redefine about yourself or recapture even, if you used to have them, and now don’t? [and ps, that really sucks about the bed-wetting at the friend’s house – good luck with that!]

  4. How about golf balls? ala Mulligans? 🙂

    I think you can call it a hope chest. You are hopeful for a better future.

    Let’s see…you need patience, self-confidence, laughter… lots of laughter….love of life, acceptance of yourself and others, did I say laughter? Some new hobbies, maybe? I learned that I loved to hike. It’s something I try to do with a friend on my no-kid time. I’m thinking of joining a hiking club, too. I’m going to try camping. I want to see the star-filled sky away from the city. When I was a senior in high school I backpacked into the Adirondack Mountains. We camped in a lean-to one night and then climbed Mount Marcy. I want to do that again this summer.

    So I’d add: a sense of adventure to your hope chest.

    I’m sure there’s more…but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

  5. Ha, I have a junk drawer. Maybe that is what’s wrong with me. 🙂

  6. Like you, I’m awake in the early morning for reasons I would rather weren’t in effect.


    I plan on doing the same thing myself in just a moment.

  7. Huh. I had a hope chest. (Actually it was and is a Lane cedar chest that arrived empty and I now fill with blankets.) And I have been thinking of a hope chest for Rachel. And in it, I was going to put all the things I thought she would require to start her life. There would be linens and towels, or course, special pictures and books. I hadn’t worked out all the details yet. But I assure you that the chest had nothing to do with marriage. I think of Rachel growing up strong and independent, so much so that there’s a distinct possibility that she will make some man very miserable one day. 😉

    You are strong and independent, too. And you deserve a chest filled with your own brand of hope, whether it be warm blankets, or new fluffy towels, and especially full of pictures and books. Work out your own details. Dreaming is half the fun. Finding out that you are full of hope…that’s the best part.

    Thinking of you!

  8. Maybe a man chest? It seems to me that Penny has spent most of your marriage passively, quietly, subtly emasculating you. You have just inspired a blog entry. Come visit.

  9. Hmmm… good post.. and responses. I think I’ll keep my hope chest, as a hope chest.. but, just hope for better/different things…

  10. actually, now that I think about it.. .my “hope chest” already has turned into more of a “memory chest”. I use it to house old yearbooks, journals… some souvenirs… and miscellaneous memorabilia. So, maybe I should just call it a treasure chest.. and leave it at that.

  11. A new life chest is an open box for you to fill with all the stuff you were missing in your marriage. I’m filling mine slowly and carefully. I’m a new reader coming to you via Nicki and Suddenly Single Journey. Best, Pippi

  12. I’ve heard lately of divorce showers – since one person always needs to buy a new toaster! So there’s a start for you, anyway. Support, support, support. You’ll need that more than anything in the beginning. There are plenty of us here that have ‘been there, done that’ and willing to help along the way. Just don’t be afraid to ask.

  13. A divorce shower isn’t a bad idea. You could open a divorce registry and register for that new toaster you need among other things. Just make sure you feel supported by family and friends!

  14. You are too funny. If I had a “hope chest” it would include all the things I dream of one day. Something that symbolizes my dream man, a photo of my dream home, the baby quilt I made in High School and am saving for my first born, a list of things I want to do in my lifetime… as well as momento’s from the past: my engagement rings, my old journals, family heirlooms from my Grandmother, photographs, etc.

    But… who needs a hope chest when we have a blog? 🙂

    Coincidentally I’ve got a post coming that somewhat relates to this… kind of spawn from my post on “Happy Boxes” but I haven’t quite decided which direction I’m going to go in yet.

  15. P.S.
    I like the idea of the Divorce Registry… but I need a new toaster too, my ex got ours… Can I have a break-up registry, or is it a little too late for that? 🙂 lol

  16. Aaaaaand I am caught up. *hug*

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