No one prepares you for divorce. The emotions that come along with it can be overwhelming in itself. If you throw in children to the mix, it’s even more intense…or so I assume. See, I wanted the divorce. He was perfectly happy living the life we lead. I was lonely and tired of doing everything by myself. So I said go. It was a huge decision that was equally terrifying and freeing. Now I had to make sure I could really do it on my own. It came as no surprise when I realized things were really no different for me. I moved on rather quickly. I was building a new life while dealing with the legal part of the old life. Finally it was time for the final hearing. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with sadness. The funny thing is I wanted it more than anything….why was I so sad??? Well it was really going to be over. No turning back. I was sad because that book ended. I was sad because I failed so miserably. I was sad for my kids. I was sad for him. I cried a lot that week. My new future husband was insanely supportive. I told him he better be sure because I will never ever go through divorce again. Standing in front of the judge was so scary. Here’s the thing, I didn’t fail the marriage. Two people with different views and goals failed. It’s ok to be sad that the story ended. A new one always begins.
So we got through. The hard part was over. Or was it? Turns out it was just beginning. Things have changed dramatically…we’ve moved, added a baby, and daddy doesn’t get to come around as often. As their mom, I feel their pain. But sometimes I put feelings onto them that they never really had. Sometimes I expect that they’re hurt by something dad has done or hasn’t done and I prepare so well to be able to love them through it, and they’re totally fine.
The truth of the matter is, they miss him but they really just want to know that they’re safe somewhere. I decided to stop making them choose. I decided to stop trying to win the competition. I decided to let them form their own opinion of the situation. So here’s what I’ve discovered in this experiment.
1) There is a sense of relief at not having to choose what house is better, what parent is better, what life is better. They can go to either home and just be. At least here they can. They’re not anxious about picking the right answer.
2) They know where they can find stability. Mom and Mr. Daddy (their new term of endearment for my husband) are always here. Always present. Always consistent. They also realized on their own that mom and Mr. Daddy spend quality time and they crave more.
3) By not guilting them or making them choose, the lines of communication have been blown wide open. They come to me or my husband with questions, concerns, or just seeking support. They know we are open and honest and they’re safe here.
Those are a few of the most noticeable differences. I also stopped trying to control the things outside of my home. The rules at dads are significantly different than at moms. But that’s for him to deal with. I don’t give him a list of rules to follow except typical bathe, feed, homework, school on time. I trust that he will keep them safe, so he is free to take them wherever and introduce whomever he pleases. What business is it of mine? As long as my children’s safety isn’t jeopardized, it’s all good. He’s just as much their parent as I am. What right do I have to take that away from him?
So we are getting through. Dads stepped back some, and that’s hard. Instead of bashing him for it, we come up with plan b and have a good time despite it. They’re learning how to cope with the disappointment. They’re learning how to adjust to change. They’re learning it’s ok to be sad, and it’s ok to love dad and Mr. Daddy too. They’re learning to communicate. And we are ALL learning how to move forward.
Eventually it’ll catch up. And when it does, we will dust ourselves off and move on. Because life always goes on.
Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.