October 5, 2009
So my partner is currently on a ten day journey of learning in Vermont that I am paralleling with my own journey of learning here in our hometown. While he explores the pot-hued college scene to discover his passion, I am learning my well honed triggers and the unhappy outbursts they incite. I hung up abruptly the other day when he told me it would be too rude to talk to me with other people in the car. As he said, “I love you.” I said, “Whatever” and pushed the end button. I know, not my best hour. I apologized and felt pretty awful– not my usual way of being at all. I wanted him to make talking to me, in that moment when I was feeling ill and vulnerable, more of a priority than the possible discomfort of the strangers in the car. Not super rational. Certainly demanding. And totally understandable.
My wife said she loved me. That she would stand in the fire with me. That she was utterly devoted to making us work, regardless of what it took. She said a lot of things that sounded pretty and would make a Hallmark writer weep. What she DID was walk away. What she did was threaten and extort me. What she did was publicly spew her rage and sorrow at everyone in our world. What she said was worthless compared to what she did.
My husband said he would never treat his children badly again. He said he realized they were the most important thing he’d ever done in his life and he would spend his days honoring that. What he DID was run the moment he felt like someone else could take care of them. What he did was break their little hearts. What he said was worthless compared to what he did.
I realized after we got to talk as a family (finally) that I was just not interested in hearing how much I was loved, how much we were missed. I wanted to see it, too. He’s been gone for 5 days and today was the first time the children have gotten to visit with him. As soon as we completed that conversation, the energy coming off of them had changed, vastly reducing my stress level. I could visibly see them calm down — no more nervously biting their nails or clinging to me. No more slightly drawn shoulders to brace themselves.
I was too afraid that I was being overly demanding, overly needy, to say what was needed — to see their fear. When their Dad moved out, he didn’t talk to them for weeks. Of course their little hearts are waiting for another rejection. It’s all so wrapped together when the threads got tangled, I have trouble seeing what’s there.
August 19, 2009
I find myself wondering that, more and more. I am supposed to start my masters program in the fall and I find myself very ambivalent. I love school. I love learninig. And I feel like it would suck too much of my time from my family. Time that is so precious as they get older and find more and more interests. I am so excited and happy for them. I used to be so afraid I would be like my mother and spend the rest of my life chasing my children– and driving them further and further away. Recently I realized that I get this time, right now. I get 18 years. That’s the longest relationship I have had with anyone, ever. And if that’s all I get, it’s enough. So instead of hoping for later to work out, I am spending now with them. And when it’s time for them to fly away, I will be able to let go.
August 4, 2009
I shocked my friend today when I said I regretted saving your life. The past 15 months, watching how your decision to abandon them has hurt in ways you will never understand, I have had to question who I am and the choices I made. I was so certain we could choose to give them the love and support they deserved, regardless of our decision to remain a couple. You always wanted to leave. If you couldn’t have your family your way, you didn’t want them. I thought it would be better for them if you were in their life and I made the necessary sacrifices to keep you there. You made sacrfices, too. None of that matters anymore.
I can’t predict the future. And I couldn’t predict it then. I did the best I could with what I had. I wish I had done better.
June 26, 2009
I feel so very broken by this whole legal mess. I don’t know why, I am very anxious about this process. I worry that I have been unfair to my ex. I worry that somehow I have made major mistakes that will create problems for my children. I am stressed over the debt I have created by doing this. I hate that he is legally less and less to his kids. My stomach feels tight and I perpetually feel like I want to cry.
I look forward to this being truly completed.
June 10, 2009
After years of amicable relations, my ex (mormon) husband and I no longer speak to one another. I filed for sole custody because making necessary legal decisions for minor children when the other parent won’t speak to you is challenging. I should say good riddance. I filed with the court a few weeks ago and he responded last week. Agreeing with most of what I put in the petition. He can’t really win. If he’d replied with disagreement I would have been frustrated, because we’ve really already agreed on everything. And by agreeing, he just made it all so real.
May 15, 2009
My kids have been through two divorces. Their father and I used to be very close, despite the legal separation, doing family holidays, vacations, and birthdays. Despite our desire for very different things in a relationship, in parenting we worked to give them as much stability and love as we could do.
Until he met his current lover/wife. She loved everything about him, except us. She insisted that as long as he was spending time on his first family, it was because he was in love with me and they could never be happy. So he calls and says, “I’m starting over, like the kids. I get to have my own life. And my own kids.” Then he calls and tells his kids he wants to be their uncle, not their father.
I don’t blame her, although I think she is off-the-hook selfish. He’s the dad. He chose. It was his responsibility to choose his children. Of course, this brings up lots of guilt on my part. Guilt that creeps into me in the early hours of the morning when I should be sleeping. Guild that inspires me to doubt myself and my judgement in very fundamental ways. Guilt. So very productive. Going hand in hand with sorrow and shame.
I loved him, deeply, as a friend, co-parent, and partner. And my son is so very like him, it is nearly impossible not to remember all the things about him that I adored. And a few of the things I found exasperating. So the kids start over (mostly). And he starts over. And I have moved on. And I embrace the love I have for him in the mannerisms of our son. And I hope, with all my heart, that I will give my children enough to find the strength in themselves to know who they are and how to be joyful.
And I try, really hard, not to wish him ill. Most days, I succeed.